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Perspectives on Iraq war continue to grow

Posted by Stephen on February 13, 2007

It is doubtful that a person can find a location within mainstream America that Iraq isn’t a topic of conversation and concern. From water coolers and lunch rooms, to churches and family rooms, people have taken positions on the war in the Middle East. Most of those positions seem to be against the current direction of the war efforts and the more the White House tries to sell a new direction the more polls suggest the frustrations of citizens here at home.

The Senate recently set out to make a political, albeit nonbinding, statement articulating the majority’s dissatisfaction with the Presidents planning and management of the war. Despite momentum for Democrats on the subject, Senate Republicans are rallying partisan support for the President’s latest plan for success.

The rift in the Senate exists partly because there really isn’t a clear majority and partly because good ole partisan politics. The war just exasperates the problems and it was center stage when the Democrats, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv), tried to bring a nonbinding resolution opposing the war to the Senate floor for a vote. In response, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) successfully moved to block the debate on the resolution. However, rank-and-file Republican senators are grumbling and threatening to break with McConnell, as the war debate has morphed into a procedural spat with the GOP playing defense.

Julian E. Zelizer, a congressional expert at Boston University, told the Washington Post that the Republicans may be on top of their argument in the short term, but they must be careful how their tactics play with the public in the long term. “They can’t look like obstructionists, especially on this war resolution,” he said. “This is wartime lawmaking, not peacetime lawmaking.”

McConnell feels the conflict is less about political tactics than about ensuring equitable treatment for the Senate GOP, which is barely in the minority.

“This is not about keeping score,” the Republican leader told the Post last Thursday. “This is about an extraordinarily important issue. The American people are not happy with the current status of the Iraq war. Republican senators are not happy about it.”

McConnell’s successfully blocked debate on the Democrat’s resolution by stating Democrats were denying Republicans a vote on alternative resolutions supportive of the war effort.

Meanwhile, the President’s choice to carry out his new strategy, Gen. David Petraeus, assumed command in Iraq with high hopes and an optimistic message that included warnings of the difficult realities that exist and the need for cooperation with the Iraqi people and forces.

In a 5 minute speech to troops during the ceremonial turnover of leadership in Iraq, Petraeus stated that the “rucksack of responsibility was too heavy to carry alone there and that without cooperation between Iraqi and U.S. forces. Iraq will be doomed to continued violence and civil strife.”

Petraeus characterized the challenges facing Iraq as daunting but said that “these tasks are achievable, this mission is doable,” the General continues saying, “The situation in Iraq is exceedingly challenging, the stakes are very high, the way ahead will be hard and undoubtedly there will be many tough days. However, hard is not hopeless.”

Foreign parties are not immune from entering in the debate over American policy in Iraq. Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered some of his harshest criticism in his seven years of leadership of the former communist country stating that “the United States has overstepped its national borders in every way.” Speaking during an address at an annual international security conference he added, “Nobody feels secure anymore, because nobody can take safety behind the stone wall of international law.”

Putin used the opportunity to elaborate on other areas of frustration regarding American foreign policy. In an unusually hostile tone toward the U.S., Putin criticized the expansion of NATO, saying the alliance’s placement of military forces on Russia’s borders reduces the level of mutual trust. He said the U.S. desire to place antimissile systems in Eastern Europe could further upset the international balance of power and embolden the United States in its foreign policy decisions.

The Russian president also defended his country’s arms sales to Iran as a way of reaching out to that Middle Eastern power, saying “we don’t want Iran to feel cornered.”

The gap in U.S.-Russia relations continues to widen. Iran continues to grow as the real threat in the Middle East. Difficulties in Iraq continue to intensify. Democrats in congress, while protesting the war, continue to fail to bring a solution to the table beyond bringing troops home in the face of unrealized goals. Republicans continue to struggle amongst themselves to come to a single voice on the war effort.

The perspectives on the war are diverse. The solutions are elusive and the fight is intense. The only common ground is that there is no common ground. Caught in the middle are American troops in harms way trying to help a fledgling government create a secure nation, free from tyranny, with the ability to defend itself, while creating opportunity for its people to live without fear, and with an ability to pursue a peaceful existence.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.

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One Response to “Perspectives on Iraq war continue to grow”

  1. jww said

    You have summarized the mess regarding Iraq quite well. How different it could be if the Democratically controlled Congress simply gave the President support for “one last try” in stopping the violence in Baghdad. It’s quite a simple change in strategy, taking and keeping areas in Baghdad from further violence. The Iraqis can then start rebuilding in relative peace with an Iraq army increasingly ready to protect and defend them. The Iraqi forces no longer tuck their tails and run like they did in the first Gulf war and when we first took out Saddam. I remember well when I was in Viet Nam sitting on the DMZ and not being able to go to Hanoi to destroy the enemy because Washington didn’t have the will. Thank goodness President Bush is an effective Commander-in-chief and isn’t detered by polls and the media from doing what’s right. Even the Iraq study group said a final “short term surge” would be appropriate to stop the violence. For God’s sake give it a chance. If it doesn’t work in 6-9 months, pull our forces back to the borders to keep out insurgents and let the Iraqi army clean up the mess. I do believe the current action will result in success as long as jobs are created, public works are restored and we don’t let the insurgents back into Baghdad for the next year after we clean them out. We don’t have to kill every insurgent or put them in jail. Just stop them and the political process will move ahead. Remember 12 million Iraqis risked their lives and voted for a constitution, elected their representatives and want a democratic nation. Let’s give them a chance!

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