Sen. Biden, the Democratic chairman of the committee said, in part, that the resolution is
"an attempt to save the President from making a significant mistake with regard to our policy in Iraq...this amendment is designed to let the President know that there are many in both parties, Democrats and Republicans, who believe that change in our mission to go into Baghdad in the midst of a civil war, as well as surging troops to lay the groundwork for a new Iraqi political solution, is the wrong way to go, and in fact I believe will have the opposite -- emphasize "the opposite" -- effect that the President intends."
Biden was not alone.
Republican Senator Arlen Spector said, "To put more American personnel in harm's way without a realistic chance for success is something I'm not in favor of."
The strongest comments on the Republican side came from Sen. Chuck Hagel .
“The American people are far ahead of us” on what to do next in Iraq. “They’re not conflicted with the nuances of life. They understand what’s going on. When I hear, on both sides of this argument, impugning motives and patriotism to our country, not only is it offensive and disgusting but it debases the whole system of our country and who we are. My goodness. Can’t we debate the most critical issue of our time, out front, in front of the American people? They expect it. Are we so weak, we can’t do that?"
Three years too late, the debate is finally beginning. We are finally having the national conversation we should have had in 2003. Had we had that conversation, we may not have made the terrible error of going to war in Iraq.
Let us hope that we never again go to war without this sort of conversation, and without the Congress fulfilling its constitutional obligation of actually declaring war.