See what I mean by the perceptions abroad being critical?
This bit over at PowerLine is exactly on the money, but they need to follow on through.
This is the key quote:
Our enemies gambled that the American people are soft and are not fully committed to the war against terror. They thought that the American people don't have the patience or the understanding of the stakes involved required to take casualties, especially over a prolonged period of time. They believed that if they simply remained active in Iraq, even at a low level, domestic American politics would, before long, swing against the war.
What if their perception wasn't the result of wishful thinking on their part, but rather was clearly supported by the sort of hysterical squabbling that we've seen over the last several years? I can well imagine someone like Saddam Hussein thinking "They'll never invade when a million people march against the idea and the polls are against them: after all, all the President of the US does is to watch polls."
In other words, by deliberate fostering of the appearance of massive dissent (when in reality it's not really serious dissent, but rather was rather ineffectual and in many cases not very serious), the anti-war people emboldened dictators abroad in taking a hard line position that led to war instead of helping to defuse the situation.
To be fair, the above link finishes the quoted paragraph with:
The awful possibility, which seems more likely with every passing day, is that the terrorists correctly judged the American people.
I'd re-word that.
The awful possibility, which seems more likely with every passing day, is that the terrorists correctly judged what the left wanted them to think about the American people. The problem is that the Left was the party of appeasement and apology, and knew not the American people.Thus the collapse of the Democratic party in the elections of 2006 and 2008.
I think that is the more likely outcome.