The Politics of War

The junior Senator from Virginia and decorated war hero and former Secretary of the Navy, Jim Webb, introduced an amendment to H.R.1585 (To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2008 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.), with the purpose of specifying minimum periods between deployment of units and members of the Armed Forces deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

This amendment lost by a vote of 56 to 40 generally along party lines (a vote of 60 was required for passage).

The senior Senator from Virginia and previous Undersecretary of the Navy, John Warner, introduced a parallel amendment to express the sense of Congress on Department of Defense policy regarding dwell time.

This amendment lost by a vote of 55 to 45 generally along party lines.

Anyone following this legislation and following the debate on CSPAN can only scratch their head and wonder if our elected Senate is any more wiser, any more adult, than are high school politics. The Senate fiddles while America burns (or more accurately our forces in Iraq).

Senators who should be elected based on their integrity, wisdom, intelligence, experience, and fair mindedness would NOT so routinely vote on party insistence but on their own individual best judgment. Such voting solely on party lines is not indicative of a high level of judgment. Would we not as well turn over the vote to the respective party headquarters? We deserve a government that is run on the best interests of the common good – not he best interests of the common party.

Were this just one example it might be excused but this is more the rule of our times and is largely responsible, I argue, for the intransigence, grid lock, and ineffectiveness of a Congress that procrastinates on moving forward to solve our common and serious problems and rather continues to push into the future any effective action or any real world solutions.

As the election season heats up in Virginia for local elections on 6 November, it is our duty to make choices based not so much on party, as on the integrity, wisdom, intelligence, experience, and fair mindedness of the candidates. And to do that we all need to make informed choices BEFORE we enter the voting booth and are confronted, perhaps for the first time, by the candidates’ names.


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