Our troops’ safety and well-being in Iraq has now been subjugated to partisan politics.
On March 23, the House of Representatives, by a breathtakingly narrow margin of six votes, passed an Aug. 31, 2008 pullout date for Iraq. The Senate is currently debating a bill along similar lines.
The problem is that this timetable is part of a supplemental funding package for the troops in Iraq. Billions of dollars in necessary aid for troops in Iraq now depends upon President Bush’s approval of the timetable.
Without that funding, the troops will run out of money within a month and begin to face hardships such as fewer reinforcements and longer tours of duty.
The House knows very well that the President will never sign such a bill, and Bush himself publicly vowed on the day the bill was passed that he would veto it. The bill is a partisan move, trying to tie President Bush’s hands by threatening the well being of America’s troops.
Such partisan manipulation should have no place in politics, no matter how strong the disagreement between Bush and Congress, because it uses as pawns troops who are simply doing their jobs and who have had no part to play in the development of strategy in Iraq.
Both sides of the war issue have promised to respect and support the troops. With the passing of this bill, the House has reneged on that vow and placed their agenda for Iraq above the safety of soldiers whose lives are already stressed and endangered.
If Congress wants to fight Bush on his war strategy, they need to do it in a way that does not interfere with the job of the soldiers who are in Iraq. Their quarrel is with Bush and his strategy, and they need to leave the troops out of the dispute.
Congress should immediately remove the timetable from the supplemental funding and find another way to send a message to President Bush. Exacerbating the conflict in Iraq by compromising the troops’ ability to fight will only endanger more of the lives Congress claims it wants to save.
“You fasten the triggers / For the others to fire / Then you set back and watch / When the death count gets higher / You hide in your mansion / As young people’s blood / Flows out of their bodies / And is buried in the mud.”
I have never truly understood the lyrics to the song “Masters of War” by Bob Dylan until now.
Perhaps that was because it was about the Vietnam War, and I did not grow up in those tumultuous times. However, when I think about the current war in Iraq, I can’t help but feel as though the lyrics are speaking to the heart of our problems there.
Here we are four years later: Four years of pain. Four years of loss. Four years of mothers and fathers having to bury their own sons and daughters. Four years is too many.
It’s time to put an end to the heartbreaking news stories littering our media. We as a nation must rise up and say no more, and that it is time for our brave young soldiers to return home to their loved ones.
I was never a supporter of this war, and as the death count keeps rising and the problems keep mounting, my feelings of remorse for it have become stronger.
That being said, I do not propose that we pull out of Iraq right away. The Senate and the House have just proposed two new bills that offer funding for the troops but require a strict deadline of mid 2008 for evacuation of Iraq.
It comes as no surprise that President Bush is adamantly against this time frame and will veto the bill right away.
This shouldn’t happen.
For the past four years, Congress has gone along with this war, that has had little support from the United Nations, and now Bush is going to shoot it down.
I see the deadline as a good opportunity to find middle ground between those who want to stay the course in Iraq and those who want immediate removal.
It would be in President Bush’s best interest to listen to Congress who are speaking for the people. Too many lives are at stake here to be held in the palm of any one man’s hand.