Sunday, January 28, 2007

Democrats and Iraq: Still plenty of barking and no sign of any real biting

The Democrats are struggling simply to get a worthless piece of paper that protests the Bush administration plan to escalate the war in Iraq, but there is still absolutely no significant sign that they will actively seek to stop the escalation let alone withdraw U.S. forces in a prompt manner. Put simply, the Democrats are all bark and no bite.

Not even one representative or senator is even hinting at seriously pushing for the impeachment of President Bush. Look, either the escalation is so bad that impeachment should be on the table as a tool to stop it, or if escalation is not that bad then why even bother with anything more than a simply worded resolution that says that people are unhappy with the escalation and then move on? Of course, the answer is that a lot of politicians are posturing and positioning themselves for the elections in 2008.

If the Democrats want to be practical, they would simply give President Bush precisely what he asked for: time for his plan to work. Give him eight months, until the end of September, and only that long if real progress is made within four months, and put him on notice that a solid resolution for immediate and full withdrawal (at least from populated areas) will likely be forthcoming in five months if a mandated oral and written report from the President at the end of May cannot persuade Congress that sufficient progress has been made.

Unless the Democrats are really, truly, and sincerely going to take action to actually prevent (or reverse) the escalation, a bark-without-bite resolution would be completely useless other than simply to score some political points and to feel good about themselves.

I suggest that the Democrats should take the high road and push a bipartisan resolution that clearly and simply states their reservations about the plan but "approves" the plan for a minor escalation for the limited duration of four months with an optional extension of another four months (total of eight months) if sufficient demonstrable progress can be reported in four months. After eight months, or after four months if sufficient progress cannot be reported, support (moral and budgetary)  for military operations in populated areas of Iraq willl be withdrawn. That has plenty of bark, a healthy dose of pragmatism, and at least some bite as well.

I believe that such a resolution would have enough toothiness to show that the Democrats have some spine, would show that the Democrats are being thoughtful and practical, and send everyone a message that although the end of our presence in Iraq (populated areas) is coming real soon, "our enemies" should not for one moment feel that they now have a free pass since U.S. forces would have a ticking clock as a strong motivator for them to get real results and get them real fast.

By disengaging U.S. forces from populated areas in Iraq we preserves many options for future military operations while removing the presence of our forces as an excuse for all manner of delay, misdirection, and misbehavior in the cities of Iraq.

So, come on Democrats in Congress, do something useful, and do it quickly.

-- Jack Krupansky


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