There’s been a pervasive tendency among Democrats, since it became clear that the Bush administration would dig in its heels rather than compromise with the new Democratic Congress, to simply shrug, throw up one’s hands, and write off the next 22 months, at least with regards to Iraq. (Or see Greg Djerejian, here, on a similar attitude towards US Israel-Palestine policy.)
Last night I had dinner with a guy who lives here doing landmine removal work. His brother, who’s in the National Guard, is about to ship out to Iraq for his third tour. The brother had to re-up for financial reasons, even though he’s been against the Iraq war pretty much from the get-go — he voted for Nader twice, but he’s got kids to support. The first two tours, the Nat-Guard brother was doing house-to-house searches; he’s a 41-year-old with a Master’s degree, and he made damn sure that the green, trigger-happy, scared 20-year-old kids in his unit never shot anybody by accident. (In fact, they never shot anybody at all; given that they never encountered any resisting insurgents while doing the searches, anybody they shot would’ve been by accident.) But there were 2 other 30-something NCOs in his unit back then. They’ve both declined to re-enlist in the Guard. So now he’s out on his own with a bunch of kids, and his mine-removal brother is sure he’s going to get himself killed.
For some people, in other words, “22 more months” is simply not an adequate option. When every day ups the risk that your brother is going to get killed, that means that every day Democrats decline to press the issue for political reasons is a day spent playing Russian roulette.
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