War and Politics

Over the last few days, we citizens have had an opportunity to watch our US Senators in action, as they stake out positions on the next step in the Iraq War. I have not, in my watching, had occasion to compare our current gaggle of elected officials with the likes of Clay, Calhoun, Goldwater, or any other "lions" in the history of the Senate.

The link takes us to a definition of gaggle, to wit: "An unorganized group doing nothing", which, I think, describes the state of the Senate today. Unwilling to follow the war policy of a President whose approval ratings are in the low 30s and high 20s, declaring that such numbers indicate a failed policy and voter alienation, some Senators cannot, apparently, read further down the page that describes their approval rating as below that of the President.

One might think, given the existence of common sense, that some of those "bright lights" taking down their recently enhanced pay package might take their low approval rating as evidence that the public does not support their positions.

Which leads me to an editorial in today’s Washington Times:

The Senate is emitting an embarrassing level of emotional policy
twitching on the topic of Iraq. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can’t
take the war any more. He "knows" it is lost. Sen. Olympia Snowe has
just about had it with the Iraqi government. If they don’t meet her
benchmarks — that’s it. Sen. Mitch McConnell thinks "that the
handwriting is on the wall that we are going in a different direction
in the fall and I expect the president to lead it." Who authored that
wall graffiti, he doesn’t say. After talking with grieving family
members of one of our fallen warriors, Sen. Pete Domenici "wants a new
strategy for Iraq."

I haven’t seen such uncritical thinking
since I hid under my bed sheets to get away from the monsters back when
I was 3 years old….

But the debate today in Washington is about none of these strategic
concerns. It is exclusively about Washington’s political timetable and
when the president will bend to such political necessity. For
self-admitted politics — rather than national security — to be driving
decision making in wartime Washington is not only an unpatriotic
disgrace — it is a national menace…

What we need from politicians in Washington is something more than the emotional response to crisis. What we need is men and women whose moral fiber, intestinal fortitude, and commitment to the best interests of our country rise above their petty, venal quest for political advantage.


3 Replies to “War and Politics”

  1. Regrettably, Walt Kelly was right, we have met the enemy and he is us. Maybe it is time to accept the platform of VOID, a Vote Out Incumbent Democracy and throw all the rascals out and start over.

  2. We’re going through this right now because the authorizing legislation called for a status report to Capital Hill in July, which focuses attention on this because the administration has to report on its benchmarks (and as we all know, there’s not much concrete to report).

    But this is jockeying for position later on. The end game begins in September, when Bush will be hard pressed to muster 41 votes in the Senate. Congress, including the Senate, is joining the populace is wanting an end to the war. Republicans who are not facing a mandatory term limit (as Bush is) are thinking about re-election. Of the Senate seats on the line in 2008, Republicans are defending 21 of them. Democrats only 12. So the GOP has a practical reason to respond to public opinion on the war. The razor-thin Democratic majority in the Senate is likely to grow in the next cycle, Republicans have to worry about Democrats acquiring a 60-vote super majority if they’re all tarred with the Bush brush.

    As you know, I have a different assessment of what’s going on in Iraq and what our response should be. I’m much more pessimistic than you are. If you noticed the NYT editorial calling for withdrawal from Iraq ASAP, the editors aren’t suggesting that withdrawal offers a great outcome in Iraq, or even a good outcome: They’re saying that withdrawing as quickly as possible is simply cutting our losses in a war that can’t be won.

    These are the lines that have been going through my head:

    All the king’s horse
    and all the king’s men
    couldn’t put Humpty together again.

    George Washington, Robert E. Lee and Audie Murphy combined couldn’t fix Iraq right now. That’s my opinion, anyway.

  3. Let me see, we still have a few remnants of the occupation of Germany and Japan in place post WW2, one wonders that we’re not demanding the drawdown of those too. For now, interrupting the Damascus-Tehran superhighway of aid to Hamas, Hezbollah and the PLO is the strongest benefit, though sililar to Amenijahd, there seem to be some evangelicals that would love to see the Judeo-Islam super slam come to fruition wiht the express puropose of expediting the end times arrival…

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