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Our leaders have failed our country on Iraq

Fri, Nov 25th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Dick Cheney said his critic’s comments were “reprehensible;” President Bush called them “irresponsible.”

Somehow those words coming from these two men remind me of those Phillip Morris commercials where the tobacco company gives advice to people on how to stop smoking all the while continuing to sell tobacco to the same people who can’t quit the habit.

Cheney and reprehensible, George Bush and irresponsible, they do go well together. The former is an advocate for keeping torture as an “Ace in the Hole” in the War on Terror; some people think that is reprehensible. And, for George Bush, well, quite frankly, has there ever been a time when he has been responsible for his actions?

Whether our republic can withstand three more years of their leadership remains to be seen, but it will be terribly painful. This administration’s incompetence is legendary and the country will suffer unnecessarily both home and abroad because of it.

Whether or not the two lied directly to the American people about WMD and weapons grade uranium doesn’t much matter anymore. We do know that Bush/Cheney led us into a needless war that they have bungled and rather than tell us how they are going to get our troops out they stand on the sidelines and try to re-direct the criticism aimed at them. The reasons the Bush Administration gave for going into Iraq were false and Bush and Cheney allowed this falsehood to lead our country down an irrevocable journey to war.

Democratic Congressman John Murtha and Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, both Vietnam veterans, are right in saying that it is time to pull out our troops. Like Vietnam, once the US troops leave Iraq, the country will likely implode on itself. And like Vietnam, this will happen whether our troops are there two years or twelve, the same outcome is inevitable. Perhaps that is why Murtha called the US policy in Iraq an “illusion.” The notion that you can create a democracy with regime change and a constitution does seem illusory at best.

Hagel, an early critic of US policy in Iraq, said that Congress failed their country during the Vietnam War, “remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the administrations in power until it was too late.”

The same is true of our leaders today in Congress - they too have failed our country. As Hagel said, “America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices.”

Democracy requires vigorous dissent. Hagel and Murtha, by standing up to this administration and questioning its policies on Iraq, serve all Americans and the democratic principles we stand for.

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