Now, three congressmen have decided that they didn’t really want to vote in support of going to war with Iraq (Fox story here). The article goes on to clearly state the political benefits of the statements these three have made. Reversing their positions has been politically expedient especially in light of the fact that their original position made them something of a pariah within their party. These three want us to believe that it is all the president’s fault. You see, he lied to us, told us there were weapons of mass destruction. We believed him and voted for the war against Iraq. Ah, so let me get this straight. You voted to permit a war, an action that you knew or should have known would lead to the deaths of thousands and possibly even millions of people simply on the word of the administration? You, members of Congress, with all the resources at your disposal simply believed the administration and voted for war? Wow.
“No really, it’s OK. The president told us so and presidents never lie.”
Of course, that depends on the meaning of ‘never’.
This from the group that pointed fingers at the Republicans when they put the question on the floor, withdraw troops from Iraq immediately. Oh, and by the way, that is exactly what Representative Murtha called for as well. “To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.” Immediate redeployment of U.S. Troops. That is what Republicans put before the House. When put before the House without dressing or fluff, it is political maneuvering which the Democrats decry. When the Democrats talk about immediate withdrawal in long drawn out discussions it is something that everyone should take seriously.
What I cannot figure out in all of this is the difference between the two positions with regard to deployment of troops. Rep. Murtha’s statement called for immediate withdrawal. It’s right there in the text of the statement on his own web site. In interviews Murtha said he thought it might take six months. That would be moving pretty quickly given the process required to get troops and equipment out of Iraq. I cannot find the text of the Republican resolution 571 but it also calls for the immediate withdrawal of troops. The Democrats keep telling us that this is all about the good of our troops – one of Murtha’s primary points was that our troops had become a target of the insurgency – and our country. If that is truly the case, why did Democrats vote down resolution 571? If the best thing for our country and our troops is to bring them home, why didn’t they vote yes on 571? Because the issue is more complicated than that. The right answer here is not a simple one.
The real issue here is politics. All of the debate about Iraq is really about politics. It is about discrediting the Republican party as a whole by discrediting the Republican president. This is not about the troops, this is not about Iraq, this is not about what is good for America. This is about gaining the upper hand in the next battle at the ballot box.
The Iraqi government went before the United Nations and asked that the mandate authorizing Coalition force presence in Iraq be extended. The Iraqi Foreign minister went to Japan and asked them to extend their force presence in Iraq beyond the December 15 deadline currently in place. If Coalition forces were pulled out of Iraq immediately, as Rep. Murtha suggests, most observers believe that Iraq will plunge into civil war. It is the presence of Coalition forces that is keeping the political process moving forward. It is the politic infrastructure currently being built that might allow for a free Iraq. One with a dictator, without torture, and maybe even someday an Iraq without religious persecution.