11/19/2005 04:55 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Cowards in Congress

As the House and Senate clamor to be seen as staying the [idiotic] course in Iraq, worrying like Mad Hatters that an American soldier or Marine might -- just might -- come home before he or she is "finished," we note that some things really do matter to our illustrious elected leadership. They just voted themselves another nice, predictable pay raise.

Bob Herbert's alarming column about how the wheels really are coming off the U.S. Army is bad enough. But wait, there's more! Washington also offers a clear inability to effectively respond to hurricanes, to monitor our own borders, to take care of veterans from past and current military adventures, and to deal responsibly with a booming national debt.

Perhaps, with all these challenges, our beloved Congress really does need a pay raise, what with all those long nights of wise policy-making and making hard decisions. However, I'm inclined to believe now more than ever that H.L. Mencken was right when he said, "Congress consists of one third, more or less, scoundrels; two thirds, more or less, idiots; and three thirds, more or less, poltroons."

Naturally, I never knew what he was talking about, not understanding that strange word "poltroon." But I looked it up. It means "an abject coward." Mencken may have over generalized, but given the recent congressional herd reaction to Representative Murtha's suggestion regarding the Bush team's lie-based foreign policy and humanitarian disaster-by-design in Iraq, poltroon fits nicely.

I hope that the Congress really doesn't represent the country. If it truly does, we've fallen and we're not getting up anytime soon. But perhaps, like Mencken, I'm being overly pessimistic. Your thoughts?