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Running From War While Running For Office

Would it be out of place for a humble country boy ask the U.S. senators to take up some serious business–especially those running so fast for president? There are more important matters to be done than running around 12 months before the first primaries raising money and spewing hot air.

I double-dog dare these reporters to ask a potential Democratic president what he or she would do about this very preventable war. They never give a simple answer but reply with a doctoral dissertation. They will go on about how important diplomacy is; possible phased withdrawal; but not just now. They put the blame on the Iraqis to work this out–remember they voted for a constitution and parliament.

Getting a straight answer is the last thing these senators dare do. (Is it true that the word “senator” comes from the Latin meaning senile?)

I read somewhere that there is a hole in the American political system where the leadership used to be. For the last 231 years no country in history has accomplished what these <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />United States has done in many fields. Nobody compares to our success.

But now that progressive approach seems to be slipping off the charts. We rebuilt Germany and Japan after World War II. Now can’t provide adequate health care, clean up the forsaken city of New Orleans or stop the killing of our soldiers. Our leaders broke Iraq, and we can’t fix it.

How this killing ends is not easy to answer. That is why Congress and the White House must get to how this all ends. (Bush is off trying to sell his ideas to the public instead of being in Washington sweating out answers like LBJ did over the last days of Vietnam.)

In Rick Atkinson’s book, In the Company of Soldiers, are enlightening first-hand experiences in ending the war. Thomas Ricks’ Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, is another book that is balanced and factual. They do not have all the answers, but they help us more than the empty words of politicians wanting to get elected for something.

President Dwight Eisenhower (who had a hand in shutting down the “Korea Police Action” as some called that war) said in 1954: “Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.”

Today, instead of using the wisdom of Ike, a stable full of full-time politicians are clamoring for photo-ops to enhance their standing rather than preserving what is good and fruitful as full-time senators.

There ought to be a law that requires public officials to check into the work place every day and no electioneering until a month before Election Day. The stuff that goes on in Washington is “enough to make your teeth hurt.” (So said Jack Cafferty on CNN.)

Britt Towery is a former missionary and free-lance writer.

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