Wait, mikeforbes, are you saying that the Senators might be ignorant? Or that they are just so disgustingly politically motivated that they would utter untruths for their own gain? Say it ain’t so!
As for reduction in troop levels and eventual complete withdrawal from Iraq, you are quite right in your assessment of 2006 being pivotal. Without going into any hush-hush business, the pendulum is already swinging in the troop-level reduction direction. As for total withdrawal, we still have limited numbers of troops in Germany, Korea and Japan better than a half-century after the fact.
I am slightly less cynical about this Senate business. Senators are, fundamentally, servants of the public. The public, as evidenced by polls, disapproves of the current situation in Iraq. One may argue that this disapproval comes from an incomplete picture of the situation, but that does not make the concern illegitimate. Senators are rightly motivated if they are seeking clarification on a policy so important, yet evidently highly misunderstood.
I also view the Senate’s political worries as legitimate. A Republican senator believes that his view on the world is the better course for America. In the last several elections America has agreed with him and has sent him, in large numbers, into elected office. This war, however, is growing in unpopularity and a Republican senator now sees chance to continue his ‘good’ work cut-short if measures are not taken to address a largely unpopular course of action. It is obviously poor war policy for an elected official to ebb and flow with the vagaries of public opinion, but he cannot escape that he is, after all, elected. It is impossible to ask a politician to become apolitical, even during war.
Democracy demands that officials be mindful of their constituents if they wish to continue to control policy. Truly ‘efficient’ war is always sacrificed in a democracy, but that is our position unless we would like to appoint a dictator for the duration of the war. Failing that, it falls to democratic political leadership to continually and clearly articulate the reasons for war and the purposes for its continuation.
Remember that in our current conception, war is merely "the continuation of policy [politics] by other means," although that assertion is questionable outside of our very specific geo-political outlook. But that’s another discussion altogether.
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