|By G. Michael Dobbs, Managing Editor|
I did not serve in the military, but I grew up in a military family as my dad was a three-war, 26-year veteran of the Air Force.
My father never voted in an election while he was in the Air Force as he said his opinion was that folks in the armed services should be politically neutral.
I've wondered if he would have thought the same today.
Well, another point he would like to make is that it doesn't matter what a recruiter promised a person as they were signing up, it only mattered if a President and a Congress lived up to those promises.
The fate of the American military is not in the hands of their professional commanders, but is the responsibility of elected officials.
The president likes to call himself "the Decider," and has routinely criticized members of Congress who want the Iraq war over as people who want to "micro-manage" and "politicize" the conflict.
Apparently that is what Congress believes as well with the gutless and pointless deal they struck last week with The Decider over continued war funding.
The common reaction from many pundits is that the Democrats don't want to be seen as people who've cut funding from the troops a political weakness that might be exploited in future elections.
So American and innocent Iraqi lives are being put in jeopardy because some senator or representative is concerned about a smear ad back in the district.
There are many reasons to consider the cowardice of their actions. Let me give you 3,425 of them: the American dead as of May 23.
Here's 26,188 more reasons: the wounded who've come back home.
By the way, what The Decider hasn't decided to talk about is the wounded very much. More than 4,600 Iraq vets have suffered a severe head or brain injury. What is going to be the long-term costs of care for them?
The amputation rate in Iraq is nearly double that of other wars. More than 1,300 soldiers have lost a limb. What is the cost for their care?
If you want more statistics, log onto www.motherjones.com/iraq_for_dummies.
Don't these men and women, whose lives have been ended or altered forever, who have demonstrated the principles of honor and duty, shouldn't they expect the same kind of courage from members of Congress? It shouldn't be difficult for the House and Senate to show this kind of backbone because they are being backed up by a majority of the American people who sent a clear message during the last election that the war should end.
This war and now the Democrat's failure to take a stand are among the most shameful events in the history of this nation.
The blood of the dead is not longer just a stain on The Decider's hands. It is on every member of Congress who supported this "compromise."
Congratulations to Westfield Mayor Richard Sullivan on his appointment to the position of Commissioner of Conservation and Recreation. There have been rumors in the past about Sullivan eyeing a statewide office and this might be the platform from which he could eventually launch a statewide campaign.
Sullivan has been an effective mayor in a community that has clearly loved him. I'm sure he will bring his efficiency to his new position.
Our staff is a small one so when we have a change it is always a big one. Our MetroWest reporter Erin O'Connor is leaving to accept a position with the staff of State Representative James Welch (D- West Springfield).
I like Jim Welch, but he is now on double secret probation for offering Erin a job! Just kidding, Jim.sort of.
Erin has been a great member of our department and has been a passionate reporter who has cared deeply about the towns she has covered. The rest of the staff and I will certainly miss her. Fortunately, in her new role, I'm sure we will be hearing from her.
Luckily for all of us, Katelyn Gendron-List, a young reporter who also shows a similar passion for community journalism, is replacing her. She is a recent graduate of SUNY-Purchase and you will start to see her byline this week.
The opinions expressed here are only those of the author.