Sunday, November 20, 2005

Which way to the exit strategy?

All we have heard as citizens’ asking for a plan to end the Iraq war is that, “we will stay the course.” That is the answer you expect from a six year old when you ask when he will be ready to leave and he answers, “When I am ready to leave.” The same as if you were to ask Bluto in animal house when he will graduate and he might say, “When I graduate.”
President Bush says he will rely on the generals for an exit strategy. But when General Shinseki warned of the high number of troops needed he was forced to retire, and Paul Wolfowitz said he was, “wildly off the mark.” General Tommy Franks has all but admitted there was no plan past taking Baghdad. General / Secretary Colin Powell has said there was no meeting to discuss the invasion of Iraq. What took days for the media to exploit after hurricane Katrina has taken one member of our elected Congress two years to say; this administration and this president are out of touch with the concerns of the American people. Conservative Republicans, including my Senator, Rick Santorum, are running away from W as fast as they can, without a plan of their own.
Since public opinion often precedes the voice of Congress, many citizens of both political parties who opposed and supported the war, should be grateful to Congressman John Murtha who recently, reasonably, and emotionally, called for an exit strategy. Instead of welcoming the debate out of respect for our soldiers, the president and his administration immediately swift boated the Congressman. Despite Mr. Murtha’s decorated military service we hear accusations like, “he is like Michael Moore”, “he wants to cut and run”, “he is comforting the enemy”, “he is putting our troops in harm’s way”, and “he is not brave.”
Why don’t we ever hear a specific plan from the President? And further, why won’t Congress stop all business until they have one. Instead the President and Mr. Cheney attack Mr. Murtha and for even suggesting the debate. Having said that, we all can agree that the Democratic Party has not aggressively promoted a specific strategy for leaving Iraq. They are too busy using the flawed intelligence argument to set up their 2006 mid-term campaigns. That argument is over. It was revisited by several commissions and you can draw your own conclusions. But the fact remains people are dying, being blinded, dismembered, and displaced, and our government is not working together to bring it to an end. The President could address the Congress, admit his mistakes, and work with them toward an expedient and safe resolution. Instead he has gone to South America and to Asia and attacked anyone who disagrees with his lack of policy. This has been echoed in the administration, by other pundits, loyal Congressman, and right wing talk radio. While members of the left bring up the past to let us know ad nauseam they do not agree with this war or this President.
We have a leader who will not lead, and a Congress that is too divided and self centered to force his hand. Shame on all of them. A victim of injustice once said, “Can’t we all just get along?” Mr. President and members of Congress, CAN YOU?
The public can not be ignored and we can not be swift boated. We should continue to push the president and the congress for answers and a quick and reasonable end to this war. We should call, email, and write Congressman Murtha and thank him for bringing the resolution of this war and the safety of our soldiers to the forefront of our national discussion. We should do the same to push our own elected officials. This seems appropriate for the safety our soldiers, the concerns of their families and the future of the Iraqi people.
We must be the leaders we do not have.

No comments: