None Dare Call Harry on It
Harry Reid tried very hard to cause his own country to lose a war, bending all the powers of his high office to that ignoble end. And it is not an issue that can be raised in his reelection campaign.
Harry Reid wanted America to be defeated in Iraq to embarrass a president who belonged to the other party and to gain seats in Congress for his party, thereby enhancing his own prestige. And he is quite comfortable putting party ahead of country.
The charge carries insinuations of treason, so it is necessary to make the appropriate distinctions.
Back in the 1840s, New Englanders advanced cogent arguments opposing war with Mexico. In the second decade of the 20th century, isolationists argued against joining a war of European imperialist powers on the grounds that the nation's founding principles were antithetical to such interventions.
Out of a very reasonable fear of being demagogued ferociously and dismissed as antiques by the Democrats' mainstream media auxiliaries, Republican pols didn't dare to brand Reid's antics as treasonable, the crime of treason having long since passed out of existence.
If John Kerry can appear in uniform at the Paris peace talks to plead the cause of North Vietnam and Jane Fonda can sit, wearing an enemy helmet and an insane grin, astride the guns used to shoot down American aircraft
-- if such things can be done with impunity (Kerry was rewarded with a seat in the U.S. Senate, and Fonda earned millions from her comrades in Hollywood), then treason has become an empty concept.
No, Harry's behavior is no longer beyond the pale. He was merely doing what politicians nowadays are expected to do. Say anything at all to savage the other side. It doesn't matter if you're lying through your teeth; it doesn't matter if you endanger the lives of the young men and women overseas; it doesn't matter if you weaken the nation's security.
The paramount issue here is partisan gain. Will what I say help my side to achieve ephemeral gains? If the answer is yes, then the gloves come off, and no blow is too low.
Harry Reid probably didn't believe that we were losing the war. He couldn't possibly have regarded the surge as a failure before the effects of the surge were felt. But he and Nancy Pelosi hammered away relentlessly, utterly heedless of the dire consequences that would necessarily attend the success of their campaign.
They asserted things they didn't know, hurled baseless and slanderous charges, and made predictions that turned out spectacularly wrong. (For an invaluable study of the Democrats' mendacity and irresponsibility, see Party of Defeat [Spence 2008] by David Horowitz and Ben Johnson.) What they did not do was initiate a substantive debate on the Iraq War, and they didn't for a good reason.
They strongly, with every fiber of their being, wanted to avoid such a debate. During the run-up to the Iraq War, I happened to be in one of the big chain bookstores where a book club was holding a meeting. A female speaker was inveighing against Bushitler's evil scheme to oust Saddam Hussein. She wailed about the horrors the children of Iraq would have to endure.
A man seated next to me gulped and muttered, "My God, she's trying to make a humanitarian case for the Butcher of Baghdad." (Michael Moore pulled a similar stunt at the beginning of Fahrenheit 9/11.) The irony of invoking the same children for whom Saddam built special prisons and whose parents he had his secret police torture in front of their eyes wasn't lost on this man.
He later identified himself as a liberal who had misgivings about embarking on a ground war before the inspectors had completed their work, but he refused to succumb to the truly singular form of insanity that afflicts progressives when they are attempting to prevent anything that might conceivably serve America's interests.