It may be that higher-ups are to blame for what went wrong. But, if it turns out the abuses were perpetrated by a few rogues, Tauscher's remarks represent another example of Congress beating up on those fighting the war, thus making an impossible and grueling job that much more thankless.
Tauscher, of course, is aiming at the top, even if she hasn't called for Rummy's resignation. She faults the Bush administration for not sending enough troops, which led to overworking the troops on the prison detail. On this point, I agree with her.
I wouldn't be so high and mighty as Tauscher in asserting that things would be hunky-dory if the Pentagon ceded its authority in Iraq to State Department bureaucrats. When you have diplomats in charge of making decisions on military matters, problems are not eliminated. There are just different problems.
Tauscher also cites the U.S.-led coalition's lack of "international legitimacy." It never matters, you see, that troops from the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy and Poland fight and die with us. The critics only recognize the international coalition when Spain, Honduras and the Dominican Republic leave. Then, as Tauscher did, they use the defections as proof that the coalition they never recognized is, egads, falling apart.
How is the United States supposed to win a war if even congressional leaders who voted for the war frame every setback as proof that Bush cannot win the war?
Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., understood this when he said last week that he could not help but notice that "Those who have killed hundreds of Americans in uniform in Iraq working to liberate Iraq and protect our security never apologized."
Tauscher now wants the Pentagon to release the remaining prison-abuse photos. She's right; it's better to get the photos out once and for all rather than to "die by a thousand cuts."
But after the disclosure, it's time for the left to start supporting the war instead of using every bit of bad news as another rope to wrap around President Bush's neck. Tauscher is among the Democrats who voted for this war -- they ought to want to win it.
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