“Turning Their Backs”

Feb 052007
Authors: Nick Hemenway

In the last several weeks, I have seen a subtle but scary shift in the political will in Washington. On Jan. 10, President Bush laid out the new plan for Iraq, which centered on a change in leadership and adding over 20,000 troops.

Although they themselves have suggested similar plans in the past, the Democrats predictably came out in opposition to Bush’s plan.

To see the hypocrisy, let’s take a look at what our good friend Hillary Clinton has said on the topic of troop levels. On Dec. 7, 2003, Hillary told George Stephanopoulos on his TV show, “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” that “what I have said is that I do think we need more troops.”

Now let’s zoom to about three weeks ago, Jan. 17, when the esteemed senator from New York announced her views on the issue at a press conference in Washington. “Rather than escalation of U.S. troops – which I do not believe will contribute to long-term success in Iraq – we should begin a phased redeployment of U.S. troops as a way to put pressure on the Iraqi government to take responsibility to its own security and future.”

Yes, this is the same person who now wants to be the president of the United States.

But perhaps the most telling moment came at the State of the Union address on Jan. 23. Historically, the State of the Union has been a spectacle at which we can see in simple terms what side of the issues each party is on. All one needs to do is note which party stands and applauds or sits after an issue is mentioned. Most of the time, the reactions are very predictable. Not this time, though.

During his speech, the president mentioned the need for us all to support the troops. Immediately, Nancy Pelosi and friends stood up with the Republicans to applaud our troops. However, Bush then stressed the importance of victory in Iraq. This time, the majority of Democrats, including Pelosi, sat motionless while the Republicans stood up.

What shocked me was not the fact that victory is not something they’re interested in, but rather that they would allow the cameras to see it.

We are at the figurative political crossroad for the war in Iraq, and the Democrats have made a terrible choice.

I believe that victory in Iraq is no longer something the Democrats want. They are invested in defeat.

Given the positions they’ve taken and the statements they’ve made, they know they cannot survive politically when we win in Iraq.

Still not convinced? Why won’t the Democrats even give the president’s plan a chance to win? Why are Democrats in Congress drafting a non-binding resolution to voice their opposition to the president’s actions, even though it wouldn’t do anything except demoralize our troops, as both Gen. Petraeus and Secretary Gates have clearly stated? The answer is because winning is no longer a viable option for the Democrats.

Victory in Iraq should be the goal for everyone in our country, regardless of which side of the aisle you stand on.

Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears every Tuesday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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