Friday, September 15, 2006

Framing the Iraq war debate

Posted by Craig Westover | 9:38 AM |  

The David Brooks column reprinted in today’s Pioneer Press (link not available) succinctly frames the Iraq war debate.

Brooks noted that the President holds “inviolate” principles and quoted Bush as saying, “People want you to change. It’s tactics that shift, but the strategic vision has not, and will not shift.” Brooks’ observation --
“And the sad truth is, there has been a gap between Bush’s visions and the means his administration has devoted to realize them. And when tactics do not adjust to fit the strategy, then the strategy eventually gets diminished to fit he tactics.”
So what do we have? In the beginning, both Democrats and Republicans signed on to a vision and a strategy for combating the war on terror that included invading Iraq. Whatever progress is being made, considerable or insignificant as it might be, it’s fair to say public expectations of success (mission accomplished) have not been met.

In that climate, Democrats are proposing exactly what Brooks fears. Their plan is scale back the strategy. It’s an admission that they held no “inviolate” principles going into the conflict. Their support was a matter of political expediency. A shallow attempt to be included in the post 9/11 fervor. Meanwhile, Republicans are rubber-stamping every decision without necessarily giving each the consideration it deserves.

My questions for Amy Klobuchar and Patty Wetterling are, what are the “inviolate principles” that you would fight for? Obviously they are not the same as the president’s. Is the vision and objectives that Democrats supported at the onset of the war no longer valid? If they cannot answer those questions, then they are not people one would want defending the country.

Republicans don’t get off the hook. My questions for Mark Kennedy and Michele Bachman are, when does loyalty to party and president demand that you question the tactics used to implement a strategy and achieve an objective in which you believe? How would you exercise your congressional responsibility to influence tactical changes in the Iraq war? If they cannot answer those questions, they cannot be trusted to oversee military actions.