Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rep. Sullivan Punts on Iraq

We at AltTulsa are always on the lookout for examples of political leadership in Oklahoma. We keep hoping to find elected officials who will talk straight and tell the truth even when it's not in their own interest.

We admit to being naive about such things. But even at our most gullible, we thought that Rep. John Sullivan might offer more than doublespeak and cliches about something as important as the war in Iraq.

Faced with an opportunity to offer leadership on the war last week, Rep. Sullivan "punted" when the Iraq Study Group released his report. His statement, reproduced below in full, skips over the hard parts and pretends that all will be well if we "stay the course."

Sullivan neglected to admit any fault on the part of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, or any other person responsible for the unproductive policies the U.S. has adopted since 2001. Sullivan didn't recognize anything in the ISG's report that might dim the glow attached to Our Great Leader, never mind the President's long line of mistakes in conducting the war and increasing evidence that even First District Republicans are cooling their enthusiasm for Bush's War.

So much for Mr. Sullivan's political courage. So much for putting the national interest above self-interest, something James Baker and others on the ISG were willing to do.

But judge for yourself. We submit that Sullivan's statement is little more than a restatement of GOP talking points, a safe way of dodging the bullet.

Rep Sullivan's statement:
“We must put security and stability first in our policy on Iraq. U.S forces should increase the training of Iraqi forces so they can begin to patrol their streets and secure the country. Iraq must take responsibility for the security of their country.

"I am concerned with the Iraq Study Group’s recommendation that the U.S. should invite Iran and Syria to play a large diplomatic role in Iraq. Iran and Syria cannot be trusted to be part of a genuine solution for peace in Iraq.

"I am pleased with the Iraq Study Group’s recommendation not to immediately withdraw U.S. troops. A rapid troop pullout would immediately create a strategic, moral and humanitarian disaster in this already unstable part of the world.

"Throughout this debate on Iraq, it is important that we continue to support the brave men and women in uniform who are fighting in the Global War on Terror.”

Thanks for nothing, Mr. Congressman. Like you, we support the troops and want to defeat terror. But leadership means more than celebrating the flag and apple pie. Anyone can do that.

Next time, let's try to say something meaningful, Mr. Sullivan. We don't need more rubber stamps in Washington.

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