The War Hawks Want Out While Democrats Stay The Course
How is it that John Murtha, the war hawk within the Democratic Party, gets exactly what anti-war activists have been saying since long before the first bomb was dropped on Iraq, yet the leaders of the party are still lagging behind? It’s as if their political ambitions are blinding them to the facts that are before them. Murtha may not be my cup of tea, but at least he is speaking the truth and doing so in a blunt and straightforward manner. When asked by Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” this past Sunday if his vote to authorize the president to take us to war was a mistake, he answered flatly, “Of course it was a mistake.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that.
John Murtha is calling for an immediate redeployment of our troops, which he believes can be completed in six months. The public overwhelmingly supports this course of action and the White House will most likely follow Murtha’s plan without saying so publicly. How can the Democratic leadership still refuse to stand up for a plan with overwhelming public support that will most likely occur regardless of whether they support it or not? When the mid-term elections roll around and our troops are home, thanks to White House actions that were not supported by Democrats, how well are they going to fare with the voters?
The Democrats are about to be had by Rovian political maneuverings yet again and they took the first step into the trap on Friday when they voted down House Resolution 571, which called for immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Yes, it was a stunt by the Republican controlled Congress and no, it wasn’t what Murtha had in mind exactly, but voting against what the majority of American’s are in favor of does the Democrats no favors. It was only a resolution expressing the sense of the House, by voting for it, however unrealistic an “immediate” withdrawal may be, would have shown that the members of the House had some sense left.
Expect to hear much more about this vote as we head into the mid-term elections. Republican Congressmen will say that they voted no because they have faith in the President’s ability to bring the troops home when the time is right. Be ready for these same Republicans to point out at every turn that if Democrats in the House didn’t have that same faith, they should have voted for the resolution calling the troops home. The vote was a no win situation for the Democrats, but they could have mitigated the damage by either voting for the resolution or abstaining from the vote altogether.
The only Democrats with any credibility left on the issue of the war are those who voted against giving Bush the authority to wage it in the first place, and those like John Murtha who are willing to say they were wrong. Not duped, not coerced, but wrong. Is it any wonder that the American people are skeptical of handing the reigns over to a party that can’t seem to make up its mind? They publicly call for an end to the war, yet continually vote to stay the course. I hear a lot of talk from Democrats about how Bush will never admit his mistakes, well now is the time to prove that they are better than that. Repeat after me, “I was wrong to vote for the war, and here is what I am going to do to bring it to an end.” There, was that so hard?
The Democrats in Congress need to take the opportunity this Thanksgiving recess provides them, to think long and hard about what comes next. No more whining about pre-war intelligence, let the investigations take care of that, and no more running from what the people want, immediate troop withdrawal. If they are unwilling to stand up and call for an end to what never should have started in the first place, they will continue to be the minority party, leaving most of America without a voice in government.