“A resolution to support the troops”

On Friday, the U.S. House passed a pretty ridiculous resolution of pure political posturing expressing their support for President Bush's policies on the war in Iraq and the Global War on Terrorism. The entire purpose of the bill was not an honest debate over Iraq, but simply to have Democrats who do not support current policies in Iraq cast a vote against “fighting terrorism.” 

House Majority leader, John Boehner, quite clearly confounds the two issues of fighting terrorism and the Iraq war in this quote:   “The American public deserves to hear how their elected leaders will
respond to international terrorism and those enemies who seek to
destroy our American way of life. Will we fight or will we retreat?” But, of course, confounding the issues is his intention.  Yet, I think many would argue that Iraq is simply not part of the war on terrorism (which in itself is quite a misnomer.  It is a war on violent Islamic fundamentalism).

This “debate” is also a great example of how the majority party can rig the rules of the game.  While Democrats would certainly have supported an alternative wording that gave support to fighting terrorism and support for the job our troops are doing the Republican rules of the debate forbade them from offering any amendments or alternative resolutions.  Further evidence that an honest policy debate was never the intention.

Sadly, at least judging by the coverage of NBC (long the weakest of the three broadcast news networks, in my opinion), the Republican gambit worked.  A report on “Today” this morning referred to “a resolution to support the troops.”  That could not be further from the truth.  Everybody I know supports the troops.  That's why so many of us want them out of harm's way.  The issue is not whether we will retreat or not, but whether we are making the situation better or worse, and if it is the latter, we are needlessly wasting American lives.  You can make a pretty good argument that the American military precense is now more of a hindrance to our broader foreign policy goals than it is a help.  Of course, you can also make a reasonable argument that the best course is to stay, but it is simply low and cowardly to argue that those that think removing our troops is the best “strategic” decision at that point are cowards who want to give in to terrorists and “cut and run.”

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