Monday, April 30, 2007
If President Bush's veto is not challenged tomorrow, thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of US troops are certain to perish
Monday April 30, 2007
"......Not only is Bush weak, but so is his standing with the troops. Since he announced the surge, the US death toll has remained steady at around three a day, while the situation on the ground has deteriorated and the Iraqi government has disintegrated. Last month came the debacle at Walter Reed hospital, where wounded veterans testified to lying in rooms infested with mice and cockroaches, with mould on the walls......
And so the world Bush occupies - where the war is justified, conditions on the ground are improving, and democracy in the Middle East will flourish - keeps getting smaller. Even those he cast as heroes no longer wish to share the stage with him.
All of this provides ample space for the Democrats to establish an alternative narrative for both supporting the troops and stopping the war. One that says the best way to support them is to remove them from a war they cannot win, and return them home where they will be cared for. An opportunity to represent the people who elected them, implement their mandate, and in so doing fulfil their constitutional duty to check and then balance executive power.
Like most acts of principle, making this move carries significant political risk. But not making it carries the certainty of thousands more dead Iraqis and hundreds more dead soldiers. A CBS-New York Times poll shows only 36% back withholding funds if the president uses his veto. That is where leadership comes in: the Democrats have yet to prove their ability to win people over to a course of action they believe is both justified and necessary. Who knows how many people would support them if they made the case for it. Who knows how many would have opposed the war if they'd been asked. The war is over. To postpone withdrawal is simply to prolong the agony.
Yet it seems the Democrats are set to cave in on their demand of setting a timetable, agreeing instead to "non-binding benchmarks" on the Iraqi government, an impotent body that lacks authority and legitimacy. That would not be compromise but capitulation......"