04/26/07 — Posture or ideals? Does pullout date debate really mean anything?

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Posture or ideals? Does pullout date debate really mean anything?

Taking a stand seems to be a popular choice these days — especially when it comes to the war in Iraq.

One side is refusing to approve a budget to manage the expenses of continuing the war as planned without a definite pullout date, while the other won’t stand for a legislatively defined end to the conflict.

The result will probably be a presidential veto for the military spending bill with the withdrawal date attached — and a much tougher and protracted battle when it comes closer to budget time.

So what does all this really mean? Not much now, but a whole lot when it comes to future elections and the next president of the United States.

This debate in the House and Senate is interesting to listen to — and disturbing to think about — but it will not affect the actual execution of policy in Iraq right now.

That is, until the president changes.

And when that day comes, there better be more of a plan than simply “anything but what George Bush says.”

What is important to remember in the debate over military spending and a pullout date in Iraq is that there are consequences that occur with every debate and every challenge of the U.S. policy there.

The battle against terrorism is so much more than the actual nuts and bolts of creating a new, free Iraq. It is the lesson of what happens when a fledgling nation is left in the grips of civil war and vulnerable to outsiders with a much more sinister agenda.

There is hatred in the world for the United States that existed long before the war in Iraq. And anyone who thinks that withdrawing from Iraq is going to take this nation off the radar of Islamist terrorists has not paid attention.

So, for now, the debate is in name only. But when it comes time to change course, those who have pushed to do it and buffeted those who are currently in charge had better have more than criticism. They better have a plan.

Published in Editorials on April 26, 2007 11:35 AM