In a surprising move worthy of real adults, the US House of Representatives stands on the tentative verge of actually having a staged debate about Bush's War in Iraq. Will wonders never stop ceasing! Here's the story from the Christian Science Monitor.
WASHINGTON – The No. 1 issue for American voters - the future of the Iraq war - moves to the fore this week, both among President Bush's wartime advisers and on the floor of Congress. For supporters of the war, long thirsting for signs of progress, the timing seems fortuitous. Last week, US forces killed Iraq's most wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and the Iraqi prime minister finally completed his national-unity government. Monday, at Camp David, the president gathered his war cabinet and outside experts for a two-day strategy session, and Wednesday he meets at the White House with the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. In Congress, both houses are set to vote for supplemental war funding.
But it is the full-day debate on Iraq on the floor of the House of Representatives, scheduled for Thursday, that is the least predictable of the forums. The last time the House took to debating Iraq, last November, the scene deteriorated into recriminations over a resolution calling for immediate withdrawal that Democrats called a political stunt. House majority leader John Boehner (BONE-ER) (R) of Ohio, who has long planned for this week's debate, hopes to match the serious, dignified tone of deliberation that preceded the Gulf war, in 1991. Most of his GOP colleagues support the idea.
"The House is a debating society in the best sense of the word," says Rep. Henry Hyde (R) of Illinois, chairman of the International Relations Committee. "Everyone that listens with an open mind will find an aspect to this that they hadn't thought of."
Other members, including antiwar Republicans and Democrats, also welcome a debate, as long as the terms are fair, they say. At time of writing, the text of the resolution to be debated had not been released, but congressional sources indicated that it would frame the Iraq war as part of the broader war on terror, a point of controversy. Many war critics argue that the US role in Iraq has deflected attention from the larger war on terror, and thus antiwar members may feel compelled to vote against the resolution. But that may prove politically risky, as the resolution will also express support for American troops, and no member wants to be seen opposing the men and women in harm's way.
I'm planning to keep my eyes on this so-called debate - to both understand the wild delusions of war supporters and the cut-and-run euphemisms of detractors. I'm especially interested in seeing what North Carolina's Democrat Congressional Members offer up. Don't expect much, though, because this debate is ultimately of little importance. It's a sideshow, whistling in the wind while King George does what he wants no matter what the US House of Representatives has to say about it.