Get Off the Surge; Go Off On the Contractors

Posturing is not governing. It’s like a farmer wearing an expensive Italian suit to plant potatoes – you can only stand there looking good for so long before your customers wonder why you aren’t bending down and getting dirty so you can fill their orders.

Look, I’m all for Congress resolutely standing against the President’s surge (ewww), but let’s move on. America’s tragic policy in Iraq deserves all the attention and light Congress can shed on it, but there’s no need to bulldog what everyone already knows: the country is opposed to the Surge.

The President has just asked for a lot more money to pay for his failed policy, and promises that he’ll ask for even more next year. The problem is, all this vocal opposition to the Surge has put those of us against the war in a difficult position. We cannot hold off funding the troops and come out smelling good in the long run, regardless of the probable failure of the “new way forward”. If we want to attack the White House’s funding proposal we have to start questioning where the money is going, and get off of, sadly, who it’s killing.

More waste from contractors like Parsons, Haliburton and KBR has come to light in the last week. The report from the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction cites numerous abuses of our money; that is what we should question. It is the one thing we actually can do something about.

We can talk about resolutions against Bush, but in the end, his word is the dragon’s breath that sends brave young men and women into danger. The various Congressional resolutions are not only non-binding, they are non-gagging too. We can’t keep him or Cheney from talking (ahh to dream) and that makes this principled stand little more than a thin ribbon of raffia on a pole in a hurricane.

Let’s focus our attention on the contractors. Let’s start that immediately, and make it part of the congressional budget hearings. Let’s not appropriate funds for inappropriate work. The real way to get to the administration is to bite the hand that feeds it: big special interest contractors. A well reasoned confrontation on this front will put the administration back on the defensive in a way that will keep them from being able to claim that we are “emboldening the enemy”.

Besides, it’s the right way to deliver the potatoes.


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