Thursday, February 15, 2007

The House debate

The Democrats are all very quick with every breath to say that they support the troops even while they condemn their mission and the plan to give them the additional numbers that their military commander, David Petraeus, says he needs. Thus they try to have it both ways by putting a clause into the House resolution saying that they support the troops, but, as the WSJ says today, the soldiers themselves aren't buying it.
The motion at issue is plainly dishonest, in that exquisitely Congressional way of trying to have it both ways. The resolution purports to "support" the troops even as it disapproves of their mission. It praises their "bravery," while opposing the additional forces that both President Bush and General David Petreaus, the new commanding general in Iraq, say are vital to accomplishing that mission. And it claims to want to "protect" the troops even as its practical impact will be to encourage Iraqi insurgents to believe that every roadside bomb brings them closer to their goal.
As for how "the troops" themselves feel, we refer readers to Richard Engel's recent story on NBC News quoting Specialist Tyler Johnson in Iraq: "People are dying here. You know what I'm saying . . . You may [say] 'oh we support the troops.' So you're not supporting what they do. What they's [sic] here to sweat for, what we bleed for and we die for." Added another soldier: "If they don't think we're doing a good job, everything we've done here is all in vain." In other words, the troops themselves realize that the first part of the resolution is empty posturing, while the second is deeply immoral.

All the more so because if Congress feels so strongly about the troops, it arguably has the power to start removing them from harm's way by voting to cut off the funds they need to operate in Iraq. But that would make Congress responsible for what followed--whether those consequences are Americans killed in retreat, or ethnic cleansing in Baghdad, or the toppling of the elected Maliki government by radical Shiite or military forces. The one result Congress fears above all is being accountable.
How do the politicians answer those voices from the soldiers themselves?

No comments: