For too long a bi-partisan majority of Congress has sat idle while President Bush has continued to carry out his occupation of choice in Iraq with a blatant disregard for the mandate given by the American people in the election of 2006.
We are rapidly approaching a landmark number of 4,000 troops killed in action with over 30,000 seriously wounded. The cost of the war is astronomical and the price continues to skyrocket. The surge has brought success in a sense that violence has decreased, but that does not erase the fact that our troops and innocent Iraqi people continue to be killed, almost daily.
Even if we look at this occupation from President Bush's standpoint our military has accomplished every mission given to them. There were no WMDs to disarm, Saddam Hussein is dead, the Iraqi people have had three democratic elections, we built, trained, armed, and financed a new Iraqi Army and police force, and we have completed a full year of the surge that was implemented as a short-term military tactic designed to create an atmosphere peaceful enough for the Iraqis to achieve a political reconciliation and unite under one Iraq.
This summer we will still have 140,000 troops bogged down in Iraq, more than we had before the surge was implemented.
Now President Bush is finding more excuses for our troops to stay in Iraq indefinitely. He has even attempted to make "under the table" deals with Nouri Al-Maliki for a permanent US troop presence in Iraq, even though Al-Maliki is a fragile leader who will probably be gone as soon as the end of the Bush presidency -- provided he is lucky enough to make it that long.
Getting back on point ...
Given what we know, that President Bush has no regard for the power of Congress or the wishes of the American people, nor will our Congress (as a whole) stand up to the President, it is now up to the people to do everything within our power to take a stand against this travesty inflicted upon America and the nation of Iraq.
It is no longer an option to give members of Congress the comfort of knowing that they will have our votes regardless of their legislative voting record on the war. I am clearly referring to Democrats who vote in lockstep with Republicans on war-funding bills only to complain about having to do so. On occasion, I interact with some of these members of Congress and their staff, when challenged with their voting record, they are quick to respond with "we have to elect more Democrats" or "We just don't have the votes" despite the fact that they have more votes than the Republicans who keep winning.
It is now time to let them know that we are well aware that they took our votes for granted and we won't be fooled again. It is perfectly reasonable not to feel compelled to vote for Democrats with voting records practically identical to John McCain because of the "lesser of two evils" dilemma. The only way Congress will respect the "power of the people" is for them to be fully convinced that we are perfectly willing to vote them out of office for their cowardly inaction.
I know for a fact that we who are out there in the streets fighting for a change of course in Iraq are sick and tired of having to hang our heads in shame every time our members of Congress cave into George W. Bush and his Republican "minority" in the House and Senate.
If the Republicans can prevail every single time with less votes than the Democrats, why can't the Democrats for once just stand strong and united sending a strong message to Bush that he won't get a dime except for a binding agreement for a fully funded withdrawal of our troops? Why not? Hillary and Obama are saying they will start bringing the troops home right away once they become president. So why don't Democrats in Congress start the process now? Are they afraid? At this point, it is hard to tell.
This is coming from someone who spent the last three years fighting on behalf of the Democratic party, primarily on the war issue. I remain a Democrat, and I'm not leaving my party, but if Democrats don't "get the memo" soon, I will do everything I can to empower Democrats who will actually do the job that their constituents elect them to do.
Blind loyalty to a political party has proven to be ineffective on the war issue. Unless of course you are a Republican (due to the fact that they keep winning).
Soon Congress will have another opportunity to vote on a bill to fund the war in Iraq for the duration of the Bush presidency. Today, the Senate voted on a bill that would advance the debate on cutting off funding for the war -- but what is the catch? Only time will tell what the Republicans have up their sleeve in regard to this vote. In the meantime, we need to put as much pressure on our members of Congress to take advantage of what may very well be their final chance to start the process of ending George W. Bush's occupation of Iraq.