Pretty good way of saying it I think: St. Petersburg Times February 7, 2006 Supporting The Troops Requires More Than A Button By Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite As my brother, cousin and friends came home from Vietnam, I heard their frustration at not being allowed to win the war. It's a frustration I've felt and heard shared by countless Vietnam vets across my district. As bad policy choices compounded in Washington, our troops were not given the chance to win. The failure of the liberal left in Vietnam still haunts the Democrat Party today. But liberals did learn one thing: Their vicious rhetoric against our troops cost them dearly at the polls and took decades to correct. This is a mistake liberals are trying desperately not to make in Iraq. Every time I meet with the liberal antiwar groups, the buttons always say, and are invariably the first words out of their mouths, "We support the troops." I always wonder what liberals mean by "support" for the troops. And I have had quite a bit of difficulty finding out. These groups can never tell me. As far as I can tell, when liberals say, "We support the troops," they mean this time around they aren't going to spit on our vets and they won't protest welcome-home celebrations. When liberals say, "Support the troops," as far as I can tell, they mean refrain from personal attacks on our soldiers. This time, liberals are hiding behind the rhetoric of a button and a slogan. I disagree. Support is not a slogan. Support is more than wearing a button. Support is active. Supporting the troops is not saying things that encourage our enemies. Support is not saying things that make it harder for our troops to fight. Supporting the troops requires a commitment to win. Let's ask Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., about her support for the war on terror. I'm talking about her actions, not her rhetoric. The leader voted against funding for the Patriot Act and against establishing the Department of Homeland Security. How about for our troops on the ground? The leader of the Democrats voted to cut intelligence funding by $500-million and voted to cut intelligence authorization by nearly 1 percent. This is how liberal Democrats support the troops. When confronted with these policy choices, the common refrain from Democrats, and I've noticed it printed often in this newspaper, is, "You questioned my patriotism." Well, I defy the editor of this paper or any paper to show where I questioned anyone's patriotism. I don't know of any Republican, from the president to the county chairman, who has done so. Then why do Democrats continue to claim it? Because some Democrats want to criticize the war, undermine the president and undermine the vision of democratic freedom, but they do not want to suffer any political consequences for doing so. Democrats believe they gain momentum if the president and our troops fail in Iraq. Anyone can criticize any aspect of the administration's policy, but like it or not, it was a policy choice. Liberal Democrats have no policy and no vision for our security. Pelosi, the liberal leader in Congress, even said they would have an issue agenda for the 2006 elections, but it will not include a position on Iraq. Are you kidding me? The minority party will not have a position on the biggest foreign policy challenge we face? Oh, I forgot Democrats' position is they "support the troops." The administration believes our nation faces grave threats, and the president has made the choice that we will fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, not in New York or Florida. Like it or not, we are engaged in a global war, and all of us should be doing everything in our power to win the war and protect the American people. This is not only my sentiment; it also was expressed most famously by Joe Lieberman, Democratic senator from Connecticut. Why then are Democrats hiding behind false arguments about patriotism, or slogans about support for the troops? Because other than undermining this president, they do not have affirmative policy choices of their own. Don't take it from me. The leader of the Democrat Campaign Committee, Rahm Emanuel, recently said, "At the right time, we will have a position." At the right time? We are at war. If not now, when is the right time? The only conclusion to draw is that Democrats are gaming the war for political gain. No wonder poll after poll shows Americans don't trust the Democrats on national security issues. Liberal critics of the Bush administration have nothing to offer but bitter and revisionist hindsight. They have no policies for peace in Iraq. And as far as I can tell their only solution is retreat. This month I will be in Iraq and able to see the progress for myself. In the meantime I know these facts: 10,000 insurgents cannot defeat our Army or our Marines. The cause in Iraq is noble. It is the fight for freedom and for civilization, and with great sacrifice we are winning. Victory will take more time and more sacrifice, but we cannot lose unless we defeat ourselves, lose our nerve or our will to win. If this were to happen, it would prove liberals learned nothing from Vietnam except how to make better buttons. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, represents Congressional District 5. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.