My Thoughts On The Democratic Leadeshsip And The Iraq War

Posted in Election 2008, Elections, Commentary, Around The Nation at 12:41 pm by wcnews

Ketih Olbermann nailed it last night, go here to read and/or watch his Special Comment. Here’s a little:

You, the men and women elected with the simplest of directions—Stop The War—have traded your strength, your bargaining position, and the uniform support of those who elected you… for a handful of magic beans.

You may trot out every political cliché from the soft-soap, inside-the-beltway dictionary of boilerplate sound bites, about how this is the “beginning of the end” of Mr. Bush’s “carte blanche” in Iraq, about how this is a “first step.”

Well, Senator Reid, the only end at its beginning… is our collective hope that you and your colleagues would do what is right, what is essential, what you were each elected and re-elected to do.

Because this “first step”… is a step right off a cliff.

And this President!

How shameful it would be to watch an adult… hold his breath, and threaten to continue to do so, until he turned blue.

But how horrifying it is… to watch a President hold his breath and threaten to continue to do so, until innocent and patriotic Americans in harm’s way, are bled white.

You lead this country, sir?

You claim to defend it?

And yet when faced with the prospect of someone calling you on your stubbornness—your stubbornness which has cost 3,431 Americans their lives and thousands more their limbs—you, Mr. Bush, imply that if the Democrats don’t give you the money and give it to you entirely on your terms, the troops in Iraq will be stranded, or forced to serve longer, or have to throw bullets at the enemy with their bare hands.

How transcendentally, how historically, pathetic.

Despite KO’s critique and this thesis that the Democrats caved because of the fear of White House criticism, I actually think there’s another fear that played a big part in the decision. They’re afraid of having another lie perpetrated on them about being responsible for losing a war. Like happened with Vietnam. What Rick Perlstein called The Biggest Lie Ever Told About Liberals (behind the firewall):

n 1970, during the Vietnam war, an amendment to the military procurement authorization act introduced by Republican Mark Hatfield and Democrat George McGovern proposed that, unless President Nixon sought and won a declaration of war from Congress, no money could be spent after the end of the year “for any purposes other than to pay costs relating to the withdrawal of all United States forces.” Of course, withdrawing forces is not cutting funding for them (in fact, it might have turned out to be more expensive in the short term), and Hatfield-McGovern never got more than 42 votes in the Senate-even though, in its second go-round in 1971, 73 percent of the public supported it.

The first time the Senate actually voted to suspend funding for American military activities in Vietnam was in the summer of 1973, two months after the last American combat brigades left, by the terms of a peace treaty Nixon negotiated. That amendment passed by a veto-proof majority-encompassing Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals-of 64 to 26.

Their fear of being saddled with “losing the war” - which has been lost for a while - by political pundits and “wing-nuts”, has forced many of them to decide to continue this war until many more Americans die and it becomes obvious, politically safe, and all the editorial boards and pundits agree, that it’s time to bring our troops home.

As a Veteran told me last night, “Just think how many lives would have been saved if we’d left in 1969 when Nixon became President.” He believed it was around 20,000. I hope Americans and these Congressional Democrats aren’t looking back and saying the same thing forty years from now.

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