"You are the opposition party, but you do not oppose. For the sake of staying in power, you are told, you must not exercise the power you have in the matter of the war..."
This statement (from The Nation's recent open letter to Congress) is, of course, directed at that sorry class of invertebrate known as the Congressional Democrat (see Aaron McGruder's take on this). How true this all is was brought home to me this morning when I opened the Globe to find that of the 12 Massachusetts representatives in Congress, only 7 are definitely voting against the the recent resolution to give Bush the authority to attack Iraq. In Massachusetts. Among those undecided is Lowell's Marty Meehan (who I voted for, no less!), which I find terrribly disappointing.
Senator Kennedy (who I also vote for) has thankfully been pretty direct in his opposition. Following are some quotes from the speech he made on Monday:
...The life and death issue of war and peace is too important to be left to politics. And I disagree with those who suggest that this fateful issue cannot or should not be contested vigorously, publicly, and all across America. When it is the people's sons and daughters who will risk and even lose their lives, then the people should hear and be heard, speak and be listened to... . It is possible to love America while concluding that is not now wise to go to war. The standard that should guide us is especially clear when lives are on the line: We must ask what is right for country and not party.
... There is clearly a threat from Iraq, and there is clearly a danger, but the Administration has not made a convincing case that we face such an imminent threat to our national security that a unilateral, pre-emptive American strike and an immediate war are necessary.
Nor has the Administration laid out the cost in blood and treasure of this operation.
With all the talk of war, the Administration has not explicitly acknowledged, let alone explained to the American people, the immense post-war commitment that will be required to create a stable Iraq.
The President's challenge to the United Nations requires a renewed effort to enforce the will of the international community to disarm Saddam. Resorting to war is not America's only or best course at this juncture. There are realistic alternatives between doing nothing and declaring unilateral or immediate war. War should be a last resort, not the first response...
Now, I don't agree with the whole speech, especially the bit where he declares that the war in Afghanistan was justifiable. Still, it's much better than the "Yessir-Mr.Bushsir-whateveryousaysir" coming from most of his colleagues.