But Maher’s position completely ignores the reality that there is a process for revising the Constitution. In fact, it’s been amended 27 times. Not counting the Bill of Rights, that’s 17 alterations, an average of one every 12.76 years. We’re actually ahead of Jefferson’s proposed timetable. But amending the Constitution is difficult. It requires either a two-thirds vote of Congress or the support of two-thirds of state legislatures to pass an amendment, which then must be approved by three quarters of the states. In other words, a measure must have overwhelming public support before it can become a constitutional amendment.
And it’s Maher and his fellow liberals who disapprove of this arduous process. They’d rather have unelected judges “fix” the constitution for us. Hence they’ve found a right to privacy, limited the right to bear arms and stretched the commerce clause to allow the federal government to regulate individual behavior in a myriad of ways.
Finally, speaking of mirror images, we come to the war in Iraq. That country’s fate seems to be in the hands of 10 unelected people -- the Iraq Study Group. No one knows what the ISG will recommend, but The New York Times reports that it may set a timetable for the withdrawal of a large number of American troops. That, however, isn’t what commanders on the ground say they want.
To those military leaders, things seem worse over here than they do in the actual war zone. “When I come to Washington, I feel despair. When I’m in Iraq with my commanders, when I talk to our soldiers, when I talk to the Iraqi leadership, they are not despairing,” Gen. John Abizaid, commander of all American forces in the Middle East, recently told a Senate committee. “I think we can win this fight. I think we are winning this fight,” Abizaid added at Harvard.
Recall that just last year, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., insisted that only people with military experience should give military advice. “I like guys who got five deferments and [have] never been there and send people to war, and then don’t like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done,” Murtha said sarcastically, poking fun at President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
But according to their Wikipedia entries, only four of the ten ISG members have any military experience. Even so, “I think there is fear that anything they say will seem like they are etched in stone tablets,” an anonymous “senior American diplomat” told the Times on Nov. 27. “It’s going to be hard for the president to argue that a group this distinguished, and this bipartisan, has got it wrong.”
Thus the Iraq debate comes full circle. Military experience matters, until it doesn’t. The only question is: If the Iraq Study Group recommends a retreat from Iraq, will its members be called “ChickenDoves?”