you can agree or disagree with the specifics of the president’s plan for iraq that he explained to us last night. it’s hard to say whether this will work or not, but i have confidence that we will hold up our end of the deal, at least as long as president bush is in office. the rest is up to the iraqis. that is the strength and the weakness of this plan. it is time for some hard choices to be made by the iraqis, and i’m not sure their government has the courage and political will to make those decisions. i hope i’m wrong about that. even though i want this plan to succeed, there’s only so much we can do in supporting the iraqi government. it’s easy for us to insist that the iraqis should get past old sectarian conflicts and move forward together, but that hasn’t been their history. while i believe that sending more troops to iraq is the right thing to do, it is only part of a solution that must come with political and some economic concessions by the maliki government.
quite a few democrats (and several republicans) oppose the troop surge. fair enough. there are convincing arguments to be made on both sides. there are some democrats, like ted kennedy for example, who actually propose de-funding this troop surge. talk is cheap. at least kennedy is actually acting on his convictions. that’s more than his democratic colleagues will do. cindy sheehan and her fellow anti-war pals will be sorely disappointed by the performance of the new democratic majority if they believe that anything serious will get done about bringing the troops home now. oh sure, there will probably be investigations and threats. as far as voting to bring the troops home now, or any proposal to withhold funds for reinforcements for the military men and women already in iraq — the democrats are all hat and no cattle. it won’t happen.
now that the president has presented his plan, it’s the democrats’ turn. the american people gave them an opportunity to provide leadership and a new direction in iraq, and they don’t even put it at the top of their list of priorities, instead focusing on prescription drugs and the minimum wage. the consequences of losing iraq are more serious than a black mark on president bush’s legacy. i hope the democrats understand this, and that they will act in the best interests of our country when considering what’s next for iraq.