Tuesday, January 09, 2007

What Would You Have Done?
Democrats And Iraq.

I've been having a discussion over at Green Mountain Daily for the last few days. One of the joys of being a self-described "centrist" is that you find yourself battling with both left AND right.

A blogger with the handle "Monday Morning Clacker" had written an essay blaming the Democrats in Congress for backing off on their opposition to the war. ("Clacker" is of Republican Sympathy, and his point is, Democrats were elected to stop the war; but now that they are in power they are finding it harder to govern than it was to criticize.)

Quite a few people, including Rip and Read, pointed out that, it was only Congress's 2nd day, after all. And, by the third day, came a deluge of articles that are already still pouring in. Democrats are on the move.

Today, we see that:

In a blunt challenge to President Bush, the leader of the Senate's new Democratic majority said Monday he will ``look at everything'' within his power to wind down the war in Iraq, short of cutting off funding for troops already deployed.

From: The Manchester Guardian: Democrats May Deny Funds for Surge

In the debate, I placed the blame for Iraq firmly at the feet of the Bush Administration. But "Clacker" had different ideas, writing:

I'm sorry... (0.00 / 0)
What percentage of the Democratic Party voted to give the President authority to go to war back in 2003?
Its Washington's War. Bush started it. The Congress went along for the ride. They all will suffer for it. And should.

And, of course, I had to answer. I had to remember John Kerry who was against the war before he was for it before he was against it, or some damn thing.

I responded this way:

It's tough to argue with you there, but I will. (0.00 / 0)
I was, and still am, disappointed that the Democratic Party didn't show more courage in opposing the war.
Of course, the argument can be made that the war Democrats THOUGHT they were voting for- one to root out WMD- and the war they actually got were very different.

Still...given the Republican Party's well known tolerance and respect for honest dissent and willingness to play fair when it comes to opposing views, the options open to Democrats were somewhat limited at the time.

( I was just reminded today about this Republican legacy of openness as I listened to a speech by a Burlington businessman, and an acquaintance, who recounted how his father, a State Department Employee, had been pushed out of his job and rendered unemployable for TEN YEARS by a well known Republican named Joe McCarthy. )

Given the fever pitch to which the American people had been wound by the lies and propaganda of the Bush administration, there was little chance of being able to maintain a viable opposition party AND oppose the war in 2003.

It's a thorny moral problem: I'd LIKE to think that I would have handled it differently...but I'm not so sure I would have let Karl Rove shoot me in the back, either. I'd be more interested in staying in office and waiting for a chance to bring the madness to an end.

And with Reid and Pelosi pushing hard now against Bush, that answer seems somewhat justified. But it still doesn't sit quite right, I must admit.

What would you do?

PS-The whole exchange - including another good debate between J.D. Ryan and "Clacker" can be found at: http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=807

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