I've been meaning to write a few lines about the rapidly expanding war in Afghanistan and the strong presence the United States is still maintaining in Iraq, but President Obama's (supposed) Health Insurance Reform has captivated our attention as a society and my attention personally.
The other day, during my two hour morning monitoring of Morning Edition on National Public Radio, I was astounded to hear that President Obama expected US Troops to be involved in Afghanistan for at least ten more years. Troop strength has already doubled from President Bush's inadequate allocation and may increase again this fall.
What struck me most was the complete lack of protest or concern on the part of most Americans to our continued adventures in Nation Building.
I paused for a moment to consider what would have happened if a newly elected President McCain had maintained over 100,000 troops in Iraq for the next five years and then announced that as many as 100,000 troops might be needed for as long as ten years in Afghanistan.
Had my imaginary President McCain merely echoed Obama's exact strategy, there would literally be rioting in the streets.
And this is why I so strongly hate the current climate of loyalty to political parties (Republican or Democrat) instead of principle. If 150,000 plus American troops adventuring over in the middle east was wrong a short seven (7) months ago, shouldn't it still be wrong today?
I'm confident that, had we elected John McCain, our involvement in the middle east would be rapidly winding down. Not because McCain wanted smaller involvement, but because he would be battling Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid tooth and nail for every dollar. McCain would be forced by Congress and the American people to speed up his exit and cut his forces and costs. Hell, we might actually be talking about deficit spending!
But the Democrats in Congress support their President, right or wrong. The very few of them with an ounce of integrity are holding their noses and focusing on the Health Care battle and pretending Iraq doesn't exist.
What caused me to remember this issue from a week or so ago was Cindy Sheehan, a woman with immense principle. A woman that should be representing Nancy Pelosi's district in the House instead of the opportunistic and totally unprincipled Pelosi.
Cindy is a woman who puts principle way above party labels. This week she is taking her August vigil from President Bush's summer home in Crawford, Texas to President Obama's summer vacation spot at Martha's Vineyard.
"We as a movement need to continue calling for an immediate end to the occupations [in Iraq and Afghanistan] even when there is a Democrat in the Oval Office," Sheehan said in a statement. "There is still no Noble Cause no matter how we examine the policies."
She will fight the battle alone. She will have only a handful of followers. There will be no television interviews. And no one, not even Chris Matthews, will wonder why the President doesn't have the courage to walk down the road and meet with her, even though he strongly urged then President Bush to hold such a meeting.
And this is exactly why I put PRINCIPLE above PARTY. President Obama and most of the Democrats have betrayed most of the most cherished liberal principles. Calling protesters a "mob." Dismissing the genuine concerns of American Citizens. Harry Reid and many Democrats refuse to even hold town meetings, calling American Citizens who actually care "evil doers." Hell, Reid even sounds like President Bush. "Evil Doers" indeed.
Democrats do not somehow magically deserve my support because they have a "D" behind their title. They have to earn my respect through honor, honesty and integrity.