Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Faux Debate about Iraq War

Tonight I listened to Jim Lehrer interview two Congressmen on The News Hour on public television. One Congressman was a Democrat from Pennsylvania; the other, a Republican from Michigan. The topic was the bill that the House passed providing money to fund the war but also specifying or suggesting dates for withdrawal. Naturally, the Democrat supported the Bill and the Republican opposed it. I listened to the usual arguments.

The Democrat argued that we must convince the Iraq government that we will not remain forever and that they have about a year to make the necessary political compromises to achieve peace in the country. The Republican argued that we should never let an enemy know of our plan to leave the field of battle, because that is a sure way to lose the war. There was sense in both positions, but it seemed to me that there was an important problem that neither man, nor Jim Lehrer either, wanted to mention. That problem is the apparent stubbornness of President Bush in sticking to a failing policy of trying to solve the problem with a military victory.

Our political system insulates the President from the Congress. If the President is following a dangerously bad policy there is nothing that the Congress can do to stop him, as long as he has the support of at least one-third of the members of each House. Both Houses of the Congress are trying to persuade the President to adopt a different course. The President continues his determined stand and will not admit that he has made a mistake. Since he won't admit the mistake, he can't be expected to correct it or to change his policy.

I have long admired the parliamentary system of government that many other nations that were formerly colonies of Great Britain have adopted.

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