The White House may think that 2500 is "just a number," but it does have terrible significance.

If 2500 American soldiers had died defending America from mortal danger, we might mourn the loss, but we would surely consider ourselves fortunate that the figure was so low. However, these 2500 men and women, most of them just entering adulthood, died not defending America, but in a war designed to bolster the political prospects and political power of the president.

That's a staggeringly high price to pay for what amounts to a campaign tactic.

American politics has always been dirty, but sending hundreds of thousands of mostly poor Americans off to war, getting 2500 of them killed and ten times that many grievously wounded, and maybe a hundred times that many mentally damaged, so that you can run for re-election as a "war president," and so that you can threaten your political critics with charges of "treason" and of being "soft on defense" or "soft on terror," is hitting a new low.

Sadly, this political tactic has been working, because most of what passes for an opposition party, particularly its leadership, has been so successfully intimidated that its representatives in Congress have barely dared to utter a peep of criticism.

Look at the two embarrassing "debates" this week over companion resolutions in House and Senate about supporting the war in Iraq. In the House, 42 gutless Democrats--roughly one in five--joined Republicans and voted 256-153 to "stay the course" in Iraq. In the Senate, a few days earlier, the vote was 93-6, meaning that nearly all Democrats joined in supporting the Republican motion.

That cowardly behavior by the Democrats in Congress is an insult to the 2500 young people who died thinking they were defending democracy. How can we call this country a democracy when the opposition party is so spineless and lacking in principle that even when it is clear beyond any question that the war was a criminal enterprise based upon lies and manipulation by the administration, its elected representatives cannot bring themselves to stand up and challenge it.

The blood of the next 2500 who die in this madness will be on the hands of those Democrats who voted for continued war.

This, by the way, is the same Democratic Party whose leaders are suggesting that if Democratic warhawk Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut senator and 2000 vice presidential candidate, is defeated in this August's Connecticut Democratic primary, he may end up getting the support of the national Democratic Party running as an independent candidate for re-election. Since the primary reason Lieberman is in danger of being ousted by an insurgent Democrat is Lieberman's unconscionable backing for Bush's Iraq War and for his so-called war on terror, a decision by party leaders to back him as an independent in the general election in November would be a direct repudiation of Connecticut Democrats' anti-war views.

This is clearly a party bent on self-destruction.

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd conclude that people like House Democratic Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel and Senate Democratic Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer were Karl Rove plants in the party leadership, secretly working to destroy the party. I'm not a conspiracy theorist though. I think they are simply politicians without a scintilla of principle. They are also profoundly stupid and out of touch with the base of their own party.

The American people as a whole, and the vast majority of those who still call themselves Democrats, want two things: to have the War in Iraq ended, and to have President Bush removed from office as soon as possible.

A Democratic Party leadership that doesn't recognize this obvious reality--that has its representatives voting for smarmy resolutions calling for the U.S. to "stay the course" and that uses behind-the-scenes threats and arm-twisting to prevent its more progressive elected officials from calling for impeachment--is committing political suicide.

These cowards worry that if they vote against the war, they’ll be called "soft on terror." They worry that if they call for impeachment, they might stir up the passions of the Republican base. What they really seem to be afraid to do is to stir up the passions of their own Democratic base, which is what would happen if they'd start taking principled stands on issues of substance.

The Democratic insurgents in Connecticut (where I'm proud to say I grew up and where I got my start in journalism) have the answer: throw these cowards and weasels out!

For other stories by Lindorff, please go (at no charge) to This Can't Be Happening! .

To find out more about the new book, The Case for Impeachment, click here. For early review quotes, check out the “Impeachment News” box on the top right of the homepage at This Can't Be Happening! .