Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why Congress should not be an equal partner in war

According to the Associated Press July will most likely become the most deadly of the Afghan war for US led troops. July is deadliest for US-led forces in Afghanistan This month alone 24 American soldiers have been killed. The rate of death for July has been approximately three deaths per day. Those are levels approaching the death rate in Iraq at the most brutal stage.

It would seem then that this is an appropriate time for Congress to be discussing the annual Defense bill which sets policy and funding levels for the Department of Defense. And so the United States Senate is debating S. 1033, the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. But today instead of talking about the war in Afghanistan and the rising death toll, Senate Democrats have bogged down debate on passage of the Defense Bill by trying to pass S. 909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the form of a Senate Amendment introduced by Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy. Senator Leahy is also the same Senator who us running the current Sotomayor dog and pony show. He's also the same Senator who leaked highly classified information to a reporter for his own purposes; so I suppose he is the perfect person to bog down the Defense bill.

While American soldiers are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq and as violence increases in Afghanistan, Senate Democrats want to postpone passage of one of the most important bills that moves through the halls of Congress in order to ensure that our justice system can now includes crimes of thought and speech. Moreover, in a move of disgusting cynisism the Democrats have named the hate crimes legislation after Matthew Shepard. Matthew Shepard was a gay man who was brutally murdered in Wyoming and hung by the roadside. One would think from the name of the bill that was named after him that his murderers are living well in Wyoming. They are alive, but they are also serving life sentences in prison. A sentence passed without the need hate crimes legislation for a brutal crime. So in short, the hate crimes amendment is an unnecessary amendment slowing down a very necessary bill.

We are at a very dangerous crossroad in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If politcal gamesmanship is all we can expect from Congressional leaders, this is the biggest reason of all that they should not play an equal role in the war on terrror. We need sound policy from Congress not games.

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