The New Iraq Quagmire
By: Leigh Patrick Sullivan
California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D – CA) has taken her position as the first female Speaker of the House, and has officially ushered in a new Democratic era in American politics. The days of top-to-bottom Republican control is now over, and the change brings with it the possibility of some interesting battles between the governing Dems and President Bush. Never mind the obvious impeding duels on internal social issues where the Democrats and the Republicans are at the greatest of odds, the real attention-grabber is going to be on the Democrat’s position on Iraq. Interesting primarily because they don’t seem to have a position.
Many of the more leftist in the Party That Bill Built want to see a quick end to the American involvement in the war-torn nation. These are the party members who believed, as many voters did, that a Democrat victory would result in a quick Vietnam-style pull out. These ‘cut and runners’ are at odds with the more centrist elements of the party who are a little more realistic and would rather see a new comprehensive strategy of rebuilding then withdrawal. Although seemingly more open to the Bush doctrine, these Dems have no desire to side with the President.
Mixed into this is the fact that a new money bill, in which the President is going to essentially ask for more money and possibly more troops for Iraq, is on the agenda for the spring. By then, Pelosi must present a complete and concrete Democrat position on the issue or risk a public relations nightmare. Will the Democrat’s cause history to repeat and deny the President his request, just as they did in 1975 when then-President Gerald Ford made the same request for Vietnam? Or will they give Bush the money and the troops Iraq needs to help stabilize their country, and in doing so, alienate and disappoint the Americans who voted Democrat under the mistaken belief that it would mean the Iraq story would end? And how will their decision, no matter which way they go, impact their chances at the White House in 2008?
My real fear is that the Iraq War is about to become even more politicized than it already has. The worst thing that could happen is for Iraq to slip deeper and deeper into violence while the American government’s focus is fixed on unproductive partisan battles. That, not the so-called insurgence, would be the greatest threat to victory.
The Moderate Separatist