>Western Tribune Column August 6 2008

>Here is my column from the Western Tribune today. Be sure to read further and check out Paris Hilton’s response to John McCain, and more.

A small collective sigh of relief was heard last week as Congress adjourned for their summer recess. They did not succumb to the fallacy that reversing the offshore drilling ban would help our energy crisis. Congress has approval ratings in the low teens or single digits, and conventional wisdom (CW) and the media tells us that this is because they are not addressing the energy problem.

CW and the media are often wrong in their assumptions and if one just looks back to the 2006 election it is obvious why Congress is ranked so low.

The number one issue at that time was the unjust war in Iraq and democrats across the nation ran on the premise they would end the war. Here we are almost two years later and the war rages on.

Congress, time and time again, has backed down and kissed George W. Bush’s…uh, boots by continuing to fund the war. This alone is reason enough to disapprove of congress.

“But the surge is working,” one might say, under the mistaken belief that reduced American troop deaths is a measure of success. Certainly, fewer deaths are a good thing, but success was to be measured by Iraq’s willingness to govern itself effectively and provide security for its people. The surge was to provide security while the Iraqi government steadied itself, overcame divisions and prepared to take the reins.

While the pro-war crowd was praising John McCain for his flip flop on the war, the U. S. Government Accounting Office released a report in June of this year after an analysis of the progress in Iraq compared to the goals laid out by the Bush White House in 2007.

If the public (and the media) had actually read the report there would be no debate, as it points out several areas where the surge has not produced the desired effect.

Examples? Only nine of eighteen provinces in Iraq are controlled by the Iraqi government (the goal was for all eighteen to be controlled by the end of 2007).

Another? Iraqi forces were to be able to act independently by the end of 2007, but the GAO found that less than 10 percent of the Iraqi army battalions are rated at the highest readiness level and still must be backed up by the U. S.

If space allowed I could share several other failures pointed out in the GAO report. But you can read the report. And I am sure you will come to the same conclusion: that we have no business in Iraq.

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