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February 12, 2007

We’ll Support a Troop Surge Unless He Does Too


It is no news that many of our representatives in Congress have long treated the Iraq War as no more than a political tool. This egocentricity has come at the cost of emboldened terrorists in Iraq and a less-than-effective execution of political and military strategies in that country. The combination of mostly Democratic legislators’ rhetoric and the media’s anti-war predisposition has over the past few months and years convinced many Americans that withdrawal from Iraq would indeed be a good idea.


Unfortunately, winning the majority in both the House and the Senate was not sufficient for Democrats to stop playing politics with soldiers’ lives and, for all intents and purposes, the future of the world. Moving toward November 2006, Democrats established their campaign theme based on a close reading of the polls showing general dissatisfaction with the war (which, incidentally, they had helped to artificially inflate). But after taking both chambers of Congress, they realized that they had to stick with their promises of opposing President Bush on Iraq, no matter what the price is for the country. And, well, they have certainly been fulfilling that promise.


Criticizing the administration’s handling of the war had always been a pleasant, open-ended task. Since they promised to oppose the status quo (though without specifying any alternative to it during campaign season), Democrats could do so in a variety of ways. They could put all the blame on Donald Rumsfeld, suggest that the rest of the world isn’t approving of our conduct, propose that we immediately withdraw our troops, reiterate that “Bush lied, children died” or even somehow tie it all in with global warming.


But a large number of Democrats had for years, and until very recently, thought that a humiliating retreat would not look so good for their national security image. “How do we oppose the president on Iraq yet make it sound like we want to win there,” they asked themselves. The answer was, send more troops to Iraq!


After his party gained seats in the November elections, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid explained that he supported a troop surge in Iraq. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden has also continuously encouraged a troop increase. Even Senator John Kerry has expressed support for the idea of sending more dumb Americans to Iraq, saying that “if it requires more troops in order to create the stability that eliminates the chaos… that's what we have to do.”


Many delegates in the House of Representatives shared this view as well. Notable is Congressman Silvestre Reyes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. As recently as December, Reyes noted, “we have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq… I would say 20,000 to 30,000.”


But then the Democrats’ worst nightmare happened: President Bush agreed with them! In complete accord with these Democratic leaders in Congress, the administration announced that it will be adding 21,500 troops to the fight in Iraq. This came as a shock to the Democrats, who fear nothing more than the appearance of agreeing with Bush, the bashing of whom won them a congressional majority in November.


Upon hearing that the administration was planning a troop surge, these Democrats’ solid positions suddenly changed. Reid and Biden no longer support the troops surge they had advocated. Kerry became against to the troop surge after he was for it. Reyes also opposed the move, so blatantly overlooking the fact that he held the precisely opposite position only a month before. But we’ll let that one slide, maybe he was as tired in that interview as he was when he explained that Al-Qaeda was a predominantly Shiite organization.


They don’t even try to hide the hypocrisy; perhaps they know the mainstream media will just overlook it. But how does their conscience handle it? If they were advocating a troop surge, we’d hope that they were doing so because they sincerely believed that such action would be the best for America and the world. The radical change in their position, done for the sole purpose of opposing the president, should not go unnoticed by the American people. And if the troop surge does work, the credit should not go to these Democrats – although they would most certainly credit their newly acquired majority status for the victory.


Come to think of it, perhaps Republicans should take advantage of the Democrats’ shameful behavior. We should lobby President Bush to propose higher taxes, legalization of gay marriage, universal health care and the immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. Nothing would do a better job at making Congressional Democrats change their position on these issues than Bush’s association with them and their left-wing ideals.


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This is Column # PI39. Request permission to publish here.