Andrew Olmsted, RIP
from an earlier post of his:
Asking the Hard Question
I have been reliably informed that my posting of late has been rather dark. That's probably true, in no small part because it seems that no matter where I turn, I end up reading things like this:
The goal of Democrats -- and their allies -- over the next two years should not and cannot be to stop the war cold turkey. The goal should be to politicize the issue in preparation for 2008.
I may not agree with the assessment of the far left, but at least they're honest. They think we've lost in Iraq and that we should get out now. Contrast that with those who see in Iraq a wonderful opportunity to win more seats for their party, like publius. It pleases me to no end that if I end up getting killed in Iraq, at least my wife can take comfort in knowing my death may help the Democrats win the White House in 2008. Really, that makes it all worthwhile.
Harsh? Absolutely. And I realize that publius' motives are sincere. But while the odds are pretty good I'll live through my trip to Iraq, the fact remains that too many of my comrades will die in Iraq between now and the day a new President takes office in January 2009. If people think that we have lost in Iraq, then they have a duty to say so and do what they can to get us out of Iraq, not position themselves to be in better shape to do so in two years. The idea that Congress cannot stop this war flies in the face of the facts. Congress can quite easily end the war within six months if they so choose. No money equals no war, and while the Democrats aren't strong enough to pass a resolution rescinding the Authorization to Use Military Force, they are certainly strong enough not to pass a budget funding further operations in Iraq. Yes, six months is a long time and more people will die, but that eighteen month window means perhaps 1,000 more dead soldiers and many times more soldiers whose lives will be forever changed by the wounds they receive there.
Of course, doing so would probably be politically devastating to the Democrats. The Republicans would use such a move as ammunition for scurrilous demagoguery, carefully avoiding the questions they've mostly been able to dodge over the past four years about their responsibility for the war. But the war would still end, and while it might hurt the Democrats initially, given that their actions would come roughly a year before the next election, who knows how they might look in the fall of 2008 when American soldiers are no longer coming home in caskets; President George H.W. Bush looked nigh-unbeatable a year before the 1992 election; I assume we all remember how that one turned out.
More to the point, it seems to me that it is the right thing to do, if you believe we should be getting out of Iraq. If you think the surge cannot work and that we've lost, I fail to see how you can justify waiting an additional 18 months because the politics aren't right. John Kerry once asked how you can ask someone to be the last man to die for a mistake. It would appear that for a lot of Democrats, that question is easier to answer than Kerry thought.
Unfortunately, Andrew Olmsted won't be the last good soldier to die for this mistake. Not by a long shot. Political expediency be damned! A Congress that respects our troops and their deaths would have stopped this mistake years ago, may not even have begun it in the first place.
Out of Iraq - NOW. Immediate withdrawal- and if Iraq falls into more chaos, so be it. The deaths belong on the heads of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and every neocon sycophant that profitted off this immoral invasion. It's time for an American presence in Iraq to end. To those of you in Congress, if you don't want more deaths to be on YOUR heads- you will do everything in your power to stop the Republican war profiteering machine.
And I sincerely believe that every one of you in Congress who would continue this "war" at this time, knowing what we all know now- deserves to be imprisoned for the rest of your life as a war criminal and a traitor to our military and our country by squandering them so needlessly.
Jan 5, 2008