Undermining the President, not the Troops

If you listen to the members of the minority party in Congress, you'd think that holding a debate - any debate - on the 'Surge' in Iraq would lead to unmitigated strategic disaster. The terrible consequences of debate would be to 'undermine the troops' or to send them 'mixed messages' resulting in very bad but unspecified things. How and why this catastrophic failure would happen (or how it would be any different from the current situation in Iraq) remains unexplained by Republicans or their media enablers.

On January 25, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a non-binding resolution stating, "It is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq." Asked what would happen if the Senate passed a similar resolution, Dick Cheney is on record saying "it would be, I think, detrimental from the standpoint of the troops."

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) has said, "I do not think you can send a message that is going to raise the morale of the troops while at the same time sending a message that we don’t support the mission."

It's a simple and pervasive talking point, but is it true?

As the Senate debated the non-binding resolution that Dick Cheney so feared, Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace had this to say:

"As long as this Congress continues to do what it has done, which is to provide the resources for the mission, the dialog will be the dialog, and the troops will feel supported."
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Congress that the troops understand that debate is an effort to find the best way to execute the war, not an effort to undermine them:
"I think they [the troops] are sophisticated enough to understand that that's what the debate's really about."
So why all the effort to force this false meme upon the public? Why has the White House expended so much energy ensuring that a non-binding resolution supported by the majority of Senators never sees the light of day?

Because questioning the President's plan doesn't undermine the troops. It undermines the President.

The President and his party don't want to have any debate about Iraq just as the 2008 Elections appear on the horizon.

The President isn’t concerned about the psyches of our troops in Iraq. If he were, he wouldn't continue to order more extensions of duty, repeat tours in Iraq, and 'stop loss' measures. The President and his party are only worried about their own political skins.

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