Skip to main content

Where’s The Parade?

President Barack Obama is due to end the war in Iraq – with a speech. It should be brought to a close with a parade – several parades, in fact.

Obama no doubt will mention in his speech his own valiant efforts to bring to a close the war in Iraq, without over emphasizing the role played by lesser lights such as ex-President George Bush, whose successful efforts, after frequent failures, to implement a successful war strategy implemented by General David Petraeus were vigorously opposed by congressional Democrats and a left wing media that dubbed Petraeus “General Betray-Us.” Obama's view of the surge at the time it was proposed was not ambivalent.

The left’s misgivings about the war are replicated in statements recently made by Connecticut’s Democratic congressional delegation on the occasion of Obama’s formal declaration announcing an end to direct military engagement by American soldiers in Iraq and the withdrawal of all but 50,000 support troops remaining in the country to serve in an advisory capacity.

Rep. Jim Himes, a 4th District Democrat, is happy that a “sorry” chapter in American foreign policy finally will be closed. “What did we really achieve,” Himes asked, “apart from removing one awful dictator who had nothing to do with Sept. 11th? We paid far, far, far too high a cost to achieve those things.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro said the Iraq war was “misconceived” and "a colossal waste of resources and people." The situation in Iraq, DeLauro noted, “remains precarious” even though some troops will remain in the country in an advisory capacity.

DeLauro has not ventured an opinion as to whether the precarious situation might have been made more precarious had Democrats been successful in bringing combat troops home before Petraeus’ strategy had been allowed to succeed. Nor has she rated the present precarious situation in Iraq with the present precarious situation in Afghanistan, a war about which she may have misgivings.

Rep. Joe Courtney rated the withdrawal of combat troops “a significant milestone,” warned the U.S. against “taking a victory lap,” and said the “jury is still out” on the question: Did the Iraq war make us safer or not? Courtney lamented the effect that the presumably successful war in Iraq had on the status of the United States: “…we paid a very heavy price in terms of our… standing in the world.”

A reasonable man, Courtney might agree that U.S. standing in the world would have received a more fatal blow had some anti-war Democrats been successful in prematurely withdrawing troops and aid before the Petraeus surge. And, of course, the now successful venture in Iraq, which ridded the country of a mass murdering tyrant and planted the still tender shoots of democracy in his wake, is a grievous disappointment to Iran, a country that thinks of itself as a more vigorous center of Wahhabi doctrine and Hanbali law than Saudi Arabia and – now that it has acquired, with the help of China, a facility to shoot rockets into Israel – a nuclear tipped force to be reckoned with in the Middle East.

A victory lap, and more especially a victory parade, would be crassly premature. But a welcome home parade – several welcome home parades – might be therapeutic and unifying.

Post-war parades are therapeutic because they signal a terminus, permanent or temporary, to a national agony. Welcoming home parades are unifying because they allow those with different viewpoints to stand together in honor of returning troops.

Early in March 2007, Rep. John Larson of the impregnable 1st District unleashed his Iraq Bill, which repealed congressional authority to use force in Iraq. Larson and Sen. Chris Dodd were very much interested at the time of “reversing the Bush doctrine of unilateralism:

“The bill, which is binding,” Larson noted, “would repeal the authorization for use of military force against the Iraq resolution from 2002. It also outlines ways in which the Bush doctrine of unilateralism and preemption have ignored the precedence of past foreign policy and diplomacy; a policy that has exacerbated the situation in Iraq and has forced us to neglect the situation in Afghanistan. It provides for a sense of Congress asking for a new vote on the war in Iraq based on the current situation, calls for abandonment of the Bush doctrine of preemption and unilateralism, while realigning U.S. foreign policy by enhancing diplomatic relations in the region and redirecting critical support to Afghanistan enabling more aggressive pursuit of Osama Bin Laden and other terrorist organizations.”

Larson’s bill, regarded by some as little more than a campaign document, would have made it impossible for Obama, the titular head of Larson’s party, to bring home the remaining American troops to “Welcome Home” parades – one to be held in New York, another in Washington D.C., others in whatever states wish to honor and reward valiant American troops.

In New York, one may imagine the parade winding past a reviewing stand placed at ground zero. And why not invite some prominent imams in the city to share the stand with city leaders, national leaders and people in New York who would welcome a show of solidarity with the same eagerness with which they would welcome home returning American troops?

In Connecticut – if Brad Davis, Mr. Parade, could be persuaded to organize such an event – the reviewing stand might include the new Democratic war hawks who support, with reservations, Obama’s “war of choice” in Afghanistan.


Unknown said…
Very consistent with CT's emphasis on the "damaged warrior" aspect of war service. Jodi Rell's radio ads on how Connecticut government was going to give them all the help they deserved to get over their ordeal etc... But a parade? That doesn't fit the narrative
Don Pesci said…
I really do think things of this kind are therapeutic. Obama says he wants to turn the page on the Iraq chapter, and this would be an honorable way to do it. Why slink off without paying our respects to the fallen heroes of Iraq, and to those who could come home to a hero’s welcome?

Popular posts from this blog

The Blumenthal Burisma Connection

Steve Hilton, a Fox News commentator who over the weekend had connected some Burisma corruption dots, had this to say about Connecticut U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal’s association with the tangled knot of corruption in Ukraine: “We cross-referenced the Senate co-sponsors of Ed Markey's Ukraine gas bill with the list of Democrats whom Burisma lobbyist, David Leiter, routinely gave money to and found another one -- one of the most sanctimonious of them all, actually -- Sen. Richard Blumenthal."

Dave Walker, Turning Around The Misery Index

Dave Walker, who is running for Lieutenant Governor on the Republican Party ticket, is recognized by most credible political observers as perhaps the most over qualified candidate for Lieutenant Governor in state history.
He is a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame and for ten years was the Comptroller General of the United States. When Mr. Walker talks about budgets, financing and pension viability, people listen.
Mr. Walker is also attuned to fine nuances in political campaigning. He is not running for governor, he says, because he had moved to Connecticut only four years ago and wishes to respect the political pecking order. Very few people in the state think that, were he governor, Mr. Walker would know less about the finance side of government than his budget chief.

Murphy Stumbles

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has been roughly cuffed by some news outlets, but not by Vox, which published on April 16 a worshipful article on Connecticut’s Junior Senator, “The Senator of State: How Connecticut’s Chris Murphy, a rising Democratic star, would run the world.”
On April 15, The Federalist mentioned Murphy in an article entitled “Sen. Chris Murphy: China And The World Health Organization Did Nothing Wrong. The lede was a blow to Murphy’s solar plexus: “Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy exonerated China of any wrongdoing over the global pandemic stemming from the novel Wuhan coronavirus on Tuesday.
“’The reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did, is not because of anything the WHO [World Health Organization] did,’ said Murphy during a prime-time interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.”