During the ongoing debate on President Bush's force escalation being hosted in the House of Representatives, many have claimed that since the debate is over a non-binding resolution the whole affair is meaningless.
John Boehner, Republican Representative from Ohio, said that the debate was "a political charade lacking both the seriousness and the gravity of the issue that it's meant to represent."
It would appear that non-binding resolutions are not unusual in Congresses past and present. Two quick examples come from the 109th - H Res 861 pledged support to the President and called for no timetables for withdrawal from Iraq. A then majority member of the House was quoted as saying: "Retreat is not an option in Iraq,'' declared House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. "Achieving victory is our only option, for the American people and our kids." At the time it was not a charade to pass such legislation.
Then there was the pro-Israel, anti-Hizbullah non-binding resolution passed in July of 2006 that supported the military effort of the IDF. It placed on record 410 members in favor of Israel's tactics while only 8 voted against the measure.
So what is wrong with Congress putting something on record? It would seem that both parties enjoy using the procedure to generate debate and coverage of political issues while avoiding the full force of law by their actions. It is a tactic to an end, and it only matters for which side the tactic is used before it can be judged right or wrong.