As a retired Navy captain, I believe in accountability.
Friday’s vote by the U.S. House of Representatives that would set a deadline by which U.S. troops must be out of Iraq concerns me deeply.
Not only would such a deadline prove a great advantage to our enemies, but such legislation (if enacted) could have the opposite effect of that intended, resulting in more American casualties. Military commanders faced with a deadline may feel pressure to “make things happen” sooner than they should; accepting greater risk than favors our troops; and the troops on the ground (though professionals), may be less “focused” on their tasks at hand when they know they’ll soon be going home. The wording of the bill, its manner of presentation on the House floor, and the way it will play domestically and abroad demonstrates a degree of disunity that will have a demoralizing effect on our troops.
I agree that what we’re trying to accomplish in Iraq (and how to measure success) needs some re-evaluation, but I also know that our troops in Iraq are saving lives (Iraqi lives today and perhaps American lives in the long term). Our troops believe that what they’re doing matters! With Friday’s vote, Congress is signaling the troops that what they’re doing doesn’t matter.
Clearly Congress is not happy with how things are going and they want answers from the commander in chief. They deserve answers, but “getting the president’s attention” by jeopardizing our military’s effectiveness, severely damaging our national unity and emboldening our enemies, is wrong! It also seems to be the case that the Democrats want to send a clear message to the president and the Republicans that there’s a new party in power and that the status quo is no more. This is partisan politics at its very worst; and for which they, too, will be held “accountable.” Shame on them!