Monday, April 14, 2008

Playing with Fire

History is one of this country's worst subjects, so it really shouldn't surprise me that our elected leaders are this historically vapid.

Iraq's financial free ride may be over. After five years, Republicans and Democrats seem to have found common ground on at least one aspect of the war. From the fiercest foes of the war to the most steadfast Bush supporters, they are looking at Iraq's surging oil income and saying Baghdad should start picking up more of the tab, particularly for rebuilding hospitals, roads, power lines and the rest of the shattered country.

"I think the American people are growing weary not only of the war, but they are looking at why Baghdad can't pay more of these costs. And the answer is they can," said Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Nelson, a Democrat, is drafting legislation with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Evan Bayh of Indiana that would restrict future reconstruction dollars to loans instead of grants.

Their bill also would require that Baghdad pay for the fuel used by American troops and take over U.S. payments to predominantly Sunni fighters in the Awakening movement. Plans are to propose the legislation as part of a war bill to cover spending through September.

I find it funny. If pressed, every one of these congressional leaders would fall over themselves to praise the Marshall Plan and the Democratic administration that ushered it in. Yet they themselves are so weak and politically self serving that they are willing to pursue similar feeble but expedient policies that once set a post-Great War Europe on the path to a second world war. Are they really interested in stabilizing Iraq once and for all, or do they want an Iraq III if it means political gains today? While Iraq should play a growing role in its own future, lawmakers walk a dangerous line with this gambit if they demand too much.

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