An odd kind of call and response: This we picked up a copy of the Lewiston Tribune, which included an editorial calling on Idaho's senators to let loose with what they think, now, about the conflict in Iraq - what should be done about it. By odd coincidence, 300 miles south, some of those answers, and from Idaho's two House members too, showed up at the same time in a Dan Popkey column in the Idaho Statesman.
Popkey collected the comments from several sources, including interview, podcast and otherwise, but all were recent and direct. The short answer to the Tribune's query was: The Idaho delegation is sticking with President George Bush. End of story.
With that in hand, we have a suggestion for the Tribune as to a followup question. It comes from the most startling quote in Popkey's column, from Representative Bill Sali: that the war we have now will be "our children's children's war — that's probably what were saddled up to right now."
War without end, forever. There are those in the foreign policy specialists (many followers of the theorist Leo Strauss) who advocate exactly that: That the United States is destined to become an empire, that the free republic we have known is quaint anachronism, and that war is needed to ensure the discipline, order and sweeping control an empire needs to govern.
So the Trib might ask next, of Idaho's other three delegation members: Is that indeed - or should it be - what we're saddled up to?
And they say elections don't matter . . .
NOTE AND TRANSCRIPT The Sali quote from the Statesman column needs some context. Sali's Boise office played us an audio recording of the Statesman interview from which the quote was drawn, and that throw it into a different light. We still even so have concerns about the mindset of war as a more or less permanent state. However, Sali's comments certainly should be seen in context - the reference to the children's children's war was not his own phrase but a quote from the title of a TV program - and they do read differently that way.
Here's a transcript (via Sali's office) from that interview: