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What should we really be outraged about?

While I support sending the same bill back to the President, I'm not a foreign policy expert and, so, I accept that I could be wrong. I do believe there can be legitimate disagreement on the best way to support the troops regarding funding, and so I don't assign "lack of a spine" as the motive for all who disagree with me. The problem is the lack of a plan. Leadership is more than out-bullying the biggest bully. It's about knowing where to go and how to get there. And it just feels like we are taking random stabs in the dark and hoping we hit the thing that will bring our troops home. And so we continue the cycle, jumping on the outrage of the week - residual troops, defunding, what ever comes up next.

I'm not seeing the rationale for any one of the single actions Congress has proposed.

Saying we need to get out is patently obvious and it is time to start demanding a comprehensive plan in terms of all the steps that need to be taken. Additionally, having a plan on paper would help us understand correctly where funding, and everything else, fits. Stopping the war by cutting funding is not enough, unless you accept Norquist style drown-in-a-bathtub policy. That's obvious. But tell us what cutting funding really means, and tell us how doing it, or not fits into the bigger picture.

What steps should be taken to get our troops home? I don't know and I'm guessing most citizens are in the same boat. We are living our lives and don't really have the luxury of studying foreign policy theory. We just know we are embroiled in a senseless war for no apparent reason. Is it any wonder our anger becomes directed towards the Dems themselves? We say they are "weak" because because it makes sense of a situation where otherwise Congress's actions make no sense at all.

Righteous support of the troops has been transformed into the shallowness of a political power struggle where we argue whether the Democratic leadership is opportunistic enough. And look at the news: Democrats split on the war. Is the news about the War? No. It is about political process. Discussion about the moral imperative of ending this war and discussion about how to really do it are casualties of the drama.  

Currently,  the bill is being discussed as if it were in a vacuum, as if the real tragedy is strategic blundering. But political strategy is the least of the tragedies here. The real tragedy is that the troops are being treated as objects, as pawns, and no one is talking about their immediate needs in terms of a larger plan for getting them home. Instead people are talking about forcing the President's hand.

The troops are left to deal with the consequences of this debate. Their situation, the whole situation, how to get them home and not just the endpoint of getting them home, should be the central concern. How do we best support the troops right now and afterward as part of a larger plan of ending the war? Where does funding fit in? What do our troops need and how do we get it to them in spite of a stubborn and foolish President?

So I don't think this is about Congress's spine. I think it is about their brain. Where is the plan? I just see yet another disjointed action that once again, has lead to nothing more than the next outrage. And I'm outraged about that.

Originally posted to gina on Thu May 24, 2007 at 04:13 PM PDT.


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