Thursday, February 15, 2007

Why Refusing to Fund the War in Iraq *is* Supporting the Troops

It has been clear for a long time that the Republican spin (read: lie) on the Democrats seeking to end the War in Iraq by cutting the funding will be that the Democrats aren't "supporting our troops." What a complete load of bullshit. Let's think about this for a second.

Legally, if you get drunk in a bar and then hit someone with your car, the bartender can be held responsible for providing you with the alcohol that caused the impairment. By the same token, you can be considered an accessory to a crime for providing aid and materials to the person who committed the crime, even if you didn't know a crime was to be or had been committed. And we even have a term now for someone who helps someone else continue with self-destructive behavior, all the while believing him- or herself to be doing good: An enabler.

How is Congress any less responsible if they continue providing the means to pursue a failed policy? By funding the Iraq War, Congress is enabling the President to continue to fuck up Iraq, the wider Middle East, and get lots of Americans and Iraqis killed. The President may be the Commander-in-Chief, but nothing in the Constitution, unfortunately, can ensure he or she is a good one. The whole reason that the President is the ultimate commander of the military but Congress controls the military's funding and has the power to declare war is so there are some controls in place to keep idiots from running the country into the ground. There's no free pass for letting the President continue to fuck everything up because he's "the Commander-in-Chief."

If you keep handing your friend nails when he or she is then pounding them into his or her own foot, it isn't okay. You can't just say, "Well, it's his house we're building, and he's the decider, so whatever he does with the nails I'm handing him, it's none of my business." It is your business and you have to stop handing him the freakin' nails!

By the same token, if the another friend criticizes you for "not supporting" your friend because you stopped handing him nails, you'd immediately see what crap that was, because handing him more nails wasn't making things better, it was making things worse. In essence, the Republican argument is, "He can't finish the house if you don't keep handing him nails, so if you stop handing him nails, you're not supporting him." But if you can see that he isn't building a house with the nails you're providing but instead hurting himself with them, you have a responsibility to exercise some judgment and realize that the house ain't getting built whether you hand him more nails or not: he's only going to keep hurting himself.

The Republican argument is to say, in effect, that we can never question the judgment of the Commander-in-Chief, even if he is clearly incompetent (as he is). But that's not true. Nothing in the Constitution requires Congress to support an incompetent Commander-in-Chief. Just because someone has a power doesn't mean he or she is at all qualified to use it wisely.

If we see a mentally ill, delusional person about to do harm to him- or herself, we, not being delusional, have a responsibility to stop him or her. The Bush regime was clearly delusional about this conflict from the beginning to this moment. The Republicans are standing around watching Bush drive our car into an abutment over and over again, all the while throwing up their hands and saying, "He's the driver! It's wrong to question him!"

In this case, though, it's worse. Allowing Bush to get more of our troops killed through incompetence, by funding his delusional plans, is just as bad as giving him bullets to shoot them. If giving Bush bullets to shoot troops with would be "supporting the troops," by Republican standards, then funding the regime's continuing blundering into doom is, indeed, "supporting the troops." If, however, you believe, as does any sane person, that we would better "support our troops" by refusing to give Bush bullets to kill them with, then you must believe that by forcing Bush to end his failed expedition into Iraq through the power of the purse is, indeed, truly "supporting our troops."

Of course, the Republicans in Congress know this. Despite their condemnation of the Democratic efforts to cut the Iraq War's funding, Republicans really hope the Democrats will, indeed, end the war. Why? Because the Republicans don't want to run for office in 2008 against the backdrop of a disastrous war started by and supported by Republicans. If the Democrats do move forward to end the war, the Republicans can both cry to high heavens that the Democrats "didn't support our troops" and yet reap the benefits of not running against an unpopular war.

We can't let the Republicans get away with this sleight-of-hand. We can't let them displace the responsibility for the utter failure of Bush's Iraq "strategery" onto the Democrats. The only reason the person cleaning up the mess stinks is because of the person who made the mess in the first place. The Democrats have to keep pointing out, loud and clear, at every opportunity, that this is Bush's mess and that the Democrats had to end it in order to save our troops.

Congressional Republicans who don't support cutting the funding for the Iraq War are willing to let more of our troops die for their own political gain.

They know the best way to support the troops is to end the Iraq War. They just aren't willing to lose political points in order to save the lives of those they are responsible for.

When they say that Congress must fund the surge in order to "support the troops" they are lying, lying, lying. They know better.

They know as well as anyone else that all of Bush's attempts to turn the Iraq War around have been colossal failures and that this one will be too. But they're willing to lie about it in an attempt to shift the blame.

And they don't care how many troops die while they drag this out while trying to make the Democrats look bad while they clean up Bush's mess.

That's what Republicans mean when they say they "support the troops."


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