Friday, February 23, 2007

Prince Harry in Harm's Way

Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales--the third person in line to the British throne--will soon be heading to Iraq with his military unit. If you have read my previous posts about the Iraqi War, you know my beliefs on this matter (if you haven't, I'm against the war and support a full troop withdrawal). The purpose of this post is not to debate the war itself, but the British governmental system that is sending a member--and an important one at that--of the Royal Family to serve in this war.

One of the powers the Queen of England currently retains is the power to declare war and emergency. While I am not privy to the Queen's personal feelings about the Iraqi War, I do know that the war is not the Queen's but the Prime Minister's. Prime Minister Tony Blair chose to act against the opinion of the majority of British people and back U.S. President George Bush in the war. The war has become so unpopular in Britain that Blair is leaving office early due in part to his commitment to the war. While it is the right of the Queen to declare war, the Prime Minister has taken that right upon himself de facto if not de jure. The British monarchy has become so emasculated by Parliament that it serves little purpose in governmental affairs save those which are ceremonial. As was stated by a reporter for the BBC in a recent report, the British Royal Family will now have a much more personal stake in the war than any of the elected members who committed that nation to the war in the first place. I truly hope the British monarchy will once again regain its rightful governmental powers.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Party Politics
The majority of the American public is opposed to the war in Iraq. The majority of the American public opposes President Bush's proposal to drastically increase the number of troops in Iraq. The American people voted the Democrats into majority power in both the House of Representatives and the Senate with a mandate to end the war (or at least to stop the way the war is currently being prosecuted). So what has changed about the war? Nothing, unless you consider more or our servicemen dying in a foreign land.

Most Representatives and Senators publicly either oppose the war or oppose Bush's troop increase (or is that escalation? surge? Such bandying of words tends to make it hard for me to remember what words I am supposed to use). But of course not much has happened. Several "resolutions" have been back and forth in our government, opposing the troop increase, making a non-binding statement about our lawmakers disapproval about what is increasingly becoming "Bush's War", even proposals to de-fund the war have been considered. So why has nothing happened?

The truth is that our lawmakers are doing what they do best: play politics. No lawmaker wants to appear to in any way disparage "the troops" (a large voting block with a large voting block that has an almost quasi-religious devotion to the military), so they don't want to de-fund the war so as to appear to be unsupportive of our military in harm's way. But do our lawmakers really truly care about our troops? I think not. They are debating, discussing, arguing, considering, and proposing while our men die in Iraq. If our lawmakers truly cared for our troops, they'd cut off all funds for the war and demand a complete and immediate withdrawal. The bitter truth is that our lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats are more concerned with their own political careers than with the lives of our servicemen. They are playing party politics.

Perhaps if we had a monarch who is above party politics we would not be in the tragic position we find ourselves in.