PORTRAIT OF THE CONGRESS AS A WRUNG HAND
"C is for Congress, not good enough for me."
Specialist Dan "the Man" Walker and friend brandish their Victory Fists while taking a breather on an Iraqi sofa during clearing ops in Baghdad, fall 2006
There is hardly such a thing as a war in which it makes no difference who wins.
They say on Capitol Hill if you don't like the bellwether, just wait a few minutes. It may be a congresswoman's prerogative to change her mind, but Thelma & Louise couldn't wait to take on Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 2002; though now that it's "George Bush's Iraq" they're worse than that guy in Memento with the perpetual short-term memory. Newspeak your mind, and the rest will follow.
We no longer support the war; we have never supported the war.
Big Brother, where art thou? 'O, there you are.
But just when it finally occurs to Iraqi leaders to start closing off their borders with Iran and Syria to staunch the constant influx of foreign illegals, President Bush's "first instinctual" is to "proposition a guest worker program for undocumented insurgence." What, no martyr left behind? Hmm, maybe not such a bad idea, really. Give us your poor, your tired, your befuddled masses yearning to eat hot lead from an AC-130 Spectre gunship...
Meanwhile back in Gotcha City, the World's Greatest Derivative Body spent three stemwinding days of debate over their unbinding nonsolution for Iraq. But really, what's to debate? Their firmness of purpose over the last four years has been about as resolute and binding as Army Lieutenant Watada's Oath of Allegiance. Ironically, one of my own New Year's resolutions (also nonbinding, mind you) was to quit being surprised by the utter uselessness of our elected profiles in discouragement.
But lest anyone forget, they support their tropes -- troops! They love the troops! Yay troops!
Unlikely as it seems, it turns out there is the occasional House Rep. with some actual timber in his member. "People don’t like losers," says Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, helping to explain the perpetually sour approval numbers of his colleagues. "But they like quitters even less." You know, I checked the latest Zogby poll and it turns out he's right. Here's the breakdown within the unpopularity vote:
- Lawyers -- 23%
- Losers -- 8%
- Lobbyists -- 12%
- Taxes -- 34%
- Hurricanes -- 19%
- Congress -- 38%
- Quitters -- 9%
- Lawyers who used to be in Congress but are now lobbyists -- 46%
- John Kerry -- 11%
Actually, losers and quitters are pretty much in a statistical dead heat, which is fitting due to the fact that losing and quitting more often than not leads to the same result. When Orwell said that "the quickest way of ending a war is to lose it," he just as easily could have substituted "the easiest way of losing a war is to quit it."
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), thatThe measure passed 246-182, with the complicity of 17 House Republicans. Ouch. That last part stings.
(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and
(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on Jan. 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.
So does this mean they do want us to succeed or they don't? Well hey, at least they're going to keep "supporting and protecting" us! Whew, that's a load off.
But did I miss something, or did 246 of our co-commanders-in-chief just preemptively censure a "troop surge" that has yet to even take effect? As my fellow Geronimo buddies used to say, too many Cochises, not enough Indians.
"This may become the first time in the history of the United States Congress that it has voted to send a new commander into battle and then voted to oppose his plan that is necessary to succeed in that battle." I'll allow that President Bush is no historian, but I'm pretty sure he's correct. If the Pelosi Bunch is so sure of their position, why did they not put their mouths where our money is and reject Gen. Petraeus outright, coax Wesley Clark out of retirement with a vintage "We Like Ike" campaign button, and then withhold funds and turn out the lights, roll over, and go to sleep?
I'm sorry, hon, is the war giving you a headache? Every time I hear Pork Chop Hillary delivering a speech in her trademark claws-on-chalkboard falsetto I retain a small measure of sympathy for Bill. I feel your pain, Bubba. Really, I do.
But the pigeonholing tonsilhawks in Congress see no contra in their diction. Love the postman, hate the mail. It's the same logic that underpins their entire foreign policy. If you ignore it, it will go away.
They're already wagging their fingers and wringing their hands over what they see as our mission creep into a war footing with Iran. But Iranian influence is already playing war footsie with our soldiers in the field, and has been for quite some time. Every street gawker and beat walker in Baghdad knows this, as well as anyone who's ever rode in convoys hit with Iranian-imported EFPs, less commonly known as Express From Persia's.
But don't expect any stalwart leadership on this thorny issue from the Hill, the majority of whom are clearly more concerned with CYOA than V-GWOT. Or as Confucius say, faced with what is right, to leave undone show lack of courage.
When viewed from home, war not determine who in right. War only determine who on Left.