Jan 22, 2007
On January 10, Bush announced his long-awaited “new course” for Iraq. Even as he spoke, some of the 21,500 additional troops he said he would send to Iraq had already disembarked. Two aircraft carrier groups were steaming into the Gulf region, with their air wings made up of FA-18's, Hornets and Super Hornets, as well as guided missile cruisers and frigates, plus an undisclosed number of Marines attached to these ships. And this doesn’t count the 40,000 U.S. troops stationed in neighboring Persian Gulf countries, just waiting to be sent in.
“New course”? No, it’s the same old bloody course for this filthy war – with this difference: the war will be bloodier still. And its main victims will be those who have already suffered: the Iraqi people and the U.S. troops themselves.
Republican and Democratic senators alike immediately denounced Bush’s plan. The top generals, both active and retired, added their voices to the chorus, predicting new disasters. Hardly a politician could be found in Congress who would say openly that he or she supported Bush’s “new course.”
And yet, Congress did nothing. To be more exact, senators and representatives proposed to hold hearings. Hearings! Even while the Marines and other units were already setting down in Iraq, politicians were talking about hearings – with the usual deliberate foot-dragging for which Congress is famous.
Democratic leaders proposed to take a vote to register opposition to the war, a vote they hastened to add would be only “symbolic.” Well, the war is NOT symbolic, and neither is the agony suffered by the Iraqi people and the U.S. troops. In Iraq, it’s a matter of life or death.
The Democrats say there’s nothing they can do to stop the war. Bush is the president, they say, and he has all the power.
Rubbish! The Constitution gives the power to declare war to Congress – and ONLY to Congress – and that means the power to stop war.
The 2004 election did not make Bush king. And the 2006 election repudiated Bush and his policies. By an overwhelming margin.
The Democrats control Congress today. And the 2006 election, which gave them control, gave them a mandate to stop the war. The Democrats have already shown they won’t act on that mandate.
In other words, they too support the war in their devious way. They may criticize Bush’s conduct of the war in order to put the blame for it on his head, but they have already made it crystal clear they won’t take a step to stop him or his war.
If the war is to be stopped, it will be stopped only by the population and by the troops themselves.
U.S. troops are already speaking out against this war – and not only those brave soldiers who dare to register their opposition with Congress. Already, half a million troops have spoken against this war by leaving it. Of the 1.4 million people who served in Iraq, 500,000 of them left the service when their time was up.
The population of this country has an obligation to back up those troops, to force the government to bring them home. We have an obligation to the Iraqi people, whose lives this war has shattered. Take the troops out of Iraq, leave Iraq to the Iraqis, and send them reparations for the catastrophe the U.S. has made of their country.