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Iraq Rhetoric Instead of Action is Killing U.S. Troops and Iraqi Civilians July 1, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in bush administration, congress, iraq, politics, public opinion.
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The Oklahoma City bombing was the worst terrorist attack in American history up until 9/11. Killing 168 people, a shocked nation mourned the loss and remained stunned over the evil necessary for such an attack to occur.

That same evil has manifested itself in Iraq this morning, as another domestic terrorist attack in a crowded Baghdad market killed 62 people and wounded 114 others. These 62 Iraqis will be added to a civilian death toll whose low estimate is currently at 38,764 dead. Dozens of unnecessary deaths is just another day in a country that feels unsafe walking city streets or waiting in line at checkpoints.

Congress continues to “debate” whether American troops should remain in Iraq. President Bush insists we will remain until the “job is done”, which continues to look increasingly unlikely. The majority of Democrats insist on a phased withdrawal, a withdrawal timeline or an immediate end to American troops in Iraq. Republicans are combating the Democratic strategy with electoral rhetoric like “cut and run,” but isn’t it time sound bites are traded in for a substantive conversation about why our troops should remain?

We can no longer trust Bush on Iraq. We have had “mission accomplished” and four years worth of guarantees that the country is headed in the right direction. This has been meet with increased violence and increased hopelessness in the country. I strongly support a phased withdrawal and non-binding timeline for Iraq, but I am less sure about an immediate withdrawal for American troops.

When considering these various withdrawl plans, it is imperative that Congress put aside politics and find answers to the following:

  • Will the deaths of more U.S. troops make an impact on the situation in Iraq?
  • Will Iraqi civilian deaths increase or diminish once American troops exit Iraq or remain in much smaller numbers?
  • Does a continued American presence give the Iraqi government the force it needs to succeed or does it hinder the government’s ability to be seen as an institution separate from the U.S.?
  • Is an American withdrawal a win for insurgents in Iraq or will it undermine their validity and lose favor in the eyes of most Iraqis?
  • Will terrorists thrive in Iraq without American troops and if so, will these terrorists be a threat to the United States?

For all the debate among Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill, on Fox News and in the New York Times, I rarely hear any consideration of these questions.

My criticism for Democrats: Are we considering withdrawal plans because of increased American troop deaths or because we have considered all the questions above? In my opinion, all of these questions hold equal weight in whether we should consider withdrawing significant numbers of American troops.

My criticism for Republicans: We have been hearing victory is near for four years. Are we avoiding withdrawal in Iraq because it is admitting the war was a mistake or because you truly believe we can win the war? Do you believe we should have stayed in Vietnam longer… would that have helped us achieve our objectives?

The war was a mistake… as far as I’m concerned that debate is over among Americans. It is now a lose-lose proposition… but which “lose” is worse? We must decide what the next step is instead of blindly “staying the course”. Congress must begin to address the important questions about Iraq instead of using rhetoric and politics to win support or keep face. Congressional leaders, Democrat or Republican, using rhetoric instead of substance should be condemned for patronizing Americans and choosing politics over policy in Iraq. Americans want a plan and a solution.

Here’s what Americans said in a June 20 Pew Poll:

  • 52 percent want a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal; 42 percent oppose such a measure
  • 34 percent say Democrats have better judgement on Iraq; 28 percent say Republicans; 24 percent say both or neither
  • 17 percent have heard “a lot” of debate or Iraq in Congress; 44 percent have heard “a little” debate and 38 percent have heard “nothing at all”

It appears the American people believe Congress has been ignoring the financial and political drain that is Iraq in favor of other issues like same-sex marriage and flag burning. Republicans ignoring Iraq in favor of these social issues should be ashamed of their lack of concern for American troops’ lives. Force Congress to have true debates about Iraqi policy.

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