There was a partisan spectacle on The House floor Thursday, in what Republicans chose to call a debate that was an insult to thinking people of both parties. We saw an arrogant celebration of the majority’s goal to back Democrats into a corner by forcing a vote on a non-binding resolution – – a vague treatise about “completing the mission” in Iraq that dismissed any notion of a timetable for ending U. S. occupation there.
Most disturbing about the resolution and the right’s talking points is their failure to examine the daily realities faced by our troops and the long-ranging effects of our current policies both here and in Iraq. Nothing is gained by superficial comments such as those heard on Thursday about what a fine patriot Speaker Boehner is to bring this resolution to the floor, except for those who hope to gain political momentum from patting themselves on the back.
It is clear, whatever our resolve with respect to Iraq, that it has become increasingly difficult for our forces and our policy makers to determine exactly who the enemy is. It is easy, even if it begs the basic issues, for the president to focus his remarks on terrorism as if that were the real reason for our presence in Iraq and despite the fact that it is precisely our presence that unleashed splinter terrorist groups to mingle with insurgents and warring religious factions.
And it does no credit to our country to hear Republican house members reiterate one of their favorite points on the floor — that it is better for us to “fight them over there than to fight them here”, in that nebulous war on terrorism we are said to be conducting far from our shores. One can’t help but wonder how Iraqis, as they live lives of fear in a war-torn landscape, feel about the suggestion that their country is being used as our battleground for goals that have as yet provided them with neither security nor economic benefit.
It passes all rational thought that the country should be roiled again by such obvious partisanship and such little responsible stewardship. How it is possible for men like Karl Rove and other partisans, who have never seen military service, to demean the persons of genuine patriots and war veterans like John Kerry, John Murtha and Max Cleland is beyond imagining. And yet, time after time, that is what emerges in platform speeches and on right-wing talk shows. Have the Rove folks no shame and why is there no sustained outrage on the part of Democrats?
What voters everywhere should pick up on is the weakness of positions that rely on ad hominem attacks instead of substance. For Rove and others to suggest that people who oppose or question the administration’s agenda are traitors or supporters of Al Qaeda or terrorism in general is both despicable and meaningless except in the eyes of those gleeful partisans for whom a mindless attack mode is their only point of reference.
And what should have become obvious by now is that attacks by strategists like Rove and self-aggrandizing pundits like Ann Coulter are not based on intelligent thought but seek political advantage by activating emotional hot buttons. Denigrating war heroes is an astonishingly crass insult to Americans of whatever political persuasion. Demeaning the integrity of those wives who lost husbands on 9/11 because they sought to find answers for why the attacks happened is not only beneath contempt, it is also profoundly ignorant. I look at those women and see pain; Ms. Coulter looks at them and sees an opportunity to score political points among those who find her amusing.
And Godless Democrats? In light of a party that has used religion as a political tool despite its consistent failure to adhere to Christian or any other religious or moral principles, what slanderous nonsense. It is Ms. Coulter’s version of Christianity that confuses religion with morality, and her party that chooses to confuse the American people by refusing to have a real debate about its policies and hiding behind personal attacks designed to denigrate all who disagree.

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