For many us who must successfully get things accomplished in this world, following are the kinds of stories that makes it so difficult to remain positive and hopeful about our government these days.
Because it matters not a whit what you thought of the country entering the war in Iraq. It matters not a whit what you think of Bush, or your own chances of becoming President. If you are an elected official, it matters not a whit whether your vocal minority back home wants our military to turn tail and run. The fact of the matter is that we are in a war, right now and right here. And people from all over the world, especially Iraqis and Americans, are dying. And we must figure out a way to end that war and resolve the conflict without millions of people dying. We are truly and well in it now. And if you can not make rational judgments about that, and can not even bare to hear the real facts on the ground to better make up your mind on future strategy and tactics, then you should absent yourself from all discussion. Because you are a whining child, and your thoughts only frustrate and obfuscate the situation, and generally distract the rest of the folks who must work towards the solution.
This reported from Kansas City:
Washington — Kansas Rep. Nancy Boyda is defending her decision to step out of a hearing room last week while a retired Army general testified about U.S. progress in Iraq…
Boyda, a freshman Democrat from Topeka, said she left the House Armed Services Committee hearing on Friday for about 10 minutes during the testimony of retired Gen. Jack Keane…
“There was only so much that you could take until we in fact had to leave the room for a while,” Boyda said after she returned, according to a transcript of the hearing. “So I think I am back and maybe can articulate some things — after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to.”
Keane had testified that since the troop surge began, U.S. forces “are on the offensive and we have the momentum.” He also said that security has improved in every neighborhood and district in and around Baghdad, and that “cafés, pool halls, coffee houses that I visited are full of people.”
When Boyda returned to the hearing, she ridiculed Keane’s description of Iraq “as in some way or another that it’s a place that I might take the family for a vacation–things are going so well–those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country instead of saying, ‘Here’s the reality of the problem.’ “
By the way, if you are actually interested in exactly what Keane said, here’s an interview with him at NRO. He seems fairly realistic and is both positive and negative. In fact, two scholars from The Brookings Institute are also surprised with the change in Iraq, and say so in The New York Times.
The Wall Street Journal has more, commenting on the fact that a major party in Washington is actually invested in us losing the war. They cite this story in the Washington Post in which House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday:
“that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party’s efforts to press for a timetable to end the war…
Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be “a real big problem for us.”
The Claremont Institute recounts even more instances of politicians “exulting in misfortune.” Hugh Hewitt has gone so far as to commemorate ‘The Nancy Boyda Award’ for everyone who denies good news about Iraq or twists it to their negative end. I like this portion of his article best, when recounting his interview with Andrew Sullivan:
“ODDLY ENOUGH, ANDREW SULLIVAN provides the perfect coda to our debut of the Nancy Boyda Award. Earlier today, Andrew was slightly miffled that I suggested that “the left and other anti-war figures like Andrew Sullivan have a lot invested in this war failing and failing miserably.” Andrew took delight when someone took my logic and inverted it, writing, “The right and other pro-war figures like Dean Barnett have a lot invested in this war succeeding and succeeding well.” Andrew commented with a portentous and approving “Hmmmmm.”
Probably unwittingly, Andrew has confirmed my theory that this war’s opponents have forgotten something basic and elemental: Every American, regardless of his party affiliation or political philosophy, has “a lot invested in this war succeeding and succeeding well.” Andrew Sullivan used to know that. Best to ask him why he’s forgotten it.”
Well said Hugh. But it goes far beyond all of this now. To see a war through the prism of partisan politics is to be party to a perspective of the most aggregious and petty. To walk out on briefings of your government that are meant to aid you in making some of the most important decisions of a lifetime, much less a generation, is to back childishly away from your duty and responsibility as a representative of the United States and its people. And you should be ashamed, and are not emotionally fit to lead our country.