02/16/07 — A true next step: Resolution is nothing but more talk without a real purpose

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A true next step: Resolution is nothing but more talk without a real purpose

Today, members of the U.S. House of Representatives were expected to vote on a resolution concerning the conduct of the war in Iraq.

The gist of the measure, which will head next to the Senate, is that although they cannot stop President George W. Bush from sending more troops to Iraq, lawmakers want it on the record that they oppose the troop surge.

The issue is more complicated than that — and the specifics of the resolution more detailed — but the main impact of the proposal will be a vote of “no confidence” in the president’s policy in Iraq.

America has been built on the pillar of freedom of speech. So, lawmakers or private citizens who want to offer a different viewpoint are always welcome and encouraged to make their feelings known. Therefore, a healthy debate over the president’s policies and the next step in this battle is not on the surface such a bad idea.

Differing viewpoints can sometimes bring about better policy.

But this really isn’t that. It is not an exchange of new ideas — it is not even a reasoned discussion about goals, purposes and the means to get a job done.

This is finger-pointing, grandstanding and a chance to say you are doing something when you really aren’t. And in the end, the only message it sends to our allies and our enemies is that this nation’s political leadership turns on itself when the going gets tough.

Right now, instead of a resolution condemning a presidential decision, we need a few more people to be talking about what to do differently and how to send a stronger message to our enemies around the world that when we start something, we finish it.

We need to send the message that we can be counted on to do what is right, even when the going gets tough and it isn’t as comfortable to wave the flag.

And we need to send a crystal clear message that our troops — the men and women who have been getting the job done in the Middle East — have the full power and support of the United States of America, its leadership and its people, behind them.

This resolution is not going to do anything in Iraq but muddy the waters. It is nothing more than show. Just listen to the debate if you are not sure. You will hear all sorts of sound bites and little in the way of solutions.

After the votes are complete, we can set about actually doing something — or finding people who will.

Published in Editorials on February 16, 2007 10:52 AM