To the point week of 1/11/07

21

IT TOOK LESS THAN two weeks for our federal government to scrap its theory of “cooperation and respect” that both sides of the aisle have been preaching since the November elections.

With a Republican president in his final two years in office; and now a Democratically-controlled Senate and House for at least the next two years; it didn’t take long for both sides to begin posturing about the importance of working together for the common good.

Like I said, that lasted about 10 days.

Nancy Pelosi hasn’t been in the Speaker’s chair for a month, and she’s already being blasted as too liberal and inexperienced. When you consider that she’s third in line for the presidency, she is now the highest ranking female government official in the history of our country, so perhaps her record makes her fair game for conservatives.

But if there is going to be a discussion, it needs to be centered on the “common good”, not something with an eye toward more power and more fame two years from now.

The president has now called for an additional 20,000 American troops to be sent to Iraq. He says that they are necessary in order to “keep the peace” – as if there has been any peace for the past 4 1/2 years.

Democrats now scream that such a plan will never happen under their watch; with some Republican lawmakers joining them in calls to bring our troops – all of them – home as soon as possible.

Hard line Republicans are sticking with the president; while Democrats are seeing their chance to erode the country’s confidence in its leadership even more.

No one wants to see 20,000 more Americans go to Iraq, but if I’m an American soldier in Iraq, I’d sure like to think that this government is doing everything it can to keep me safe and get me out of there as soon as they can.

Iraq is a mess, and it has been for more than four years now. Catching Saddam Hussein didn’t help. Trying Saddam Hussein didn’t help.

Apparently, killing Saddam Hussein didn’t help, either.

So now our leadership – agree with them or not – is laying out a new strategy for the war. President Bush was expected to address the nation last night (Wednesday), but – really – who listens to the president speak anymore?

Most of America will find another cable channel or a DVD to watch, complaining that the president preempted their favorite show.

But what he’s talking about is real stuff with deadly consequences. This isn’t CSI, where when the cameras stop rolling, the people get up off the floor and move on to their next job.

These are real American citizens who are engaged in this battle. Their lives are at stake each and everyday, and it’s real. No one knows what car might be filled with explosives; what person might be wearing a bomb; what building might be ambushed.

There simply is no identifiable enemy, so our troops are forced to continue to simply “put out fires” whenever they spring up.

All of this is happening in an atmosphere of political maneuvering by both political parties.

This is no time to gain leverage for the next election, but it is truly time for our leadership to have open and non-partisan discussions on how to get our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan safely without leaving a trail of blood and destruction in our wake.

That would truly be for the “common good”.