War and Politics

by Steve on March 24, 2007

Democrats seem to be fond of legislating the battlefield: VietNam, Somalia, and now Iraq. They collectively must suffer from very short memory – such action always costs lives in the long run and weakens our reputation while emboldening our enemies. Murtha, Pelosi, and the rest of the newly-returned-to-power gang voted 218 to 212 (gaining only two Republicans) on a supplemental funding bill. The only positive aspect of this bill (which will not likely pass in the Senate in its present form) is that it provides roughly $100 billion in funding for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But (you knew there had to be one) there are conditions which must be met or we essentially pull out. What makes these politicians think they are better qualified to manage and direct the war from Washington than the commanders in the fight? War by legislation has never been successful. (As a side-note: the Democrats attached an additional $24 billion in domestic spending to the bill.)

Representative Mike Pence (R- Indiana) said it best:

We all know – with the deadlines for withdrawal, retreat and defeat – this bill is constitutionally flawed. Congress can declare war. Congress can choose to fund or not to fund military operations. But from the very inception of this nation, no truth has been more evident: Congress cannot conduct war.”

Let the men and women who have dedicated their lives to “mission success” do the job. They are the professionals and they alone know what needs to be done. Give them the assets they require and get the hell out of their way. Until we hear front-line commanders telling us that we are wasting lives and time in a dead-end mission we have no basis, no expertise that could possibly allow for military decisions to be made from Congress. Such action would defy logic and reason.

The philosopher/poet George Santayana is credited with saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The vacuum created by a quick and untimely American withdrawal is not something that we should forget or want to repeat.


Saigon in 1975 is certainly not Baghdad in 2007. Different wars in very different times but the lesson that needs to be passed down is the inverse relationship between political oversight and military success. There will always be politics within the military but it is no place for politicians.

In response to the vote:

At the White House, surrounded by veterans and families of soldiers, Mr. Bush angrily denounced the bill as one in which Democrats had “voted to substitute their judgment for that of our military commanders on the ground in Iraq.”

That should never happen. Not again.

{ 1 comment }

MaxDamage March 24, 2007 at 23:40

It is not an accurate quote, insofar as we know, but I find it telling that this is not a new phenomenon.

“It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I’m readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I’ll, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials — after the fact.”

— Robert E. Lee, 1863

I submit that the substitution of “politician” for “editor” is equally valid in this instance.

– Max

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