Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Missing Iraq Debate: Sisyphus Redux

Ever since Congress voted in October 2002 to allow President Bush to use any and all measures against Saddam Hussein’s regime, trying to get a debate on the course of the invasion and occupation of Iraq – let alone challenging the folly of continuing to fund unquestionably all administration requests for the “global war on terror” – has been a labor rivaling Sisyphus’ impossible task of rolling a boulder up a mountain.

Until now.

Earlier today, three Republican House Members – Walter Jones (NC), Ron Paul (TX), and Wayne Gilcrest – announced they were supporting House Resolution 543, a Discharge Petition that would move H. Res 55 (“Homeward Bound”) from committee, where it has languished since November 9, 2005, to the House floor for 17 hours of debate about the war.

This trio of House Republicans join Representative Jim Leach (R-IA) and some 80 House Democrats in support of H. Res. 543. For the Discharge Petition to become effective, 218 Members must sign on in support.

It obviously is a different mountain, but the task is still Sisyphean.

Yet until the issue comes to the floor for extended debate, there is little chance that a real non-partisan solution to the Iraq impasse will emerge before additional scores of coalition soldiers and Iraqi security forces and civilians die or are seriously wounded.

The heart of democracy is the right – the duty – of full and open debate of issues vital to the nation. If we do not engage democracy at home, how can we represent it abroad?

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