I woke up this morning, poured my coffee, and sat down to read the news that Congress is expected to give Bush $70 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I can honestly say that I am not surprised one bit by this "cave in" from Congress. Time after time they have continued to back down to President Bush on every single war-funding battle.
Not to defend them, but if every piece of legislation aimed at ending the war in Iraq is sure to be vetoed or filibustered there is not much leverage for Congressional Democrats to use.
However, this is causing a serious "trust" problem with the American people who are so fed up with the war in Iraq that they want stronger measures taken -- such as impeachment or the Congressional leadership not allowing war-funding bills to hit the floor. Those are really the only two options left for Congressional Democrats to pursue considering who they are dealing with.
But those options are just non-issues because the Democrats lack the courage to take the political risk -- even though people are dying everyday.
A contributing factor to this whole dilemma is that the Democratic leadership makes strong and bold promises not to allow no-strings-attached funding for Iraq. Then, after the song and dance, and when it is all said and done, they back down. When they do that they take away the little bit of "false hope" we were holding on to.
I fall into the category of Americans who want to see more action on behalf of Congress to end the war. I fully realize that we are not leaving Iraq yesterday or tomorrow. However, our elected leaders should at least force this administration to "start the process" on their watch. This mess was created by Bush with the help of Congress. I believe (in my perfect world) that they owe it to the American people to start solving this problem before the next President and Congress are elected. Or at least have a plan in place -- silly me.
The "troop surge" is a major factor in this because it did cause a real decrease in violence. If our troops build up their presence in one area it is only natural that insurgents will move to another. But how do we chase them down once they flee? Do we leave the established area we secured to hunt them down elsewhere? Would they just flee back? How long will they wait us out? What is the end goal? What is victory? Does anyone really know?
The problem is that "surge" is only a temporary military solution. This summer we will start dropping down the numbers because current troop levels are just not sustainable with an all volunteer military force. When we do draw down the number of troops to pre-surge levels, violence will spike dramatically. Then what? Do we have another surge? Again?
We are fooling ourselves if we think that a temporary troop surge is going to somehow establish a permanent friendship between the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds. It is not going to happen.
Sadly, we really stirred up the hornets nest and there are no good options. If we leave there will be all out chaos & a multi-front civil war. If we stay it will only be for perpetual war between the U.S. military and unknown multiple warring factions -- who are also fighting each other.
In Iraq (Arabia) they have been fighting each other for thousands of years. America is just over 200 years old. How ridiculous for us to believe that we, as a foreign nation, with a totally different culture, can somehow quell religious feuds that have existed in that part of the world since the beginning of time.
Unless of course we just stay forever. Are we ready for that? Are we ready to bring back the military draft? Are we willing to come together as a nation and go "all-out" in this war effort? Then answer is clearly NO. And that is the reason why we need to stop this war as soon as conceivably possible.
Recently I have again been the subject of attacks from the right-wing element in this country who support the war in Iraq. And I'll say it again -- most of them have no blood or money in the game. They support this war without committing any sacrifice of their own. They go about their daily business totally uninterrupted. It is so easy for them to fight the war on terror from their office, college classroom, and couch.
Their version of supporting the troops is to show up at some demonstration and demonize veterans like myself who know the true cost and reality of this war. While at the same time they lack the courage to go anywhere near it.
If they get their way they should be privy to the secret and unspoken reality that they will have to pay up sooner or later and sacrifice for this war too. There is an old saying "you can pay me now or you can pay me later, but you are going to pay me."
I would love to see every one of them go over to Iraq and fight the war they so ardently support. And for their sake I hope they get a chance.
Getting back to Congress.
Anyone who is reading this please just remember how your Representative or Senator voted on this war funding bill. Whether or not you agree with them ... please just remember.
November of 2008 is just right around the corner.