Max Boot on the defeatism of Democrats.

AND THE DEMOCRATS wonder why they are considered weak on national security? It’s not because anyone doubts their patriotism. It’s because a lot of people doubt their judgment and toughness.

As if to prove the skeptics right, Democrats have been stepping forth to renounce their previous support for the liberation of Iraq even as Iraqis prepare to vote in a general election. Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, John Kerry, John Edwards, John Murtha — that’s quite a list of heavyweight flip-floppers.

Clinton characteristically wants to have it both ways. He says the invasion was a “big mistake” but that we shouldn’t pull out now because “there’s a lot of evidence it can still work.” (You mean, Mr. President, that we should continue sacrificing soldiers for a mistake?)

The others are more consistent. Because they now think the war is wrong, they favor a withdrawal, the only question being whether we should pull out sooner (Murtha) or slightly later (Kerry).

There are some honorable exceptions to this defeatism — Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton and Wesley Clark have remained stalwart supporters of the war effort — but they are clearly in the minority of a party steadily drifting toward Howard Dean-George McGovern territory.

Just a few years ago, it seemed as if the Democrats had finally kicked the post-Vietnam, peace-at-any-price syndrome. Before the invasion of Iraq, leading Democrats sounded hawkish in demanding action to deal with what Kerry called the “particularly grievous threat” posed by Saddam Hussein.

But it seems that they only wanted to do something if the cost would be minuscule. Now that the war has turned out to be a lot harder than anticipated, the Democrats want to run up the white flag.

How can we trust politicians who change their opinions daily based on polls? I don’t want any of these defeatist dems in charge of the military!