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Congressional Democrats deserve credit for opposing more troops for Iraq.  The last thing that Americans need is more deaths, more woundings, and more disabled soldiers.

Howard Dean was pilloried by Bush and his allies in late 2003 for saying that the capture of Saddam Hussein would not make America any safer.  He was right on that, although his "gaffe" undoubtedly contributed to the escalation of attacks on his electability that ultimately cost him the Iowa Caucuses and the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Today, Saddam Hussein is dead after an execution and a conviction which documented various crimes he committed against the Iraqi people.  And America is still not safe from terrorist attacks, here or in Iraq.

The argument for more troops assumes that there is an American military solution to the disintegration of civil authority and living conditions in Iraq. It will be extraordinarily difficult to convince Americans of that, as many of our own military leaders have warned that American troops in Iraq are both a target and an escalating grievance that aids in the recruitment of new terrorists.

George W. Bush's Utopian rationale of a future Iraq being a luminous bright spot leading to a widespread adoption of democracy in the Middle East has proven to be pure fantasy. Even the some of the neocons who dreamed up this rationale are now attacking the Bush Administration for incompetence in carrying it out.

Even the more cynically viewed justification for our presence in Iraq--preserving the oil supply--has proven to be a failure.  Iraq now produces far less oil than it did while Hussein was in power, and all of us who drive know that gas prices are far higher than they were when Hussein was in power.

The cost of our efforts in Iraq appear to be on course to pass $1 trillion in the not too distant future.  Total eventual costs of $2 trillion or more are far from impossible.  Nor is it impossible that the total deaths of American soldiers in Iraq, now over 3,000, will eventually pass the 58,200 total for our misguided efforts in Vietnam.

In 1758, the colonial leadership of Pennsylvania was made up of Quakers who were religiously committed to a no-war policy with the Indians.  But enough Indian tribes made clear their determination to fight that the no-war policy was not tenable. Ultimately, every Quaker in a high ranking position in state government chose to submit his resignation to allow a war to be fought without their participation in it.

The ideological beliefs of the Bush Administration are akin to religious beliefs. They are fundamentally not subject to proof and are based on faith in the validity of the ideology.  They are an obstacle to getting much actually accomplished in Iraq.

In an ideal world, Bush and Cheney would submit their resignations and allow new decision makers to take over, just as the Pennsylvania Quakers did.  This will not happen of course, and Americans and Iraqis will continue to die in large numbers because of unrealistic goals and incompetent leadership.

Congress has no choice but to assert itself, and it is great to see it is finally doing it.  Only a limitation of financial and troop commitment can supply the discipline to end our ongoing tragedy in Iraq. The belief that our governmental vision for Iraq is a sacred cause, worth any amount of governmental funds that can be beaten or cajoled out of Congress, is a belief that will only lead to an endless series of tragic outcomes.

Bush and Cheney have had their way, and they have failed.  It is time for Congress to push them out of the way, create manageable objectives, and get our troops home in a prompt and reasonable manner.

Originally posted to State Rep Mark Cohen Dem PA on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 09:07 PM PST.

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Should the U.S. Withdraw troops from Iraq

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| 49 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    Please rate this diary positively if you think it deserves such a rating.

    Progressive Democrats have done a lot of good for our country in the past, and can do a lot more in the future. Let's keep going strong.

    by State Rep Mark Cohen Dem PA on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 09:04:52 PM PST

  •  Well don't hold your breath (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, kurious

    For starters if they only offer the empty symbolic measure, that won't matter and won't stop the escalation. And secondly, there are still plenty of Blue Dog and DLC Democrats who are still living in 2002 and haven't catched up the idea that opposition to the war is actually popular. Who knew?!

    They might cross over and vote against it undermining the message big time. Which it will. Traitors like Tauscher have already said they won't do a thing to stop this and would vote against such measures.

    "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

    by michael1104 on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 09:10:08 PM PST

  •  I agree (2+ / 0-)

    Do the PA House rules allow for a "sense of the House" resolution? If so, might you offer such a resolution opposing the escalation when you reconvene next week?  

  •  Assert the power of the purse (2+ / 0-)

    Congress has no choice but to assert itself, and it is great to see it is finally doing it.  Only a limitation of financial and troop commitment can supply the discipline to end our ongoing tragedy in Iraq.

    The American people spoke in November. The Democrats (and anyone else on the Hill with a conscience) needs to put aside their own political concerns and stand up for our country: cut off funding for this spoiled prince's war.

  •  I agree that it's the right thing (4+ / 0-)

    for congressional democrats to do.  However, like others I'm not so sure that some democratic congress critters won't support Bush's plan.  And that's a damn shame.  Bush has no legs to stand on and it's time for  the dems to take a UNITED STAND against this plan.  It's really that simple when the vast majority of people in this country DO NO WANT TO SEND MORE TROOPS TO IRAQ.  So, you're right.  I just hope our democratic congress critters see it the same way.  

  •  But Non-Binding Resolutions Won't Save Lives (3+ / 0-)

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record:  Congress is a co-equal branch of government.  Congress has the right to Declare War.  Congress authorized the use of military force based on information provided by the Administration, & that information was soon proven to be totally erroneous.  Therefore, Congress needs to revoke the AUMF immediately.  The Bush Administration has repeatedly shown it's contempt of Congress's authority.  If Congress doesn't want to become completely irrelevant, they must find the courage to stand up to the Administraiton, reassert their Constitutionally granted authority and intervene to prevent more needless deaths in Iraq.  

    BTW, The President stated he's deploying yet another carrier group to the area, and bringing in Patriot missiles.  This, in addition to his not very subtle threats to Iran and Syria, does not bode well for peace in the region, and may indeed provoke a regional conflict.  The question is--how many people must die before Congress stops talking and starts acting?

  •  Bush is nothing short of an (0+ / 0-)

    out of control madman... he will not listen to words so the actions must be strong enough to actually do something. Under better conditions a "phased withdrawl" may have been possible... but with what they are dealing with now it is not.

    Those killing our troops have nothing to gain by quelling the killing and waiting for our troops to leave...they have everything to gain by keeping the Iraqi "gov't" in chaos... not letting services be restored... and continuing to kill Americans to show others that they are not afraid of us.

    Getting the troops out now will keep them out of Iran and Syria....

    All of the troops out now.

    And Bush needs to be put up on charges for "his" war and utter disregard for the Constitution.

    RUN AL RUN !!! GORE 08 -6.88,-6.92

    by jigsaw68 on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 09:38:26 PM PST

  •  I trust that Congressional Democrats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt

    heard tonight the President's chilling words regarding Iran (and Syria). He should not be allowed to extend the borders of this war. Many of us have feared that he would find an excuse to bomb Iran.  I think we heard it tonight.  Democrats in Congress should move immediately to prohibit an American attack on Iran--even if Israel initiates one.  

    To God: Please stop talking to George Bush. Too much is being lost in translation.

    by miriam on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 09:46:46 PM PST

  •  State Representative Cohen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, WayneNight

    Howard Dean was pilloried by Bush and his allies in late 2003 for saying that the capture of Saddam Hussein would not make America any safer.  He was right on that, although his "gaffe" undoubtedly contributed to the escalation of attacks on his electability that ultimately cost him the Iowa Caucuses and the Democratic Presidential nomination.

    I was a Dean supporter and learned a lot of cold hard political realities in those months while I was a volunteer. But I have to wonder, is it really gaffe if he's right?  That's kind of depressing.  We need leaders, not just politicians.  Now perhaps the good doc wasn't the best leader but still, it is troubling that you can say the right thing but have it considered a "gaffe".  That's why when people make racist or sexist or homophobic comments, I never say "he/she was being insensitive", I say "he/she is a wrong on all levels".  

    •  I Disagree With Characterization (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalLiberal, kurt, WayneNight

      I disagree with the characterization of it, and that's why I put "gaffe" in quotes.

      It was an honest statement, absolutely accurate, and it is sad that it was exploited by Dean's opponents to stop his momentum to the Presidential nominaiton.

      Progressive Democrats have done a lot of good for our country in the past, and can do a lot more in the future. Let's keep going strong.

      by State Rep Mark Cohen Dem PA on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 10:04:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's a problem that doctors have (2+ / 0-)

        Doctors are forced to be blunt people (at least if they're good doctors).  I used to hate my 5'7, 300+ pound pediatrician who told me I was overweight at every check up.  I hated him for saying it and I would point to how badly in shape he was but it was the truth.  I was overweight (he just didn't know how to help me eat right).  A politician knows how to tell a fat person that he or she is merely "big boned" or "full figured".  (Actually that reminds me how I learned the wrong usage of "full figured" and thought it meant a girl was athletic and muscular and I reffered to my best friend that way and she was PISSED).  And that was likely Howard Dean's problem.  It's not often that you see doctors in politics.  

        I don't think he should run for president again but Howard Dean was really what we needed at the time.  That was not a fun campaign.  I always felt that people were exagerating about how much support Dean really had, especially among liberals and young people.  It turned out, sadly, that I was right.  That was the key difference I saw between Dean's campaign and Jim Webb's campaign.  With Webb, that energy, that excitement, that diversity, the number of volunteers, it was overwhelming and it told me that the campaign was for real.  So in some respects while Dean's loss was hard on me (as was Kerry's, some people never recovered and have become doomsday anarcho-syndochlasts) it did teach me some things.  :)

  •  Tags fixed (0+ / 0-)

    "bush" changed to "George W. Bush"; we need tags to distinguish this bush from all the other similarly-named shrubs. Also, "Cheyney" corrected to "Dick Cheney".

    Per the FAQ: When using names as tags, please be sure to use the first and last names and middle initials when needed.

    Thanks!

    DailyKos Tag Cleanup Project
    Search for existing Tags
    List of the 722 most used tags (alphabetical)

    © sardonyx; all rights reserved

    by sardonyx on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 11:01:03 PM PST

  •  From MyDD (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt

    Senate's Business Giveaways on Min. Wage Could Cost Billions (Jonathan Singer) Also from The WaPo:

    Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) plans to complete a package of small-business tax breaks by next week that would cost the Treasury up to $10 billion over the next 10 years. Those measures would mainly extend existing tax breaks, such as a tax deduction for the hiring of welfare recipients, generous tax deductions for business investments and breaks for property leases.

    Republicans, meanwhile, are fighting to double the amount of handouts going to business in return for raising the minimum wage.

    At least it is welfare for small business instead of corporations.  What is it Democrats don't understand?  PAGO?  I pay, they go?  When will politicians stop this racketeering in Washington?  First they give away all of our jobs and health care for more profits for CEO bonuses.  Then Clinton attacks welfare babies while leaving corporate welfare untouched.  Now we are going to bomb Iran and escalate Iraq so Exxon can get more oil and maintain their piggy profits, while (corporations)not paying royalties to anyone no matter what they get from where.  Exploit people, resources, and the planet.  What the hell are you people in DC doing?  We need another Boston Tea Party.  I'm sick of no representation.

    "Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat." Mark Twain

    by dkmich on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 03:05:27 AM PST

  •  Wow, thanks for writing this (0+ / 0-)

    I was surprised to see it, as you've always focused on PA politics in the past.  But you've made a lot of good points in here.

    Speaking of "Congressional Democrats," Is there any chance you might consider running for Congress some day, if a seat opens up?

    •  Possible Candidacy for Congress (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WayneNight

      Would I consider running for Congress?  Yes.  I actively considered running for Congress in 2003 when Joe Hoeffel ran for the Senate, but unfortunately for my chances Allyson Schwartz, then running for Auditor General, decided she would rather run for Congress and Constitution Center President Joe Torsella also decided he wanted to run for Congress.  Both quickly demonstrated the ability to raise far more money than I could. Schwartz defeated Torsella for the Democratic nomination and went on to win the general election.

      I think I could a lot more done as a member of Congress than can a good number of existing members because of my detailed knowledge of many issues and my ability to communicate both personally with other elected officials and through various media.

      Had I been elected to Congress in 2004, I would have been very active in trying to bring the Iraq War to a close. I was very clear on that in my 2003 discussions, speeches and press releases.

      The strength of the Pennsylvania House is that, because of smaller districts and smaller stakes, everything operates on a much more human scale. I feel very comfortable serving in the Pennsylvania House, and agree with various others that it is a much more manageable job than serving in Congress.

      Progressive Democrats have done a lot of good for our country in the past, and can do a lot more in the future. Let's keep going strong.

      by State Rep Mark Cohen Dem PA on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 02:33:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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