Cutting and running in Vietnam profoundly affected America’s ability to defend herself.

And now there are those who want to do the same thing in Iraq:

“Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War,” writes Ralph Peters. “No matter how great your team, you can’t win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That’s precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we’ve made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.

“Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq – and the region – if we bail out. And don’t mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.”

“I wonder,” writes columnist Mark Steyn, “whether the Senate chamber itself should not be renamed the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi United States Senate. With increasingly rare exceptions, just about everything that emerges from the chamber tends to support the Zarqawi view of Iraq — that this is a psychological war in which the Great Satan is an effete wimp who can be worn down and chased back to his La-Z-Boy recliner in Florida.

“‘Exit strategy’ is a defeatist’s term. The only exit strategy that matters was summed up by George M. Cohan in the song the Doughboys sang as they marched off to the Great War nine decades ago:
‘And we won’t come back
Till it’s over
Over there!’

“And that’s the timetable, too. If you want it fleshed out a bit, how about this? ‘The key issue is no longer WMD or even the role of the U.N. The central issue is America’s credibility and will to prevail.’ That’s Goh Chok Tong speaking in Washington last year. Unfortunately, he’s not a U.S. senator, but the prime minister of Singapore, and thus ineligible to run, on the grounds that he’s not a citizen of Blowhardistan. What does the Senate’s revolting amendment tell America’s enemies (Zarqawi) and ‘friends’ (Chirac) about her will to prevail?”

“Many have forgotten how the United States lost in Vietnam,” writes the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes, “but not former Defense Secretary Melvin Laird. When the last American military unit was withdrawn in 1973, the Viet Cong had been defeated and the North Vietnamese army checkmated. For the next two years, ‘South Vietnam held its own courageously and respectably against a better-bankrolled enemy,’ Laird writes in the current Foreign Affairs. ‘Given enough outside resources, South Vietnam was capable of defending itself.’ Instead, ‘we grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory [in 1975] when Congress cut off the funding for South Vietnam that had allowed it to continue to fight on its own. . . . Without U.S. funding, South Vietnam was quickly overrun.’ It was a stunning and unnecessary defeat for America and for a free Vietnam. And the lesson is clear: A war can be won on the ground overseas and lost in Washington.”

Abandoning Iraq requires lying:

“It is said that a big lie can work if it is repeated often enough. For weeks, leading Democrats have been hammering away at the Big Lie that George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq,” writes Michael Barone.

The Bush administration has not challenged the patriotism of those who perpetrate the Big Lie. But I do.