Friday, February 16, 2007

The "Slow Plan"

Matt Stoller at myDD is frustrated with Steny Hoyer playing to the "support the troops" meme and thus "prolonging" the war:

I don't disagree with Chris when he writes about his support for a slow plan to bring the war to an end. From Murtha and Pelosi's perspective, it's the only plan that makes sense. I'm just not convinced that there's enough Democratic unity to get it done. Here's where the problem lies.

Despite their inability to offer an alternative to the Democratic resolution, Republicans managed yesterday to lure Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to the floor to defend his party and declare that they would not cut funding for the troops....

"I was watching this debate from my office and I was constrained to come to the floor," Hoyer said. "There are legitimate issues raised by this resolution as to whether or not you support or do not support the escalation that has been proposed by the president... No one ought to come to this floor and say that this Congress, 435 of us, will not support whatever soldier or sailor or Marine is deployed to Iraq...Whether it's today or tomorrow, they will have our support."
Hoyer is reinforcing the dishonest and dishonorable concept that Congressional use of its authority to wield the purse is 'not supporting the troops'. There are plenty of ways to defund the Iraq war, and no Democrats are suggesting anything of the sort. In fact, by arguing that Congress won't defund the war because that would be anti-troop, Hoyer is basically forcing our troops to stay in a dangerous situation longer than they would have to otherwise.

It's this kind of reinforcement of right-wing frames that is so destructive to Democratic unity and to progressive policies. Hoyer isn't a bad man, but he always seems to play into these awful positions that prevent us from achieving what we need to get done.
The problem with this criticism is that avoiding this smear appears to be the whole purpose of the Democratic "slow plan" for getting out of Iraq, at least according to the article I originally saw on TalkLeft that I blogged about yesterday. So it seems odd to me to approve of a plan to do so, and yet disapprove of the necessary posturing that will go with such a plan. To paraphrase, you end a war with the Majority Leader you have, not the one you wish you had.

Again, I understand that Democrats must work with limitations in getting us out of the war in Iraq. And if their "slow plan" is a reflection of those limitations, then so be it. They'll have my broad support ending this war, however they choose to go about it. But their motivation should not be avoiding accusations of being soft on national security. The vast unpopularity of this war shields them from such accusations, and concern over such smearing indicates insecurity and an unwillingness to exercise leadership in ending this war.

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