3.24.2007

U.S. House Vote Against War is a Vote of No Confidence

Expressing the will of the people, the U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday to impose a cutoff deadline on the Iraq war, agreeing by a thin margin to pull combat troops out by next year and pushing the new Democratic-led Congress ever closer to a showdown with President Bush.

See Dems Challenge Bush With Iraq Timetable by Anne Flaherty, AP, 3.24.07.

The 218-212 vote, mostly along party lines, was a hard-fought victory for Democrats...Passage marked [Democrats] most brazen challenge yet to Bush on a war that has killed more than 3,200 troops and lost favor with the American public.

Understandably, President Bush is angry about the vote and has threatened to veto the measure. But frankly, he has only himself and his administration to blame. While the public went along with the Iraq invasion--even when military leaders and allies cautioned against it--the administration consistently fell short in terms of military intelligence, war strategy and public communications.

My view is that the House's vote is really a vote of no confidence in the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq and the larger 'war of terror,' and not an expression of pacifism--as some on the left would claim. Surge or no surge, a rise or fall in the number of explosions--it doesn't much matter at this point. The public has lost confidence--and trust is not recoverable.

Mythology aside, Americans are comfortable with the role of a 'warrior state'. America are hawks. Time and time again, Americans have proven their preparedness to go to war--even when that fight is half way around the world. But equally, Americans have proven that they will not support an endless, poorly conceived and/or poorly executed war--no matter the worthiness of the architects' intentions.

If we had a parliamentary system such as in Israel or England, President Bush would already be history. But we don't. So the public expresses its will indirectly through votes such as the one that just occurred--and it waits for the president's term to end.