Thursday, June 15, 2006
The House and Iraq
I always wondered what the Washington Post would be like if it wasn’t so pro war. , I finally got a taste of it, as the WaPo posted a really great story about the House’s War on Terror resolution, framing it from the point of view of Republicans that are against the war.

Nearly four years after it authorized the use of force in Iraq, the House today will embark on its first extended debate on the war, with Republican leaders daring Democrats to vote against a nonbinding resolution to hold firm on Iraq and the war on terrorism.

In the wake of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death and President Bush's surprise trip to Baghdad, Republican leaders are moving quickly to capitalize on good news and trying to force Democrats on the defensive. Bush continued his own campaign with a morning news conference and a White House meeting with congressional leaders from both parties, while House leaders strategized on today's 10-hour debate.


"I can't help but feel through eyes of a combat-wounded Marine in Vietnam, if someone was shot, you tried to save his life. . . . While you were in combat, you had a sense of urgency to end the slaughter, and around here we don't have that sense of urgency," said Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest (Md.), a usually soft-spoken Republican who has urged his leaders to challenge the White House on Iraq. "To me, the administration does not act like there's a war going on. The Congress certainly doesn't act like there's a war going on. If you're raising money to keep the majority, if you're thinking about gay marriage, if you're doing all this other peripheral stuff, what does that say to the guy who's about ready to drive over a land mine?"


Already, the resolution itself -- declaring that the United States will complete the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure and united Iraq and will prevail in the global war on terror -- has attracted strong criticism from lawmakers in both parties. Democrats and antiwar Republicans object to the linkage between the war in Iraq and the fight against terrorism, while some Republicans have said it sets unrealistic goals. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), who supports the war, called the resolution "strategically nebulous and morally obtuse."

But the strongest misgivings may be practical. Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) called the entire exercise "a dumb idea" that will highlight precisely the issue that is threatening Republican political fortunes.

"When the country is war-weary, when the violence is still playing out on TV, I don't know why we want to highlight all that," he said.

I’m glad to see there are still some honest Republicans out there.

I think the best bet for anti-Iraq War Democrats is to point out the differences between the War on Terror and the war in Iraq. They are not the same things – no matter what Republicans try to tell us. It’s very easy to be pro WOT, and against our involvement in an Iraqi civil war. Democrats need to point out the differences at every opportunity, or Republicans will have successfully painted them as weak on terror.

Americans are not happy with this current war, and if played right, Democrats will be able to show that Republicans have no plan for victory. It’s easy to say, “We will stay and fight”, but it’s a lot harder to actually come up with a strategy – obviously, as shown by Republican refusal to do so.


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