Volume 77 / Number 44 - April 02 - 08, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Editorial

Dems must find their spine on Iraq

We just passed the Iraq War’s five-year mark and exceeded 4,000 deaths of U.S. military personnel. Yet, there appears to be a weariness that has set in among the vast majority of Americans who now oppose the war. A Downtown antiwar rally two weekends ago couldn’t even draw enough protesters to stretch the length of 14th St., The New York Times reported. There has been a lot of attention on the presidential election, and we suspect there’s a certain glee, one that we share, focusing on the day when George W. Bush will no longer be our president — but America and Congress can’t sit back and wait out this disastrous presidency.

The so-called surge is not “working” and it has nothing to do with the heightened violence last week. Even with the reduced level of violence against Americans in the last few months, we were still losing about a soldier a day. Many more troops are being severely wounded with crippling physical and mental injuries. Iraqi civilians continue to be killed in far greater numbers. The surge’s intent was to prompt the Iraqis into making political compromises in order to govern themselves. Even the Bush administration admits there has been little progress on that front. How will the Iraqis ever be able to police themselves if Bush and John McCain continue to suggest we are willing to stay indefinitely — a century, if necessary?

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz pegs the cost of the war at $3 trillion — money that could have helped complete the war in Afghanistan; reduced our subsidies to terrorists while promoting energy independence; lessened global climate change; provided universal healthcare, and done so much more.

One of our congressional representatives, Jerrold Nadler, opposed the war and wants to cut off funds, but he has few allies and his Democratic leaders have been cowardly in going against Bush. The Democrats have aided and abetted Bush at every step of the war. Yet Congress has the power to stop funding the war.

Why can’t House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid summon the courage to tell the Bush administration: “Every single prediction you made has been absolutely wrong. You were wrong about weapons of mass destruction, you were wrong about the level of troops needed, you were wrong about being greeted as liberators, you were wrong about mission accomplished, and you were wrong about the insurgency being in its last throes. Congress will no longer blindly follow orders, because your ‘better instincts’ have gotten 4,000 soldiers killed under false pretenses with no end in sight.”

There are no good options in Iraq, but the least bad one is a phased withdrawal coupled with intensive diplomatic talks with our friends and our enemies. Iran, despite its support for terrorism and its apparent pursuit of nuclear weapons, helped us bring down the Taliban and does not want to see chaos in Iraq, either.

How many hundreds of deaths are acceptable before Jan. 20, 2009?

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