With the United States engaged in military action over Afghanistan, Congress has begun the struggle to support President Bush while attempting to satisfy constituents at the same time.
Peace protests have already erupted across the country, and protestors have urged their congressmen to support their cause.
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., has received criticism from some constituents in Wisconsin; however, she has not wavered in her support of the actions she feels are necessary and the priorities that must be set.
“My goals have been consistent,” Baldwin said. “Our priorities should be protecting the American people, promoting their security and promoting peace at home and abroad. In line with these goals, I favor action against Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network. I would oppose expansion of the conflict beyond what is necessary to achieve these goals.”
Support for the military and its goals is a common sentiment among Wisconsin legislators. U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wis., spoke for the people of Wisconsin in his support for the military.
“The men and women of our military go now into great peril to secure a safer future for all Americans and all who hope for peace,” Feingold said. “I know that I speak for all Wisconsinites and all Americans when I say that our unwavering support is with our people in uniform, their commanders and our commander in chief, President Bush.” Feingold did not attempt to mask the hardship military action or war will bring.
“This will likely be a long struggle,” Feingold said. “The coming days and beyond will bring hardship and loss, but we believe also that they will bring real progress in the war against terror, and we stand united to achieve this goal.”
Feingold was more explicit in his feelings about a U.S. strike when he told Milwaukee radio station AM 620 WTMJ, he expects retaliation from the terrorists.
“They were coming at us either way, so we have only one alternative, and that is to try to destroy this organization and destroy these terrorists,” Feingold said. “As we do that, we may suffer again, but we will suffer far more if we don’t deal with it.”
The government system of checks and balances is especially critical in times of war. Congress allocates money and has the power to declare war. Tuesday, Bush decided to restrict Congressional oversight so only eight members of Congress have access to briefings on national security and anti-terrorism efforts in order to protect the secrecy of vital information.
Baldwin said maintaining a balance between the branches of government was key.
“It is certainly appropriate for the president and the executive branch to maintain appropriate secrecy to protect American men and women engaged in combat,” Baldwin said. “No one expects that operational details, extensive timelines or intelligence sources should be revealed. But in a democracy, a balance must be struck, even in time of war, to allow for an informed discussion of scope, cost and goals.”