Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Democrats Are In A Tough Position On Iraq Issue

Not So Fast Mr. Conyers!

Democrats Taking Gamble on Iraq

The direction of the U.S. hinges on what happens with Iraq. The U.S. is entering a crucial & defining period in its history. What happens in Iraq and the wider Middle East within the next 1-2 years will impact the U.S. political landscape for decades to come.

Both sides are rolling the dice, betting everything they have. For Republicans, everything is riding on Iraq. If the troop increase works and the situation in Iraq improves dramatically, Republicans will be able to claim victory and will say that they were right all along. This would also set the stage for an easier Presidential race for Republicans in 2008. Republicans are hoping that by then, the situation in Iraq will be stable.

Republicans would also be emboldened and will be encouraged to invade or attack other countries such as Iran, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, or any other country that is not completely submissive to U.S. influence.

On the other hand, Democrats are also exposed to considerable risks on the Iraq issue, in several ways. First, the non-binding resolution & the threats to cut funding for the war are huge gambles. If the Bush & co. plan works, Democrats will not be able to escape criticism and avoid being on the losing side. They will be on record voting against the troop increase. If this is the case by 2008, then winning the White House will be much harder to do for the Democrats.

The other side of the double edged sword for the Democrats is that even if the troop increase fails to get Iraq under control, the Republicans will try to blame the failure on the Democrats, saying that the lack of support from Congress led to the lack of results. In fact, Republicans are already setting the stage to blame the Democrats if the situation in Iraq does not improve.

John McCain has been hinting that Republicans will blame Democrats for the failure; yet they are reluctant to blame the White House- the administration actually responsible for planning, launching, and executing the whole thing.

But this is the gamble that the Democrats are in with their effort to pass symbolic legislation to say they do not support the current troop increase, and with their threats to cut funding for the war in Iraq. And I am not completely clear at this point if they mean cutting funding for the entire war or just the increase. Either way, it could still lead to problems for the Democrats down the road.

The Republicans have brilliantly set things up to be a win-lose situation for their Party, and a lose-lose situation for the Democrats. Republicans are showing that even in the minority, they are still able to show their political genius. If only the Democrats were as effective at formulating strategy.

A better approach for the Democrats would have been to back off & let the Republicans be the conductors in their own train wreck. They (the Democrats) should have quietly stated their skepticism and opposition while giving the plan some time to take affect. But they should have pledged to do the proper oversight.
This way, if the plan fails, Republicans will have no one else to blame but themselves.

Now Conyers is even talking about taking steps to cut funding. This is like walking through a minefield for Democrats. Although the American people are not satisfied with the way things are going in Iraq, I do not believe that most people would support a complete pullout and a collapse of Iraq. The U.S. has basically created more problems in Iraq than it solved…. Now it is a situation where the U.S. has created the conditions that require it to stay, at least for 1-2 more years.

It also appears that the White House has decided that there will be no end to the war in Iraq under its watch. I knew this all along. This has been the case for quite some time now, and I have stated it repeatedly here. I knew that voters were mistaken to believe that after the mid-term elections, that the war in Iraq would somehow come to an end. Americans should have paid better attention in their civics classes. The executive is still the executive, and in this case, he has decided not to withdraw from Iraq. Bush & co. has decided that instead of fixing what they broke, they are going to pass it on to another administration.

What the Democrats should be focusing on now is preventing an even more disastrous war- a war with Iran, or some other country. But Iran appears to be the focal point for the Worlds Police for at the moment. Preventing a war with Iran should be the top priority for Democrats right now. THAT should be part of any resolution that they pass if they want to go down that road. For one thing, the U.S. doesn’t have troops committed to Iran yet (that we know of publicly). Therefore, making it difficult for the President in that case would not put U.S. troops at risk.

Democrats need to get on the same page with their approach….and they need to have an approach that works. Let’s see some hearings on Iraq, how the U.S. was fraudulently led there in the first place, the misuse of intelligence, the lying to the American public, etc.

Let’s have some hearings on possible impeachment of the Vice President for misusing Classified information and putting a Federal employee at risk for personal partisan political purposes.

Let’s have some hearings to stop the war with Iran before it starts. Protests are fine, but I have never been a big fan of such action. They were somewhat effective in the 1960’s and fit the time. However, even then, the real work that created change went on behind the scenes, with the drafting of legislation and in making court challenges and using other procedures that really made change happen. Protests today are for the most part a waste of energy, resources, and time. It’s now time to actually get things done, now that anti-war protesters have made their voices heard in the streets of Washington D.C.

So far, I have been disappointed with the lack of speed and determination the Democrats have shown regarding hearings. There are several dozen investigations that need to be conducted, due to the level of corruption displayed by Bush & Co. Therefore, Democrats have no time to twiddle their thumbs. They concentrated so much on the first 100 hours that they forgot to plan for what would come afterwards.

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