They have neither the will nor the political capital to do anything meaningful to fulfill their agenda. They will not defund the troops. (third rail, anyone?) They cannot do that and hope to have a viable candidacy for President in 19 months. And so they fall back to non-binding resolutions that do little more than waste everyone's time. They make no difference whatever if they are non-binding, and are therefore utterly devoid of any meaning larger than present political expedience.
General Petraus stated in no uncertain terms that this sort of behaviour from Congress provided aid and comfort to our enemies. And it does. These enemies are watchful, perceptive people. They will see our politicos will failing in this war, and they will work harder as a result, perceiving that they are winning. Petraus was right, but that's not really a surprise. He was and is a Soldier, not a politician. A Soldier understands the ruthlessness required to win any conflict. A politician may know it, but he will never acknowledge that as necessary when it would put him down in the polls. We cannot allow our foreign policy to be run by public opinion and 535 armchair generals.
Congress confirmed Petraus without objection, unanimously. This would, normally, mean they had faith in him to do the mission, right?
They'll send him over, but they're going to their best to see to it that he fails. "Best" of course, means they'll bicker about the Troop Increase and pass non-binding resolutions that mean nothing, and in the end simply run spin for the polls.
It was interesting to me, to watch when the President revealed his surge plan. A sea change followed it that was a little shocking, even to me. Within hours, the whole political establishment, Democrat and Republican alike, decided that the very thing they'd been calling for, IE, increased troop presence, was exactly the thing they couldn't allow. And why not? Because Bush said it was his plan, and ergo, bad for their poll numbers.
It's a sad commentary, I think. And it is unfortunate that the people who lived through Vietnam did not learn the right lessons. Among those lessons are two that are vital to today's conflict:
- You cannot fight a war "kinda-sorta." Either you fight it, or you don't. Pick one, not both.
- Be sure you're on the right side. The side of increased liberty is the right side, as in Iraq. Differentiated from Vietnam, when were fighting for colonialism first, and the result of our own folly in the communists second.
When, someday, we have a refurbished set of politicos, perhaps they will be of my generation, and perhaps, if we are fortunate, they will apply the lessons that our predecessors have clearly failed to learn.
"Those who fail to learn History are doomed to repeat it. Those who fail to learn history correctly--Why, they are simply doomed."~Achem Dro'hm; The Illusion of Historical Fact, CY 4971