Volume 20, Number 46 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | MARCH 28 - APRIL 3, 2008

Editorial

Dems must find their spine on Iraq

We just passed the five year mark of war in Iraq and just exceeded 4,000 deaths of U.S. military personnel, yet there appears to be a weariness that has set in among the vast majority of Americans who now oppose the war. A Downtown antiwar rally over the weekend couldn’t even draw enough protestors to stretch the length of 14th St., the New York Times reported. There has been a lot of attention on the presidential election and we suspect there’s a certain glee, one that we share, focusing on the day when George W. Bush will no longer be our president — but America and Congress can’t sit back and wait this disastrous president out.

The so-called surge is not “working” and it has nothing to do with the heightened violence over the last few days. Even with the reduced level of violence against Americans in the last few months, we were still losing about a soldier a day — imposing lifelong, crushing blows to at least seven families a week. Many more troops are severely wounded with crippling physical and mental injuries. Iraqi civilians continue to be killed in even far greater numbers. The surge’s intent was to prompt the Iraqis into making political compromises in order to govern themselves. Even the Bush administration admits there has been little progress on that front. How will the Iraqis ever be able to police themselves if Bush and John McCain continue to suggest we are willing to stay indefinitely — a century if necessary?

Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz puts the cost of the war at $3 trillion —money that could have helped complete the war in Afghanistan; reduced our subsidies to terrorists while promoting energy independence; lessened global climate change; provided universal health care and done so much more.

Our representative in Congress, Jerrold Nadler, opposed the war and wants to cut off funds, but he has few allies and his Democratic leaders have been far too cowardly in going against Bush. The Democrats have aided and abetted Bush at every step of the war. Congress has the power to stop funding the war and force a change in policy.

Why can’t House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid summon the courage to deflect all criticisms from the Bush administration and say: Every single prediction you made has been absolutely wrong. You were wrong about weapons of mass destruction, you were wrong about the level of troops needed, you were wrong about being greeted as liberators, you were wrong about Iraqi oil paying for reconstruction, you were wrong about mission accomplished, you were wrong about disbanding the army, you were wrong to goad the insurgents, and you were wrong about the insurgency being in its last throes. Your defense secretary pushed for war even though he subsequently admitted he did not have the army he wanted. Congress will no longer blindly follow orders because your “better instincts” have gotten 4,000 soldiers killed under false pretenses with no end in sight.

There are no good options in Iraq but the least bad one is a phased withdrawal coupled with intensive diplomatic talks with our friends and our enemies. Iran, despite its support for terrorism and its apparent pursuit of nuclear weapons, helped us bring down the Taliban and does not want to see chaos in Iraq either.

How many hundreds of deaths are acceptable before Jan. 20?



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