Decisions vs. non decisions in Washington

Debra Saunders:

"What we pay people in Washington for is to make decisions," former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told the audience at the California GOP convention in Sacramento Saturday.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, members of Congress have been acting as if they were sent to Washington to make non-decisions. Witness the nonbinding House resolution being debated this week in which members profess to support U.S. troops in Iraq, but, "Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on Jan. 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional U.S. combat troops to Iraq."

The Senate couldn't even manage to pass a meaningless Iraq resolution when it tried earlier this month -- a non-accomplishment for which the senators, over time, may be glad.

What are Americans to think of the House resolution?

Politicians say they support the troops, then they undercut the efforts of Gen. David Petraeus, the new military commander in Iraq, to assemble the soldiers he believes he needs to win. Last year, war critics bashed Bush for not listening to Gen. Eric Shinseki, who wanted the administration to send more troops to Iraq. Now, they are supporting resolutions against more troops.

As Giuliani noted: "What I don't get is the nonbinding resolution. I don't get that. In the business world, two weeks spent on a nonbinding resolution would be considered nonproductive." He also called it "a comment without making a decision."

It felt good to see a politician looking at a run for the White House without first reconfiguring his platform to reflect polls that show Americans souring on the war in Iraq.

The latest USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of voters disapprove of the Bush troop surge. Some 56 percent say that going to war was a mistake. But Giuliani didn't run from the war in his remarks, because it is too late to turn back.

Granted, Giuliani was speaking to Republicans, but the pack of journalists in the back of the room guaranteed that his words would be passed on to the general public.

Still, Giuliani had no problem comparing Bush's situation today with that of President Abraham Lincoln during the dark days of the Civil War. Giuliani noted that naysayers dismissed Lincoln as a dimwitted incompetent during the 1863 draft riots in New York and the crushing military defeats that occurred before Lincoln found the right general in Ulysses S. Grant. Because Lincoln did not give in to defeat, the Union prevailed and slavery died.

Giuliani added, "In time of war, you don't talk about pulling out."

Except in time of elections in time of war, when politicians do talk about pulling out. Some Democrats argue that Bush should end the war to show that he has heard the message voters sent in November 2006. Never mind that, now in power, the Democrats remain afraid to cut off war funding lest they be blamed if events in Iraq blow up in their faces. So they stick to nonbinding resolutions.

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The fact of the matter is that this war cannot be ended with retreat. The enemy is not going to stop fighting the US if we retreat, but he will be in a stronger position to continue the war if we retreat. That is one of the things that makes the Democrat position so ridiculous. It is a fantasy strategy that is contrary to evidence of what has happened when we left Lebanon and Somalia. The enemy is the one who decided he was at war with us and the Democrats ignored it when Clinton was President, giving us 9-11. The enemy will still be at war with us and pl;anning attacks on us whether we are in Iraq or not. However, when we win in Iraq it will be a devastating blow to the enemy that has called it a central front.

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