By: Brian Sikma
On the evening of July 12th, less than 2 weeks after the Iraq surge plan was fully implemented, two of Indiana’s Blue Dog Democratic congressmen, Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) and Rep. Baron Hill (D), voted to withdraw American troops from Iraq. The vote was significant for several reasons, not the least of which was the fact that Rep. Joe Donnelly broke a March 1st promise to vote against “an immediate or arbitrary withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.”
This is now the second time that Rep. Donnelly has voted for a measure to withdraw American troops from Iraq after his March promise to oppose any arbitrary withdrawal. The fact that Rep. Donnelly has now voted against his promise to a constituent not once, but twice, is highly disturbing. Rep. Donnelly was elected in part after promising to clean up a culture of corruption that he says his Republican predecessors party contributed to.
In recent days Rep. Hill has come under pressure from anti-war activists in his 9th Congressional District. This pressure may have contributed to his vote to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq even as gains are being made and key battles won.
Congress failed in two primary areas in this vote. First, they crossed a Constitutional boundary that allows the President alone to be the sole decision maker in war policy. This attempt by Democrats to accomplish their objective at any price speaks volumes about their commitment to the rule of law and government by the people. In 2006 Democrats were elected to a majority in both houses of Congress, they were not elected to the Executive Branch.
One of the rallying cries for Democrats in the 2006 campaign was that Republicans in Washington had run roughshod over the will of the people. How ironic that House Democrats voted to run roughshod over a document that begins with the words “We the People of the United States.”
The second failure of this vote occurred when a majority of the members of Congress failed to realize how premature their decision was. This vote to withdraw from Iraq came less than 2 weeks after the last of the “surge” troops were deployed to Iraq. In essence, the House passed judgement on a plan that has been fully working for less than 2 weeks.
Even now the surge plan is beginning to work as Ramadi, the capital city of the Anbar province, is being transformed from one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq to one of the safest. Sunni leaders are laying aside their differences and joining the Iraqi government and U.S. forces in battle against the common enemy: al’Qaeda terrorists.
Just earlier this week, U.S. and Iraqi forces attacked the town of Sherween. Sherween was a stronghold for al’Qaeda terrorists. During the fighting Iraqi civilians started fighting alongside of U.S. and Iraqi forces. By the end of the battle, 20 terrorists had been killed and 20 more captured.
Iraq is starting to fight back, and the U.S. surge strategy is working. Now is not the time to vote for defeat. Now is the time to unite for victory. Rep. Donnelly, Rep. Hill, and the 221 other House members who joined them in their vote should be ashamed for urging defeat at an hour when victory could be achieved.