Ross Mackenzie

So what is it about this Congress?

You mean any Congress - at least any recent one.

OK, so what is it?

The woman in the checkout line the other day termed it - about this Congress - "sniveling cowardice." The congressional battle over Iraq recalled for her nothing quite so much as the late days of the American involvement in Vietnam. When Congress cut off funding for the U.S. enterprise in Vietnam, there was nothing to do but cut and run.

Still, just like now, Congress supported the troops.

No, it didn't. In pulling the plug on funding the war, it sabotaged the troops - the entire U.S. effort. The game was up. We had no choice but to tuck tail and get out as fast as we could.

Well, I support the troops. I just don't support what they're doing - killing women and children, torturing prisoners like at Abu Ghraib, supporting an incompetent government and getting between the warring factions in a civil war. All of that is none of our business.

It's syllogistically impossible to support the troops and oppose the mission they're trying to carry out. It's a pseudo construct fashioned by peaceniks in politics and the press. In opposing U.S. involvement, they don't want to be seen as undermining morale or denying the troops the materiel they need. It's so intellectually, you know, inconvenient.

You have to admit that those in Congress are good people, conscientious people. . .

They're weathervane politicians blowin' in the wind. And as supercilious, sanctimonious pols such as John Kerry say, those in the military are dumb, useful fools who - if they had even a semblance of a brain or an education, if they had any sense at all and hadn't screwed up in high school - wouldn't be in the military and certainly wouldn't be in Iraq.

But Bush is an illegitimate president, and he lied about the reasons for going into Iraq - WMDs and expanding the realm of democracy. What kind of nonsense was that? I don't have an argument with the jihadists -

They have one with you - bigtime. And they want your head on a stick.

What about the polls? Most Americans don't think we should be in Iraq. This is a democracy and the politicians are just expressing the public will. Why not admit we were wrong, cut our losses and end it now?

Why not keep our commitments? Why not finish the job we started? Why not remain true to the honor and sacrifice of those who have fallen along the way - or did they in fact die for nothing, as the peaceniks say? Why not keep our eye on the ball that is the long-term liberty of mankind? End the engagement there and we'll be fighting the jihadists here. Better in Baghdad and Samarra than in Richmond and Des Moines.

Congress wouldn't invite terrorism here with a mere no-binding resolution. Why not send a message to the president that he's wrong?

Such a message to the president is a message to everyone - enemies and allies alike. These days it's all politics all the time. The Pelosis and Reids, the Obamas and Dodds and Bidens and Kuciniches and Edwardses and Clintons hunger for the White House - and they'll say anything, do anything, to get it.

Well, at least they won't cut funding for the troops.

Twice the Senate has failed to muster the votes for even a nonbinding resolution condemning the Iraqi mission, but just watch: Senate muckety-mucks insist they will try to limit the 2002 "authorization" they gave the administration in Iraq. Read reduce or cut off funds.

Yet that would be for the mission, not for the troops.

Don't kid yourself. The two are inseparable. Cut funding for bullets for our guys - no matter how you couch it - and inevitably you make it easier for the enemy to nail you. That may or may not meet your definition of cowardly and suicidal, but it certainly would update the dictionary definition of idiocy.

You don't have a whole lot that's good to say about this Congress, do you?

Not given the games it's playing with our troops in Iraq, with the future of freedom worldwide and with the very survival of you and your grandchildren - and mine.


Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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