Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ending the playground fight in Washington

By now, most of you know that the Democrat dominated congress sent a bill for war funding to President Bush with definite dates for withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, as well as restrictions on future deployments, a decent amount of special interest funding and a minimum wage hike tacked on to it .

You also know that President Bush vetoed it, just as he promised he would and the veto was sustained, just as the Democrats knew it would be.

Many congressional Democrats were quite happy to trumpet about how the war is `lost', to attempt to exceed their constitutional mandate, to make a separate foreign policy with fascist dictators and to try to make political mileage out of submitting something they knew would never fly past the White House.

They lacked the courage to do the moral thing... cut off funding for the war entirely and to take the resulting political consequences.

These were all truly despicable actions, but in all fairness, I have to say I understand the frustration of some of these people as they watch a mismanaged war rumble on.

Even if they oppose it for all the wrong reasons.

The Democrats in congress have a choice to make. They can continue to hold our troops to ransom and continue to ramp up the rhetoric in Washington, or they can actually attempt to get something done.

If they're serious about ending this war in the proper fashion, they need to engage with the president and congressional Republicans, end the cheap shots and the rabid speeches and quit playing politics at the expense of the country.

It makes much more sense for leaders of both parties to sit down and hammer out a compromise.

For instance, rather than attempt to force the president into a corner and label this `Bush's War' so they can distance themselves from having voted for it, it's entirely possible to come to a tacit, private agreement with the White House and congressional Republicans on a targeted exit strategy from Iraq.

It's equally silly for the president to insist that `there is no exit date' when in fact, there is and our enemies know it: January 20th, 2009 at the latest, when the new administration takes office. No matter who wins the election, they won't want to be saddled with the albatross of Iraq around their necks.

It may be silly, but is it too much to ask for some common sense and dare I say it, adult behavior in Washington?


Anonymous said...

"They lacked the courage to do the moral thing...cut off funding for the war entirely and to take the resulting plitical consequences."

I'm sorry I still do not see any short term political consequences that the Democrats would suffer if they chose to cut off funding for the Iraq war entirely. Most Americans want the troops to come home. If the Democrats end funding entirely for Iraq, the troops would likely be coming home. If the Republicans or any one else attempted to label the Democrats as "soft on defense" or any thing else it would only back fire on them and the Republicans would lose even more ground in the 2008 elections than they lost in the 2006 elections. Long range consequences may be a different matter but that is out past 2009.

In other words, if the Democrats cut funding for Iraq, the troops could be brought home now. The Democrats would be seen by the American public as ending the Iraq war. This is what they want. In Democratic countries, elections are generally won by ginving the voters what they want.

"These are truly despicable actions, but in all fairness, I have to say I understand the frustration of some of these people as they watch a mismanaged war rumble on." I could not have said this better myself!! Many areas of this war have clearly been mismanaged. The biggest problems seem to be too few troos have been used and the rules of engagement for the troops who are there have often been too restrictive. I also think a large part of the problems stem from overly optimistic exptectations. Many of us expected this to be easy and quickly accomplished. We face a VERY powerful enemy. They will not be easy to defeat. We need to understand that.

In order to bring stability to Iraq, we would probably need about 500,000 troops and they would probably need to be there for 10 years or more. We could probably raise the necessary troops if we wanted to. We might need a draft. Clearly, as things stand right now given the domestic and the international political environments, we are not going to getting the proper number of troops. As such, it is long past time for the Bush administration to rethink the strategy. Even if we could get the necessary troop levels, given the track record of this Administration, I'm not sure I would trust President Bush or his Administration to manage this.

The problem with allowing this "mismanaged war to rumble on" is the Army is being worn down. In the next few years, we may have to fight Russia, China, Iran, or Venezuela. If we continue wearing down the Army the way we are now, we may be unable to mount an effective defense against any of the previously mentioned countries. If the democrats were to cut funding for the Iraq war now, we would be able to withdraw our troops with at least some of our military capabilities still intact. At the rate we are going now, it seems likely that the security of the US will be compromised even more than it already is.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi B,
Actually, the democrats would suffer substantial political fallout from a precipitous Iraq pull out...both long term and short term.

While individual Democrats may be different, the party as a whole is already identified (and correctly so) as anti-Military, soft on national defense and soft on the war against Islamic fascism.

A troop pull out would essentially fragment Iraq into two or perhaps three nations, IMO, and that Iraqi army we've `built' at such a large cost would splinter along ethnic lines, with a certain amount of high publicity turmoil and bloodshed that would be featured on the nightly news, and the new Shiite part would promptly ally with our enemies Iran and Syria, and lead to an `I told you so' from the Dems political opponents in the short run.

In the long term, legislating the second defeat for our military in thirty years would also not sit well either with the voters, or with the military and their families.

I do agree that a totally new approach is needed, that an exit from Iraq is needed and that the country needs to go on a war footing, but it will likely take another `9-11' incident and/or probably new leadership for that to happen.

Lastly, while we shouldn't underestimate our enemies, they are not nearly as powerful - NOW - as you might think.

Iran and Syria are economic basket cases with regimes that could be isolated or marginalized at a relatively modest cost at this point in time. Egypt and Pakistan are third world countries dependent on US aid and racked by internal dissension and the Saudis and PG Emirates lack a significant military factor, and are just as vulnerable economically to the West as the West is to use of the `oil weapon'..which is why it's not being used.

What's more, taking out some of these players - Iran and Syria, for instance - would cause the others to become most accommodating. Remember the events that took place in Lebanon/Syria, Libya and elsewhere when Iraq was invaded and Saddam dragged out of his hole.

The biggest problem, frankly, is the well financed fifth column that exists in most western countries consisting of wahabi mosques and a small but growing percentage of indoctrinated Muslims who are citizens - at least in name - of the western countries, and their abettors.