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Precedent, Platitudes And Poppycock

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The House debate on the Iraq war has a ghostly quality as lawmakers tap the wisdom of long-dead men to press their case. No one knows what any of them would have thought about this war. But their thoughts about grand events of their time are coming in handy now.

In perhaps the oddest use of history, Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., imagined Davy Crockett, his back against the wall at the Alamo, getting a message on his Blackberry from Congress saying "we support you" but won't be sending any reinforcements.

"I'm sure that would be really impressive to Davy Crockett," Akin said.
And Frost once wrote that "the best way out is always through."
"We doggedly seek the way through: success in Iraq, security for our allies and everlasting victory for freedom," said Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla. "This week's discussion should be about the way through, not the way back."
"...we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment. ... But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs--balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage--balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
really--Sara Tenenbaum