In an increasingly polarized nation, civility is often the first casuality of politics. Last week's bogus Iraq war debate had one Republican reach a new low and by extension, condemn the majority of Americans as enemy sympathizers.
The dome of the Capitol building must have been bulging last week what with all the hot air around the Iraq war "debate" and whether the US should set a timetable for withdrawal. Republicans went cheap and floored a silly non-binding resolution that required members to show their support for the troops, but also for the President's course of action and to declare the war in Iraq as a critical part of the war on terror. It was simple, dumb politics and left those who think we need a new direction in a "heads I win, tails you lose" situation. You couldn't vote against the President's policies and still support the troops. You couldn't pull for victory while also establishing benchmarks. It was politics pure and simple, but not politics as usual. This time, the GOP isn't just painting anyone who didn't support this dopey resolution as just being soft, but also enemy sympathizers.
Republican Representative Charlie Norwood put it simply. "Many, not all, of the other side of the aisle lack the will to win," he said, implying that establishing timelines and benchmarks for success in Iraq is somehow admitting defeat. It's hackneyed GOP talking points and would normally go unnoticed, but then he added, "Is it al Qaeda or is it America?"
The idea that members of Congress would be tagged as traitors and enemy sympathizers when they're actually exercising their duty by administering oversight is appalling, it's un-American, and it's defaming a majority of this country who agree the US needs to make plans to redeploy from Iraq.
A USA Today poll from last week shows nearly six in 10 Americans say the United States should withdraw some or all of its troops from Iraq.
A CNN poll from last week shows that while most Americans polled were happy to see Abu Musab al-Zarqawi killed, a majority still felt the war was a mistake and not worth the cost to Americans.
But this is all about supporting the troops! Unless we're talking about the seventy-two percent of troops on the ground in Iraq who think U.S. military forces should get out of the country within a year, according to a Zogby poll released last Tuesday.
I wish I could say jackals like Charlie Norwood were in the minority of Republican ranks, but they're not. Since the days immediately after 9/11, the GOP has routinely and shamefully indicted as a traitor anyone who questioned the administration's policies in conducting this "war on terror." Maybe Norwood and company could take a little advice from a past Republican wartime leader, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said," "May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion."