Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Democrats Take on the War

I have previously criticized President Bush's proposed "surge" in troops as being unlikely to accomplish anything. Of course I know I'm a totally untrained armchair general mouthing off on an area on which I have no expertise, but if the current troops aren't accomplishing the mission, it's hard for me to understand how increasing the troops by 18% for a few months is really going to change matters. If the President proposed doubling the troop levels, I might think he was serious, but the proposed surge seems more like an attempt to make headlines than an attempt to accomplish anything real.

But by the same token, what is the point of the Democrats' big push to adopt a nonbinding resolution that declares congressional support for the troops but adds, "Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq"? Has the United States somehow, magically, hit on exactly the right number of troops to be in Iraq right now? Is adding 18% more troops something to be so deplored that we need a congressional resolution about it? What if the President decided to send 1,000 more troops? Or move 1,000 troops from Fallujah to Baghdad? Should Congress disapprove that?

I certainly have my preferred side in political matters, and if you read this blog you'll have no trouble figuring out which side it is, but as a blogger and as a professor I feel some need to call things as I see them, and when either side makes a big, empty gesture it's hard not to point it out. The Democrats' nonbinding resolution seems about as likely to accomplish anything real as the President's surge.

Of course, when the Republicans controlled Congress, they did a brilliant job of holding symbolic votes that had little purpose other than to make Democrats uncomfortable. I can't fault the Democrats too much for doing the same thing. And also, I realize that it's tough for Congress to do much about strategic and tactical issues in a war. It's not well positioned to control things at that level. So the Democrats are in a bit of a tough spot. And the whole Iraq mess is of the President's making, so it's primarily his responsibility to deal with it.

Still, whatever the truly right thing to do is, it's hard for me to believe that it's passing a nonbinding resolution that just says, "whatever you do, Mr. President, we don't want you sending about 18% more troops to Iraq."

Posted 2-18-07 10:55 am

1 comment:

MVD said...

I think that the idea for the Democrats is to START with a non-binding resolution, get a feel for where everyone is coming from, and work up to something with more bite. Anyway, I hope that is the case!