Voters across the country who hoped that turning Congress over to the Democrats would change the dire situation in Iraq should be disappointed.
The American electorate did not flip control of both the House and Senate on a whim. The November elections were a sweeping repudiation of a war waged on false pretenses that has gotten progressively worse in the past four years. The American public is tired of watching Iraq grow more unstable at a cost of 100 American lives each month.
So when President Bush announced his long-awaited “new way forward” in Iraq and it turned out to be more of the old way - adding more than 20,000 troops to an existing force of 140,000 - it seemed to be a perfect opportunity for our new Congress to show the voters that the old days of blindly following the president were over. It seemed a perfect time for action.
Instead, all we got was talk.
The Senate and House spent a week arguing about a non-binding resolution opposing President Bush’s troop surge. It passed in the House and failed in the Senate, and the end result is... nothing. President Bush said he would ignore the resolution before the debate even got started. It’s non-binding, meaning it doesn’t force anyone to do anything, so the main purpose was to get legislators on record about a troop surge that most military commanders say isn’t going to affect the situation in Iraq in any major way.
We think that week would have been better spent talking about things that could actually affect change. How about a BINDING resolution? How about getting to work on a plan better than Bush’s? If Congress had done that, they might have deserved the week’s vacation they took after the resolution debate.
When the American people voted to turn over Congressional seats by the dozens to the Democrats, they did so with different motivations. Some wanted to stay in Iraq but with a new plan for gaining control of the situation there. Some wanted the funding for the war cut off. We can’t believe anyone cast their ballot hoping for talk, talk, talk.
The Democrats’ “First 100 Hours” agenda was exciting and productive. But Iraq is where the people want change. Get to it.