Friday, February 16, 2007

Hot Air and Other Thoughts (aka Venting My Spleen)

As the House of Representatives finishes up it's debate on the non-binding resolution that is expected to be voted on today, one word comes to mind:


I've listened to snippets of the speechifying and all I can say is that both sides seem to have big chips on their shoulders. The pro-war people (mostly Republicans) are basically saying a vote for the resolution is a vote for al Queda. Those who are anti-war (mostly Democrats) are using the time tell us all how stupid the President was and is and reminding us that the voters sent a message back in November.

Frankly, I'm tired of hearing all the certainties on both sides. It would be worthwhile to hear one lawmaker who isn't sure of what to do in this situation instead of providing easy answers that gives the rabid supporters of both camps good vibes.

I don't know what we should do in light of Iraq. Some say we should stay, but I don't know if this "surge" is going to do anything. Some others say we should leave, but then I don't know if that is a good idea either. The fact is, none of know what could happen in Iraq. We might have a good guess, but we don't know.

There are good reasons for both staying and going, but I would like to have our folks in DC be a bit less arrogant and more humble about this issue. Let's stop placing blame and start finding a way to solve this issue.

The other thing stuck in my craw is all the talk about how wonderful it is to have a "debate" about Iraq as if we haven't been allowed to talk about this issue since the war started. People have been sharing their opinions for years and that includes those on the Hill. What hasn't happened on the Hill is one of the second branch of government's duties: congressional oversight. That is what the prior GOP-controlled Congress failed to do.

Another thing that has bothered me is this. There is the old saying that goes, "sucess has many parents, but failure is an orphan." How true that is when it comes to Iraq. When the war started, a lot of the offical punditry was pro-war. For instance, Andrew Sullivan was basically slobbering over the president and being the Administration's number one cheerleader, as was Tom Friedman. Now, I'm not like some who want to fire pundits who got it wrong, but part of what bugs me that in many ways these journalists (and yes, most of them are journalists) kind of ran away from their duties. I've read some of Sully's entries from 2003 and it's interesting how much he had drunk the Kool-aid. He lavished extreme praise on the effort and heaped scorn on those who went against the war. Again, I'm not for some kind of witch hunt, but I do hold him somewhat responsible for not at least asking some questions about war. Sullivan talks a lot these days about a "conservatism of doubt" as opposed to a "conservatism of faith." What gets my blood boiling is that he failed to live up to his own beliefs. He never questioned if Iraq was wise, or if it was really tied to the real objective of getting binLaden. Sully and other pundits hold some sway over public opinion, so why weren't they more skeptical? You didn't have to be a Bush-hater to have some honest concerns.


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