Disclaimer: Do not read this article if you hate debating politics, or if you are close-minded to other points of view. For the record I am an independent. In a two party system the only winners are lobbyists and special interests. Go Libertarian and Green parties!
Right now the most important thing Democrats can do concerning the Iraq conflict is bring some openness and clarity to the process. Shine a light on the policies, procedures, government contracts, military spending, etc. Expose the war profiteers that are robbing our treasury and indirectly killing our troops, so they can be prosecuted. Expose incompetent or rogue commanders, so they can be replaced. Dems can help America by changing the cover-up/secretive/"it's-too-complicated-for-you" mentality that has been present over the last 6 years.
Shine your light, Dems! Shine! But no. In response to the president's troop surge Democrats have decided to huff and puff about non-binding resolutions and such.
Where's the foresight? Where's the wisdom?
The Democrats should have let that new guy from Wyoming (Senator Tester?) respond with something like, "Although we, as many Americans, have reservations about the surge and want our troops to return home now, we will support our Commander-in-Chief's new strategy to fix this American-made mess. However our support is not unlimited; and it is contingent upon tangible progress. After a reasonable amount of time, benchmarks must be achieved or we will be forced to assert our congressional authority and begin changing policies. We hope that is not the case. We all want this latest plan to succeed in stabilizing Iraq and preparing the Iraqis, so our troops can come home."
Period. No grandstanding. No showboating. The issue is too serious for that.
This approach accomplishes several things:
- Reinforces support for troops and victory
- Removes the label of obstructionists
- Removes the label of partisan, in fact it garners bi-partisan support
- Presents unified Democratic front
- Presents pensive, deliberate politicians (for a change)
This is not acquiescing, posturing, or punkin' out. Many of the Democrats are new to their offices. They need to familiarize themselves with the surroundings, receive briefings from the experts, and get classified info from the Pentagon. This allows them to time to prepare and gives the Democrats a chance to develop a strong party line on the Iraqi conflict.
But the goofy Democrats won't do that. Instead they'll:
- keep calling for immediate withdrawal, which to many seems short-sighted, defeatist, and cowardly
- continue to present many competing and conflicting plans as they vie for power and presidential nominations
- passively allow themselves to be labeled as fearful, partisan obstructionists
- seem feeble and impotent when all their ranting accomplishes nothing because the executive branch controls the military and barring lengthy, costly procedures (impeachment, withholding funds, etc.) there is little the legislative branch can do about it.
We all want 2 things: our troops to come home safely and a stable, less violent Iraq.
I know that many of the people who voted Democratic in November want the immediate satisfaction of troop withdrawal. However, elected officials have to be more thoughtful than that. The general populace rarely, if ever, supports warfare. It's understandable. They usually sacrifice and suffer much more than the elites who send them to war. [Since African Americans have been allowed in the military, my working class family has served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq1, and Iraq2 with honor, physical injuries, and emotional scars.]
There would be consequences for leaving now. Make no mistake, our enemies would see an immediate withdrawal as a victory, which would embolden and hearten them. As in the first Gulf War, the Iraqis who stood with us would surely be killed. The country would splinter and likely form at least two hostile states. And finally one for Cheney, our petroleum companies wouldn't have access to all that oil.
There are also consequences for staying as we see everyday. The loss of children, brothers, sisters, cousins, wives, husbands, fathers, and mothers is difficult to accept under any circumstances. Of lesser importance we are losing a billion dollars every two days along with international support.
There may be no happy ending in Iraq. Nothing is assured.The mistakes of the recent past have been acknowledged and some of our best military minds support the surge. Again no plan is guaranteed, but the newly Democratic majority can't possibly understand the situation better than the generals who have been there. Let the newbies get some schooling from Sen. Murtha. Let them take tours, review documents, talk to generals, and get a handle on the issue.
Our military troops are the most powerful fighting force on Earth. Let's be clear, WE WON THE WAR! We crushed the region's strongest army in 1991. This time our military pushed through the remnants and toppled the Iraqi gov't in about a week. Our war against the Iraqi nation was over early. If the mission was to smack down Saddam, then mission accomplished. Bush got that one right.
But that's done. We are no longer fighting a war against a nation state. As everyone is painfully aware, we are in the middle of religious conflicts, sectarian skirmishes, militia battles, and terrorist attacks. Now is not the time for bitchin', but developing Plans B, C, and D in case they are needed to get our troops home sooner.
God bless America and the rest of the world too.