The United States Senate has been trying unsuccessfully so far to pass a non-binding resolution on the troop deployment increase of about 21,500 soldiers to Iraq for several weeks now. The House of Representatives passed such a ‘measure’ on February 16 of this year. But things are deadlocked in the Senate primarily due to procedural reasons. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) from Nevada tried to force a vote on cloture on Saturday, February 17, a day where the Senate would have been closed for business due to the weeklong break for President’s Day. He tried to bring this issue to a close but did not succeed. There were 56 votes cast in favor of cloture where 60 were required and so, this attempt died and everybody went home, the Democrats very unhappy and the Republicans voting against cloture somewhat happy.
On closer review, it is truly baffling when one begins to look into the matter deeper and attempts to find out what is behind this, and so, we begin with a recollection of facts:
First, ever since the war in Iraq started, the Democrats have criticized President Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld for not having enough “boots on the ground in Iraq”, that the deployment level of between 125 and 160 thousand soldiers was far too low and that that was the obvious reason why things did not move forward in Iraq. A former Army General Eric Shinseki had advocated a much larger troop deployment and he was referred to constantly by every Democrat as having been correct on this matter.
Second, the President and his Defense Secretary conferred frequently with the Generals who were conducting the war and he stayed steadfast that “conditions on the ground” would determine the troop levels. Based on such conditions, the troop levels were adjusted and this number varied between 125 and 160 thousand troops. For his decisions, the President was consistently criticized by the Democrats and other war critiques.
Third, when conditions in Iraq turned seriously bad late last year by sectarian violence and other infighting especially in Baghdad, the President reviewed the strategies in place and came up with a new plan that he also conferred on with the current Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki. It was agreed that a new strategy should involve American and Iraqi troops should be fighting side by side to clear the capitol of the violence it suffered. The new plan also included the replacement of General Casey who had been in charge in the country by General David Petraeus together with an additional deployment of 21,500 troops to achieve this mission. These additional troops would bring the total troop level to about 160 thousand and was not exceeding previous highs in this regard.
Fourth, the President’s plan was instantaneously critiqued by all Democrats as wrong and that it would be ineffective and could only lead to more death of American service men and women. They indicated also that they would do everything in their power, having just taken control of Congress, to stop this additional deployment.
Fifth, the choice of General Petraeus was praised during the confirmation hearings and he was confirmed by the Senate in early February by a vote of 81:0, every Senator at the hearing wished him ‘luck and God speed’ in his new assignment. We should also mention that General Petraeus strongly indicated to the Senators that his mission would require the deployment of the additional troops.
One has to wonder what in the world is going on in Washington? Based on the above, the Democrats who were proposing for over three years more troops in Iraq are now against it because the President is for it. The Democrats in the Senate confirm the General who is now in charge, wish him well but deny him an important element in his mission, the additional troops. The Democrats will continue to attempt to pass a so-called “Non-binding resolution” in the Senate to indicate to the country and the world that they (the Democrats) are against the additional deployment of American troops while they at the same time claim to “support the troops” (and apparently also General Petraeus). If this should fail, they, the Democrats even have indicated that they will try to rescind and re-write (based on a new criteria) the October 2002 War Resolution (giving the President the authority to invade Iraq etc) and write a new one that will restrict the affairs of the military in Iraq. In other words, they want to take over the management of the war in Iraq which could also be called playing “Commander-In-Chief”, a role that belongs constitutionally to the President of America.
As reason for their action they claim that it represents the will of the people who voted them into power last November! Even if one forgets the narrow margin of victory in the Senate where the Democrats have to count on two Independents to have this ‘majority’ (there are 49 each Democrat and Republican Senators), the American people did NOT vote for the Democrats to trample the United States Constitution. By rescinding past resolutions and wanting to interfere with the day-to-day managing of the War, they are doing exactly this!
This is nothing more than shameful politics on the part of the Democrats! The only thing Congress, i.e., the Democrats can constitutionally do is cut off funding for the war (as they did by the way thirty-some years ago to end the war in Vietnam). But they will not do that because that would take a great deal of courage! They would have to tell the American people their reasons for ending the war in Iraq by leaving an unfinished job. And they know full well that the American people would not necessarily be convinced and buy their arguments. Besides, it could backfire when the next round of elections rolls around in late 2008 and they, the politicians, fear nothing more than not getting re-elected.
Americans have always admired courage on the part of individuals and groups and it is in this spirit that we here at ‘Back to Common Sense’ challenge the leadership in Congress to show us the courage of their convictions. You want to end this war, cut off its funds as you are empowered to do by the constitution of this country. Put your money and political careers where your mouths are and show us your convictions and the courage to do it!
Otherwise, shut up and work on matters that are less critical in this day and age, whatever that may be. How cynical are you that you wish General Petraeus well in his new assignment during his confirmation hearing but then you turn around and do not support what it takes for him to do his job: an increase in troop levels? Who are you to tell him how to do his job? He was not sent there to do the best he could, instead he was sent there to win this war and bring peace, stability and strength to a struggling democracy in the face of multiple enemies.
The more you keep this up, you Democrats in Congress, the more you look like a bunch of yapping Chihuahuas in the proximity of true American Heroes. The current Congress better be aware that it could go down in history as the “Two-Year House of Barking Dogs”.
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