Politics & Policy

Stomachless Senate

Won't the Senate resolution diminish our chances for success in Iraq?

Editor’s note: Click here to listen to the original radio commentary.

Preparation continues in the House and Senate for the introduction of a nonbinding resolution disapproving of the president’s plan to send additional troops to Iraq in order to quell the violence there. The resolution will have no legal affect. A congressional vote to cut off funding could stop the troops or could stop the war altogether but the critics of the plan don’t have the stomach for that. It might be politically dangerous. One sponsor of the Senate resolution said that the goal is to demonstrate that the president is “on his own.”

Last week I said that it seemed to me that we ought to support the plan for the additional troops (which, incidentally, would bring the troops up to a number that is still less than the number of troops we have had there in the past) because the consequences of an American defeat in Iraq are so great. Understandably people have strong feelings on both sides of this debate. I read this week in The Economist magazine, which openly dislikes President Bush, that they agree with the president’s plan as our last best chance to prevail there. But I can see the arguments for the other side. I can even understand a vote to cut off funds for the war effort if one believes that we have clearly already lost the war and is prepared to accept the consequences of that loss. What I can’t see is this nonbinding resolution of opposition. Is it really in our country’s best interest to signal to the enemy that they probably only have to wait us out a little longer because congressional determination to defeat them is crumbling? Doesn’t such a resolution further diminish our chances for success at the very time our soldiers are preparing to go into battle? And finally, regardless of our politics is this the time to announce to the world that our president is “on his own”?

– Fred Thompson is an actor and former United States senator from Tennessee.


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