To assert that the Democrats alone are responsible for what is now perceived by many as wars that cannot be won would be to suggest we were winning before the Democrats took the majority. We weren't winning before the Democrats took the majority. By "wars" I mean both areas of combat — Iraq and the oft forgotten, still raging Afghanistan.
The Democrats having won the majority has had the net result of zero. Military leaders — their assessments and advice — have been summarily dismissed with alarming frequency throughout the wars. As it stands now, more servicemembers than not question the validity and viability of the war and the administration's handling of it. No one is listening to the servicemember or the servicemembers' leaders. This has not changed with the advent of the Democrats’ majority.
While we can go on and on about what might be or what might have been, it is far better for all involved to look at what has actually been and what is actually going on. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans appear to be doing this and both are suggesting band-aids for the large, gaping wounds they're just sure the other side caused.
Either they (politicians) don't believe a large, gaping wound can get much worse in short order or they don't care if it does (meaning the large, gaping wound is not, in fact, their concern). Either way, the loss is life — not their lives — and more is lost as they banter back and forth about non-issues.
The stability and future of American foreign policy rests solely on the Bush administration. Nothing is stopping Bush from taking the bulls by the horn, sitting down with Iraqi leaders (in Iraq) and sticking with it until a deal is hammered out once and for all. Why isn't he doing this?
As much as we'd all like to think those we voted for are acting in our best interests, it's worth noting the goings-on behind this foot-dragging blame game. Neither side has focused on the troops in a way that brings about any good for the troops. Those in combat are without a well-defined mission and are dying and being wounded for it. Those returning are wounded in a myriad of ways, and the system in place to take care of them is sorely lacking on every level.
The Republicans want the Democrats to say they support the troops. The Democrats want the Republicans to bring the troops home. Neither is doing anything about the welfare of the troops themselves – from listening to their leadership to providing for their life-long care and rehabilitation.
No one is doing anything! There’s more yak, yak, yak in Washington, D.C. than there is at the corner coffee shop of Middletown America. It's shameless, degrading, and useless.
Actions speak louder than words. What are the actions? How do they match up with what has been said? Bush said his goal was relative peace and stability in the region – and yet he is not there making it happen. Why is he still on U.S. soil when that is not where the conflicts are, when that is not where our servicemembers are dying, when that is not where the people are that need be spoken with in order to bring peace and stability to the region?
Conversely, if the Democrats were all that hot on getting this wrapped up, why are they not actually doing so? The Democrats remind me of the parent who warns their child about what will happen if they don't stop jumping on the furniture instead of just taking the child off the furniture. Verbally disapproving of the troop surge? How is that different from "Johnny, stop jumping on the couch!" It isn't – Johnny is still jumping. Non-binding resolution? Oh look, Johnny is still jumping – duh – and he will continue to jump until the parent grows a couple and makes Johnny stop. So far, the parent is still sitting at the kitchen table drinking their coffee and hollering out completely useless commands from afar.
Both sides blame the other for lack of action and all this accomplishes is shifting our focus from what one isn't doing to what the other isn't doing. Wake up America; neither side is doing a damned thing.
A troop surge is fundamentally no different than a non-binding resolution because neither of these things will accomplish what is said to be the goal of either side – bringing peace and stability to the region or bringing the troops home.
What is the goal in Iraq and Afghanistan? If you say anything other than direct quotes from the administration, you're speculating. If you can't say, it's because there have been no quotes to take directly from the administration. The same can be said of the Democrats' goals. What the hell are the goals?
As far as I can tell, the Republicans' goal is to keep this war going no matter what the cost – on all levels. The reason? So Bush and his administration can save face. Jeezy creezy, that could take decades if it ever even happens. If it's something other than a world record-setting face-saving contest, then what the hell is it? Freedom, peace, stability? Judging by the actions, it sure hasn't looked like it since the capture of Saddam Hussein. We've not caught Osama bin Laden, and the troops on the ground do not currently have the mission of capturing him, so what's the goal there?
The Democrats' goal appears to be to verbally harass the administration until they cave in and bring the troops home. This is no more going to happen than Johnny coming off the couch the first time or third time he's told. Johnny knows he's got two or three free chances to jump before his parent even bothers to stand up from the table, maybe more before the parent drags themselves over to the couch. Even then, dear Democrats, are you absolutely sure you even care about the condition of the couch or what could happen if Johnny falls? Judging by your actions, it sure hasn't looked like it so far.
The obligatory tossing about of terms like "freedom," "liberty," and "peace" sounds good on paper and in speeches, but what has actually been done by this administration and the Democrats who won the majority to bring about the meanings of these very words?
Baghdad is not the whole of Iraq. Not one home the troops have stormed, are storming, or will storm belongs to the Iraqi leaders who must now agree to sit down to formal negotiations with the United States or have their war-ravaged country dumped squarely in their non-acting laps. Who has told them to put up or shut up? No one. Who has given them a deadline to act else they'll have no one acting on their behalf? No one.
The wimpy wisps of "we don't approve" are no less wimpy in writing or when propped up by the words "non-binding resolution." It's worthless, meaningless, and an unbelievable waste of time. Not one Democrat can say, "This servicemember's life was saved as the result of this action," thus it's crap.
The Democrats and Republicans both have failed miserably. When will the constituents of both sides hold their side's feet to the fire and tell them to get moving? The only actions and the only ones doing anything are the servicemembers themselves. Remember the troops? They’re the people both Democrats and Republicans focus on when their efforts to focus on the screw-ups of their opposition fail. Lots of shifting and lots of refocusing, and still nothing has been accomplished.
While both Democrats and Republicans come to the almighty defense of their leaders, the leaders themselves are doing nothing — but isn't it quaint how the one thing they have managed to accomplish is getting their constituents mad at the other side? Isn’t it interesting how both sides can keep their constituents occupied with what the other side isn't doing — thus shining the light away from what they themselves aren't doing?
Take stock of what your elected leader has done. What the other guys have or have not done will still be there while you do this; just take a moment to look at what your side has accomplished.
Afghanistan was invaded, putting bin Laden on the run — and then what happened?
Saddam Hussein was captured and his regime toppled — and then what happened?
The Democrats took the majority — and then what happened?
The only answer can answer all three questions: lives were lost and are being lost while countless mouths keep right on eking hot air. Wars have been better fought – and won – with less gum flapping between groups of kids on the playground.
The wars will be won when there is peace and stability in the areas. We will have to settle for relative peace because our definition is much different from those who actually live in Iraq and Afghanistan (per women's rights, the safety of children, freedom of religion, etc). There may be things going on we don't think are peaceful, but that figure in to the Iraqi or Afghanistan definition.
It would also be nice if bin Laden were quite literally hanging around. Can we get an update – anybody?
How to get to a state of relative peace seems clear to me. I don't see the problem. I do see a problem. Those in the position to decide and do something are so focused on the other guy (Democrats and Republicans), they've all but forgotten about the enemy, our allies, and our troops.
The American system is set up to facilitate action with checks and balances in place to keep any one person/party from sneaking anything by without notice (assuming both sides thoroughly read the paperwork involved). Using this system of checks and balances as a reason for things moving slowly or not at all (as both sides have done — for and against each other and themselves) is an abuse of the system.
If the Democrats really meant business, our troops would be on their way home. If the Republicans really meant business, we would already be engaged in talks with the Iraqi leadership. Right now, the latter is come-and-go whenever dueling date books line up just right with the phases of the moon.
There is an ulterior motive on both sides. Be it overt (stay there till we strike it rich or some such crap) or covert (passive-aggressively harassing the opposing party until they cave), those involved are not representing their constituents (to include the troops on the ground) one damned bit.
I have yet to meet or hear from any person in support of this war who is also in support of staying the course with no definition of the course itself. Is it a golf course, an obstacle course, math course? What the hell is "the course"? It sounds like doublespeak for "I have no idea what to do next and/or instead, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to admit it."
The idea that opposing anything the administration suggests is the way to go is equally ludicrous. Remembering that nothing is happening, opposing it is just stupid. The Republicans and the Democrats both couldn't be more paralyzed by their collective, precedent-setting, passive-aggressive showdown. In light of the stalemates created both on the Hill and in the combat areas, there would appear to be no alternative to smart bombs.
The first and smartest bomb would contain marijuana and it would be exploded over all combat areas throughout the world – perhaps to include some key points in the United States where violence rules many a child's day. These explosions should then be followed by humanitarian drops of substantial snack packets. Laugh or sneer, no one can tell me this wouldn't bring the conflicts to an abrupt halt and throw open the gates to communication and peaceful negotiation. The only drawback would be the number of children willing to attend and believe anything said in a D.A.R.E. presentation.
The second bomb would create an explosion of performance-enhancing pharmaceuticals over the capitol. The only drawback would be the number of Washington monuments erected shortly thereafter.
Do I hear any other ideas? No? All right then; bombs away already.