Huffpost Politics

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Trudi Loh Headshot

Iraq: The Central Issue in '06 and in '08

Posted: Updated:

We must never forget who was right and who was wrong on the Iraq War. President Bush and the Republicans, if they had their druthers, would now change the subject to "where do we go from here". While this is a valid and necessary inquiry as we chart a new direction for Iraq, Democrats must take care not to allow the public discourse to be about this topic alone. For if we only discuss whether Bush 43 or Bush 41 and their respective teams are/were right, Democrats will have no foothold in the discussion but to say "we like this Republican idea better than that Republican idea."

It appears that Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi knows this. Her decision to interject herself into the contest for Majority Leader was, depending upon who you ask, risky/foolish/bold/an act of friendship over politics. Take her at her word when she says that her support of Congressman Murtha (D-Pa) is due to his courageous opposition to the Iraq War. Each and every time Jack Murtha appears at her side it will be a reminder to the American people who was right and who was wrong about Iraq. Democrats must and will support a well-thought out plan for a conclusion to this war. It would only compound the tragedy if our exit strategy were as immoral as our entrance strategy was. However, planning for the future is not inconsistent with persistently reminding the public about who got us there in the first place.

Nor can we afford to forget who got us into the war when we set about to choose a standard bearer for our party in the '08 Presidential election. Not only would it be pragmatically foolhardy to give away the best issue we have by selecting someone who was for the war in Iraq, it also is just plain dumb. If you find that someone has driven your car into a ditch, you don't pull it out and hand the keys back to the same person who ditched it before.