Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., began calling for more troops in 2003 -- and he argued that we would need to stay in Iraq for several years. In April 2004, Sen. Biden told Jim Lehrer on PBS, "We don't have enough troops there." And he argued, "It's going to take at least three years to train up an Iraqi police force, it's going to take that long or longer to train an Iraqi army. The truth of the matter is there is no security but U.S. security, a few Brits, a few Spaniards and a few Poles. It is the United States of America."
So why have the Democrats suddenly changed their tune?
It looks like they're just playing politics. If the president is opposed to sending more troops, the Democrats are for it. When the president finally admits he's made a mistake and more troops are needed, the Democrats reverse course.
If the Democrats were smart -- not to mention, principled -- their response to the president's new plan would have been to welcome it, cautiously.
They could have said, "All Americans share the same goal: bringing our troops home and leaving Iraq better than we found it. Toward that end, we are going to give the president six months to show some progress in quelling sectarian violence. We're not sure the president's plan will succeed in bringing stability to Iraq, but it's worth a try."
Instead, by playing politics with their most sacred duty, the Democrats have squandered an opportunity not only to do what is right, but what would have been relatively risk-free.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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