Sunday, February 4, 2007
Nothing like trying to explain what's going on in American politics to folks who aren't following it in obsessive detail to put into context exactly what's at stake. Last night I spent the evening with a couple friends, one English, one Dutch. And when I got to the part about the American people being strongly opposed to the troop buildup in Iraq, and the American Congress being strongly opposed to the troop buildup in Iraq, and then finished with the part about the President following through on the troop buildup in Iraq, the response was quizzical, to say the least.
Of course, both English and Dutch public opinion was largely opposed to those countries' involvement in the Iraq War, which did not prevent both parliaments from eventually giving their approval. But a head of state acting in the face of both the people's and Congress' opposition to a measure is generally what's construed by most democratic traditions as tyranny.
I went on to explain that there was some confusion over who has the Constitutional authority to end a war, which is admittedly a simplification. Nevertheless, the Englishman's response was right on the money, something along the lines of, "Well, I suppose this is necessary to straighten it all out, then, isn't it?"
Isn't it, indeed.