War and…

 You just need to look at the polls to know that Americans don’t want our military to be in Iraq. So, the Senate tries to show that they are trying to do something to change things, but it all seems so half-hearted.

Case in point (and bullet points come from a NY Times article):

1.  Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, ordered the rare overnight session to draw attention to the Democratic efforts to change course in Iraq. But Mr. Reid did not use his full power to force senators to attend — no lawmakers, for example, were brought back to the chamber by the sergeant-at-arms — and 40 senators did not record their presence during a 5 a.m. attendance check.

2.  [John McCain] and other Republicans challenged the wisdom of the [Democratic] withdrawal plan, saying it would short-circuit an escalation of military forces before the buildup had sufficient time to work, hand terrorist forces a victory, damage the nation’s reputation and leave Iraq in chaos.

3.  The alternatives include a proposal to enact into law the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group; another to rescind the initial 2002 authorization for the war; and a new proposal by Mr. Lugar and Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia, to order the president to develop a new war strategy by October.

All sides in this debate are accusing the other side of “playing politics” (which is a hollow and, let’s be frank, stupid thing to say because it’s their job is to play politics).  But in these attempts to change our military involement in Iraq a few things are clear:

1. Republicans are more interested in protecting Bush’s “legacy” by not changing anything in his Iraq policy — unless he wants to change things.

2.  Democrats have not articulated a plan that fits into a sound bite that people can get behind (Sorry, but even though people do somewhat pay attention, they are so conditioned by bumpersticker slogans that one really needs to frame complex issues simply before people start to pay attention.  The Right knows this, and have used their marketing campaigns to bring attention to their pet causes — like “The War on Christmas,” “Death Taxes,” and “The Rights of the Unborn.”)

3.  An effective tactic in changing things in Iraq could be first to take power away from Bush by rescinding the authorization for the war Congress granted him in 2002 while asking Iraqis to vote on what they want in terms of our involvement in the civil conflict there (which is what John Kerry is making a case for — well, the last point really).

(Big sigh)

 –PK

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