February 28, 2007, 9:55 A.M.
Tilting at Oil Rigs: Congratulations to our friends Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter, both of whom unseated incumbent Republican congressmen to win seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. As y ou know, we carried Paul’s banner here on our site througout the election.
We were also thrilled with local elections where Jim Carroll was elected by an overwhelming majority in his second run and several long time state representatives were unseated by Beth Arsenault, her mother, Judy Reever, and by former state representative Jane Wood. Kathy Sgambati defeated former state representative Jim Fitzgerald in his attempt at a state senate seat. All in all, a good showing on the local scene to match the good news nationally. We are looking forward to the 2008 elections to complete the sweep.
Despite these electoral victories, we have yet to gain traction on a few important issues. Moves to condemn the Bush plan for raising troop levels in Iraq amount to nothing more than spitting in the wind. On the local scene, we are still not moving toward a reasonable education funding plan. While it has only been a few months since people elected in November were sworn into their offices, I’m afraid that the clear message in support of action and change against inaction and failed policy will be diluted as time goes on.
My impatience certainly stems from intense frustration with the actions of our government and the loss of respect and international support for our government and its policies brought on by the arrogant, isolated and incompetent actions of our national government. The “support our troops” mantra which sustained American involvement in Viet Nam for more than a decade has worn thin, so thin in fact that active duty soldiers are beginning to take the extraordinary step of speaking out against the war while still serving. They recently filed an appeal for redress with Congress asking that the war be ended.
Regardless of what Bush and his few remaining supporters want to call it, Iraq is in the throes of a civil war. American involvement is so ineffective that Iran is emboldened enough to take an increasingly active and more direct role in the conflict. In the fact of this development a bloodied and beaten U.S. administration rattles its saber in the direction of Tehran. Sounds more like Don Quixote than the U.S. of old.
The terror of 9/11 has devolved into the anger and frustration of four years of failed policy. Bin Laden remains at large, the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan and 3,161 U.S. soldiers have died and another 23,417 have been wounded in Iraq with no end in sight. I have called Iraq a quagmire from the beginning. I have also compared it in a political, military and historic sense to Viet Nam. Somehow being right doesn’t feel so good, because in the face of the inevitable failure of U.S. post-invasion policy and involvement in Iraq, our government, the newly elected congress included, continues to argue and debate. The soldiers who filed the appeal for redress show the most courage of all of us. The appeal says simply “As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.” This matter-of-fact, straightforward statement should become the policy of our nation. We need to stop tilting at oil rigs and bring them home without further discussion or debate. Save the debate for alternative energy and the environment, funding the restoration of our crumbling infrastructure, education funding and reform and a true, honest and globally responsible national defense policy. Right now, our talent and treasure is being squandered on a war we can’t win.