Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thanks For Nothing, Again

Image credit: NYTimes photo reduced by Cujo359

To me, this photo is our Iraq experience in microcosm - an American soldier looking over the body of a dead Iraqi that's been discarded like trash after being murdered. There's nothing he can do to help, and nothing he can do to prevent the next one. I used it four months ago in this article, in which I wrote:

My, I sure am glad that's over. Now that the Congress has channeled its moral outrage, screwed up its courage, and decided to maybe pass a non-binding resolution on Iraq, I'm sure we can get on with the business of withdrawing from the slaughter we helped create in Iraq and get on with rebuilding our own country. President Bush will see Congress's resolve now and agree to play by what we Americans who actually stayed awake in civics class think of as the rules, right?

Yes, and I'm the King of England.

Four months later, and we're back where we started from. The Democratic leadership have decided to, essentially, give President Bush what he wants on Iraq. At least, a part of it has:

But even so, many Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, indicated that they would not support the war money, meaning that a significant number of Republicans would have to sign on to ensure the plan’s approval.

Ms. Pelosi made clear that if money for the war was going to be provided without a timeline for withdrawal, it would be without her personal support. “I would never vote for such a thing,” Ms. Pelosi said as she entered the office of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, to put the final touches on the $120 billion proposal.

Democrats Pull Troop Deadline From Iraq Bill

Image credit: NYTimes photo reduced by Cujo359

Reid's picture from that article, throwing up his hands as if he has no power to change anything, may become another symbolic picture of this war. The symbolism is of the Democrats stopping themselves from doing what we Americans sent them there to do. Reid had the power. He allowed Joe Lieberman to slither back into the Senate, rather than support Ned Lamont. With that action, or inaction, he laid the groundwork for this failure, because he made it clear that ending the war wasn't his concern. I don't blame Speaker Pelosi - there's little she can do at this point but vote against a bill she helped shape.

A month or so ago, speaking on a related issue, Bill Maher said this about the Democrats in Congress:

They say evil happens when good men do nothing. Well, the Democrats proved it also happens when mediocre people do nothing.

Bill Maher on Sacrifice

Today, the Democrats as a group have taken mediocrity to new depths.

If there's any silver lining to this, it's that the problem with this bill clearly shows that there is a substantial difference in the character of the two political parties at this moment. For Republicans, the rebellion against the leadership that has caused this failure would have been unthinkable - they always follow the leader, as they did for the last six years from failure to disaster to humiliation. Now, we are seeing the way free people act. Sometimes, free people exercise the freedom to be fools and cowards, and this is one of those times.

For the soldier in that picture, and the family and friends of that dead Iraqi, that's precious little comfort, I'll bet.

UPDATE: Keith Olbermann had a scathing commentary for the Democrats this evening:

This is, in fact, a comment about… betrayal.

Few men or women elected in our history-whether executive or legislative, state or national-have been sent into office with a mandate more obvious, nor instructions more clear: Get us out of Iraq.

Yet after six months of preparation and execution-half a year gathering the strands of public support; translating into action, the collective will of the nearly 70 percent of Americans who reject this War of Lies, the Democrats have managed only this ...

Special Comment: “The only things truly “compromised” are the trust of the voters…friends, and family, in Iraq”

This AP article indicates that part of the supplemental bill will be a $2.10 increase in the minimum wage, the first in a decade.

UPDATE 2: Digby hits it on the head (h/t Taylor Marsh):

This occupation is the most important issue to Democratic voters and things aren't going to suddenly "turn around" before the election. It's a disaster that will only get worse. I don't know what it's going to take to get the Democratic leadership to internalize that basic fact. On both a moral and practical basis, voting to continue this war on Bush's terms is just plain wrong.

Risky Business

They sure haven't internalized this fact yet. It's abundantly clear to anyone with the least understanding of history and human nature that this thing is going to continue to get worse, and that even if it somehow manages to only stay as bad as it is now, it's far worse than we, or the Iraqis, want to deal with.

UPDATE 3: (May 23) The supplemental funding bill passed 280-142 in the House, with all but two of the "nay" votes cast by Democrats, and 80-14 in the Senate, with ten "nay" votes cast by Democrats, one by Sanders, the independent from Vermont, and three by Republicans.

Read the roll calls, and remember. Those who cast yea votes have a lot to answer for.

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