Before political correctness, a person who gave someone a gift and later took it back was called an "Indian giver."
This is what a majority in the House did last week when they "gave" their support to American forces fighting to stabilize Iraq and defeat our enemy and then promptly took it back. How else should one interpret this "nonbinding" resolution when part one said, "Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq," but part two negates part one: "Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on Jan. 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq."
This is like sending your love a valentine last week and this week sending a note withdrawing the sentiment.
Last Saturday, Republicans managed to block a similar effort in the Senate, but by only four votes. Senate Democrats - and a few like-minded Republicans - vowed to try again.
Once, most members of Congress supported the president's prosecution of the war. That was when his approval numbers were sky-high. Now that those numbers have fallen, so has congressional support. Most Democrats claim, falsely, that the November election was a referendum on the war. If the president's policy succeeds, though, two things will happen. First, some members who opposed him will claim they were behind the troop surge all along. Second, most Democrats will assert that success is actually failure because they can't afford politically to admit they were wrong.
Do the troops feel supported by this House resolution? There are no opinion polls of military and civilian workers in Iraq, but two comments have come to my attention. One is a letter to the editor of The Washington Times from John McFarlane, a military trainer for Northrop-Grumman Technical Services in Elizabethtown, Ky. McFarlane writes that he has just returned from Iraq "after coming out of retirement to go there Š I can tell you that the greatest fear of the young service members over there is that the American public will fail to pursue total victory and will leave early, thereby wasting their battle buddies' life and blood. They feel pain every time somebody pays lip service to his or her conscience with the line: ŒI support the troops, but not the policy.' (They) know they are the policy and that you should feel shame if you as an American would commit them to anything less than total victory."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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