Earlier this year, top Democrats in both houses of Congress refused to attend a bipartisan briefing offered by General David Petraeus to discuss the challenges in Iraq. Next week they’ll have another chance when the General comes to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers in the House and Senate on our progress in the Global War on Terror.
General Petraeus was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate to be the U.S. commander of the Multinational Force in Iraq. He has a clear track record as a straight-shooter and as someone who gets things done. So one has to wonder why next week’s important briefing almost didn’t happen. According to Roll Call, when the Pentagon tried to schedule the briefing through House Democrats they were declined – twice – because Democrats were originally “too busy” to schedule anything.
Too busy? The only thing that could be more important than hearing from the top general in a war effort that is critical to America’s long-term national security would be providing our troops the resources they need to succeed. But Democrats certainly haven’t been busy doing that.
Instead, Democratic leaders pushed through a pork-laden surrender bill that would undermine General Petraeus and our troops on the ground. In an editorial titled “Do We Really Need a General Pelosi,” the Los Angeles Times said the Democrats’ plan is “an unruly mess: bad public policy, bad precedent and bad politics. If the legislation passes, Bush says he’ll veto it, as well he should.”
After that, House Democrats left Washington for the first two weeks of April in no apparent hurry to begin negotiations with the Senate on providing our troops with the funding they need. Such delays in funding, says the Secretary of the Army, “carry consequential effects, including substantial disruption to installation functions, decreasing efficiency and potentially further degrading the readiness of non-deployed units.”
Lawmakers often receive information that is filtered through media reports, bolstered by suspect polling data, or drummed up by ideologically-driven activist groups. When it comes to America’s commitment to fighting al Qaeda, this information-deficit can have real consequences.