Overseeing Iraq Posted by: Dale Franks
on Friday, June 16, 2006
The editors of USA Today have written an editorial about withdrawing from Iraq,that is right on point.
U.S. troops should not stay in Iraq, as in Vietnam, purely for pride in a hopeless battle. They should remain, however, as long as there is a reasonable chance that they can bring some stability, reinforce the fledgling democratic government and prevent Iraq from becoming a haven for terrorists. Announcing a timetable for withdrawal, as Sen. John Kerry proposes (Kerry's resolution in the Senate was rejected 93-6 on Thursday), would just invite the insurgents to wait out the American presence.
Progress in Iraq has certainly been slow, and, as has been said, "mistakes were made". But despite the slowness of the progress there has been progress. To simply leave now would be to threaten all of that progress, and set back any sort of liberalization in the Mideast back years, if not decades.
Whatever the arguments for going into Iraq in the first place, they are utterly irrelevant now. The situation is what it is, and we have to weigh very carefully the possible results on pulling up stakes and leaving. Whatever the merits of our withdrawal and abandonment of Vietnam may have been, it is folly to forget that the consequences of that withdrawal, for which we paid all through the latter half of the 1970s and the first few years of the 1980s, were bitter indeed.
Thursday's fireworks on the House floor did serve to illuminate how Congress has been egregiously missing in action on sustained discussion and oversight of the Iraq war. A two-day debate hardly begins to address the many critical issues: What would success look like? Is the $320 billion allocated to the war effort being well spent? Can more be done to protect the troops from lethal roadside bombings? What is being done to engage surrounding countries? What about the training of Iraqi forces?
This point brings up something that is, if anything, even more irksome. Congress has, except from the predicatble defeatist yelping on the Left, been little more than a lap dog to the Bush Administration. On practically every issue, from Guantanamo, to prisoner torture, to domestic spying, Congress has done practically nothing to exercise their oversight on the Bush Administration. For all the criticism and grumbling directed at whatever TV cameras were handy, Congress has not actually done anything practical to ensure that oversight was being conducted to ensure that the administration was behaving properly and prudently.
Even in WWII, Congress carefully watched the procurement process, despite quite heavy, escalating, and urgent demands for more war materials. Indeed, it's more or less what put Harry Truman in the position to become president. Our current Congress, for all the kvetching they sometimes do, seems to pretty much take the Bush Administration's word as gospel, at the end of the day.
Sure, it's not helpful for Democrats to constantly keep up with the "Retreat, Withdraw, Surrender" refrain, but it isn't noticeably more helpful for the Republican majority to roll over like weasels and expose their softest parts to the president, either.
Well Dale, Congress HAS overseen the Bush Administration. Almost EVERY "Revelation" about the GWoT the Administration has pointed out that Congress WAS briefed. Congress knows what’s happening... they either approve or don’t see a viable alternative.