Wednesday, 21 February 2007
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was reportedly all smiles last week after she and her Democrat colleagues passed a non-binding resolution disapproving of President Bush’s call to send more troops to Iraq. This non-binding resolution (“non-binding,” of course, being politician-speak for “worthless”) was to show America just how committed the Democrat Party is to changing course in Iraq. But Democrat leaders might want to stop congratulating themselves on their meaningless vote that accomplished nothing long enough to consider just what type of commitment they demonstrated.
For months now, leaders of the Democrat Party have told America the deplorable nature of our involvement in Iraq. From Pelosi to Reid, Kerry to Obama, they have told us the war is “un-winnable,” that it’s a “quagmire,” that America is becoming less safe, gaining nothing, and “wasting” the lives of its brave soldiers. The left’s mouthpieces in the mainstream media have assisted in trumpeting the message with their macabre body count (as though success or failure in war is measured solely by the amount of lives lost) and by sticking a microphone in the face of any elected Congressman willing to announce how wrong we are for continuing this “illegal war.” The Democrats have been relentless in their criticism of President Bush, his advisors, and the entire mission in Iraq. “We support the troops, not the mission” has become the rallying cry for the political left. And their tireless campaign paid off in November when war-weary voters handed a Congressional majority back to Democrats. But then, in their climactic moment of triumph, having been given the authority and the power to take action and reverse this disastrous war policy that they have been bemoaning for months…the Democrat Party leaned in to the microphone and gently whispered, “Pass.”
Make no mistake, Pelosi and her Democrat cohorts have the constitutional authority to end our involvement in Iraq. While the President is the Commander-in-Chief, the Constitutional system of check and balances gives the “power of the purse” to Congress. With one vote, Congress could put an end-date on our participation in the conflict. And don’t worry about those silly Republicans. The Democrats enjoy a healthy majority and could pass the bill without one single crossover vote. And even if they didn’t want to pull us out completely, they could at least take a vote to de-fund President Bush’s proposed troop surge. And yet, they don’t. Instead they pass a meaningless resolution that has the legal significance as when they declare July “National Peach Month.” So why then, if they are apparently so opposed to this war, doesn’t the Democrat Party end our involvement? I can come up with two reasons, neither of which speaks well of the newly elected majority.
One, the Democrat leadership doesn’t really believe what they’ve been saying. They don’t really believe that the war is a lost cause, that our soldiers are incapable of winning, that we are wasting American lives in a hopeless quagmire. In fact, they know the opposite to be true, but they merely say such things in an attempt to capitalize politically. Let’s hope this isn’t the case. Tearing down a Commander-in-Chief in a time of war, and attempting to manipulate public opinion against the mission of your own soldiers while they are in the field of battle, simply for the sake of winning more votes, is a despicable and revolting strategy.
Option two is not much better, however. If the Democrats truly do believe the things they are saying about this war, and yet pass when given the opportunity to stop it, it can only be because they don’t want to be held accountable for making a decision. If they vote to stop the funding and end our involvement in Iraq, they run the risk of alienating voters who might disagree. Apparently, their obsession with power is enough to outweigh their allegiance to doing what they believe is right (bringing the troops home). There’s a word for that type of behavior: cowardice.
This sham of a vote will eventually sink in with Americans. And when it dawns on them that their newly elected majority in Congress is either (1) playing political stunts during wartime, or (2) is too cowardly to lead, I doubt they will be impressed. Who knows, that just might wipe the smile off Speaker Pelosi’s face.
Peter W. Heck