News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Ugly war gets no direction from Washington leaders

This hasn't been a week in which the United States and Iraq can claim war victories.

It started with the recovery of the bodies of two young U.S. soldiers who were overwhelmed at an undermanned checkpoint, tortured and killed.

From there, the war turned against Iraqi citizens Wednesday as a third member of Saddam Hussein's defense team was shot to death.

Then, gunmen seized about 85 workers thought to be Shiites employed at a door and window plant located north of Baghdad in a predominantly Sunni Arab area.

Meanwhile, back at home, Vice President Dick Cheney was saying that last year when he declared the war was in its "final throes" he meant elections and drafting a constitution were pivotal.

Clearly, the war is not in its final throes. The violence continues daily in roadside bombings against American soldiers and car bombings that kill Iraqi citizens.

The horrible deaths of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., underscore the viciousness of terrorists and the inability of American and Iraqi forces to protect themselves against a faceless enemy.

Senate debate about the war turned ugly, too, this week with partisan politics seeming more important than saving other soldiers from dying.

The answer must be somewhere between setting a date certain for withdrawal of troops as some Democrats propose and the trivialized answer of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., that we can't cut and run.

Unfortunately, the debate is political posturing for the fall general elections in which Congress apparently expects a referendum on the war at the polls.

That, of course, is like flipping a coin to decide if you are going to jump in the river and save a drowning person.

Where's the national leadership?

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