Last night, I had a bit of fun with the congressional resolution opposing the troop surge. I played that one for laughs, but this time I’m serious. The resolution — and the events leading up to it — have me utterly infuriated.
Some of the critics of the anti-war movement say that the anti-war people aren’t really that interested in the war per se, merely in how it will affect domestic politics. To be more on the point, how they can use it to further their political ends. I’ve avoided that argument so far, but in this case it can’t be avoided.
Consider the following:
Just a few weeks ago, the Senate was given the opportunity to question the architect of the “surge” strategy, and weigh whether or not he should be placed in charge of Allied forces in Iraq. At that time, the Senate voted 81-0 in favor of his assuming that position.
Less than a month later, they are trying to pass a resolution condemning his plan before it has even been fully tried.
I am not arguing whether or not the surge is a good idea. I am, as the anti-war faction of Congress is doing, setting aside the war to focus purely on domestic politics.
I have respect for those who oppose the war on principles. I disagree with them, but I respect both their right to do so. I also grant them sincerity in their beliefs.
But the Democratic leadership in Congress has shown itself utterly unworthy of that respect.
If the Congress really wanted to challenge Bush’s policies in Iraq, there are a host of ways they could do so. They could move to repeal the Authorization of Use of Military Force that granted him the power to invade Iraq. They could pass a law requiring the withdrawal of forces from Iraq, declaring the war over. They could cut the funding for the war.
Hell, a few weeks ago they could have taken a firm stand against the surge and refused to confirm General Petraeus as Commander of the Multi-National Force.
(A brief aside: I feel a great deal of sympathy for General Petraeus. From all I’ve read, he is an honorable man. And as an honorable man, he must be sorely tempted to resign in protest. Mere weeks after being confirmed, the very same body that showed faith in him is now openly denouncing his plans and threatening to remove his ability to carry them out. It’s like hiring a builder to put up your home, praising him to the heavens at first, then immediately denouncing his plans as utterly unworkable, threatening to eliminate his supplies budget, and telling him he can only use whatever tools happen to be lying around your home at the time. What Congress is doing to this man goes so far beyond “setting him up for failure” as to define new levels of perfidy.)
So, instead of taking a firm position and standing their ground, the Democrats running Congress have decided on a different tack: they aren’t acting to win the fight, they are working to make sure Bush loses. They are carefully and calculatingly arranging matters so that Bush’s plans have no chance of success, while offering no alternatives of their own.
And they are trying to time the events as to maximize their own gains in the 2008 elections, when the presidency, one-third of the Senate, and the entire House are up for grabs. (They chortle even more when they realize that of the third of the Senate up, roughly 2/3 of the seats are currently held by Republicans.)
It’s a good, sound political strategy. It plays on the Republicans’ weaknesses, while minimizing the Democrats’ weaknesses. By not putting forth their own plan on Iraq, they insulate themselves from being attacked on its particulars. And by dragging out the conflict, they maximize the public dissatisfaction with the Republicans. By all rights, it ought to work.
That is, as long as you don’t consider the price of this policy — and who pays it.
In this case, it’s the American men and women currently serving in Iraq. They are the ones who are the pawns in this grand game, moved around and sacrificed for political purposes back home.
Don’t like the war? Fine. Then DO SOMETHING about it. Come on, Congress, grow up a little. Step up to the plate and do SOMETHING meaningful.
Earlier this week, I referred to the “non-binding resolution” as “political Onanism.” I’m angry enough at this point that my sense of discretion is pretty much history, so I’m going to run with that metaphor.
Congress is acting like a nervous high-school boy who’s terrified of asking out the pretty girl next to him in biology. They have all these grandiose plans and fantasies and ideas revolving around her, but can’t work up the nerve to actually approach her. So, instead, they stay at home and gratify themselves in the privacy of their bedroom, telling themselves that they’re just “waiting for the right moment” and “trying to arrange the perfect opportunity” to make that first move.
In the meantime, the bed sheets get more and more disgusting.
Congress, stop treating our service members like those linens. Take a stand on your “principles.” Scrap this “non-binding resolution” bullshit and come up with something with some teeth behind it, or shut the fuck up.
As my mother used to say, it’s time to shit or get off the pot. While you’re sitting there and squirming and wiggling, Americans are bleeding. And your current strategy of dragging out the matter as long as possible is obscene, the kind of grotesque human sacrifice that should have gone out of fashion centuries ago.