dimanche, février 18, 2007

Finally, debate

“We will be relentless,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the third-ranking Democrat. “There will be resolution after resolution, amendment after amendment, all forcing this body to do what it has not done in the previous three years: debate and discuss Iraq.”

Quoted in today's New York Times, Schumer is absolutely correct. It is appalling that there has never been an open debate on the merits of this war. Democrats are quite rightly aware that the fact that the voters gave them a (slim) majority, or, more relevantly, ditched a number of Republicans last November was probably a mandate for change. At the least, it was a cry for an honest, courageous and open debate.

Although the Democrats in the Senate weren't able to prevail over a Republican filibuster this time, the tide is slowly turning. In a vote to debate President Bush's disastrous war strategy, or lack of strategy, seven Republican Senators (all up for re-election this next year-can anyone say handwriting on the wall?) defected and voted with the Democrats. For years the Republicans in the Senate have pretty much come out and said that anyone who raised a question about this war was unpatriotic and was not supporting our troops. Some Republican leaders are still trying to club dissenters with the same worn-out, cynical blasts of verbiage. They forget that being dedicated to bringing democratic ideals to foreign nations means that we have to practice them here at home.

Cheap patriotism-the last refuge of the coward.

The fact that party leaders didn't allow this to occur for four years should shame them. Now it is up to the Democrats not only to allow the conversation (and rhetoric) to ring out in both Houses, but to represent the majority sentiment-that we have run out of good choices in Iraq, and the only ones left are more or less tragic. We can't bring back the dead-but we can honor them by asking, finally, whether or not they died in vain-so that, perhaps, fewer innocents will be lead to slaughter by the insane egotism of one man.

3 commentaires:

Catherine + a dit…

Elizabeth, you said IT better than I ever could...thank you.

Offcenter a dit…
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Offcenter a dit…

Catherine+, I think you easily could have written this. Too bad our conservative (closeted) friends won't come out and start a dialogue-that just shows the state of bipartisanship. The Republican losses weren't some odd accident-they were a stinging rebuke on Iraq.