lundi, février 05, 2007

Fiddling while Iraq burns

In addition to the resolution introduced by Mr. Gregg, declaring that Congress should not cut off financing for forces in Iraq, Republican leaders had sought a Democratic commitment for a vote on another alternative, one introduced by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. That measure would set 11 conditions for the Iraqi government if it wanted to retain American support. The Republican approach would need 60 votes for passage.
Democrats said that the Gregg initiative was meant as a political distraction and that they wanted to focus strictly on the question of whether senators supported Mr. Bush’s plan or opposed it. “We are witnessing the spectacle of a White House and Republican senators unwilling even to engage in a debate on a war that claims at least one American life every day and at least $2.5 billion dollars a week,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat.
Some Republicans admitted that they were unsure how long the unity would last and whether Republicans could continue to make a case against the resolution on procedural grounds. And two Republicans facing re-election in 2008, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Norm Coleman of Minnesota, joined Democrats in voting to begin the debate. New York Times February 5

If we didn't have bombings that kill hundreds of civilians every week, and if we didn't have to bear the loss of US men and women trying to keep the peace in a land where they face enemies who don't mind blowing themselves up to get Americans out, then perhaps this jousting in the Senate over an Iraq resolution would seem like more politics as usual. But leave out whether this war is wrong, on the merits, for a minute-let's just ask what our $2.5 million a week is getting us---or what we could do with this kind of money to address huge problems at home? Sadly, this dispute will probably be resolved on the grounds of politics, not principle. Enough Republican senators who face the scrutiny of the public next year want to be on record opposing a surge in troops that Democrats can be fairly confident some kind of resolution opposing the war will eventually get passed. But, as was pointed out in a New York Times article this past Sunday, it really is up to the President to start or end a war-the Congress can make itself a royal pain (as it were), but it is up to the monarchical Commander in Chief to decide enough people have died to declare this one a failure and get out. But then, this is George Bush we are talking about-a stubborn man surrounded by a group of guys (maybe even Condi) that could most charitably be termed paranoid. They would go to Armageddon and back to see their will accomplished. They don't seem to understand that there is no going back once you get to Armageddon.

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