Jones is not a natural dove. He sits on the Armed Services Committee and his district includes Camp Lejeune, the home base of nearly 47,000 sailors and Marines. But Jones is one of a handful of Republican congressmen to break ranks with President Bush and the GOP leadership over Iraq. In recent months, he has been campaigning for a “full and honest” debate on the Iraq war. And he has written several letters to GOP committee chairmen and Majority Leader John Boehner, requesting the chance for a public vote on a pullout date.
Of course, none of that has happened. In April, Boehner told his colleagues that he would schedule a floor debate on Iraq, apparently bowing to pressure from Democrats and Republicans such as Jones. But this week, when the debate finally kicked off, Boehner and the Republican leadership pulled a bait and switch. Instead of an Iraq debate, they scheduled a debate on a resolution “declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror.” And then, in an election-year trick that is almost as old as the Congress itself, the GOP leadership barred any amendments on the resolution, effectively forcing Democrats to vote on whether or not they want Osama bin Laden to win.
Jones now says he feels duped by his own party’s leadership. “Maybe I should have been less trusting, but I felt it would be a debate that would allow us to talk about policy,” Jones told me.
Now the GOP leadership is playing bait and switch with its own members to do CYA for Bush, Cheney and Rummy. Pathetic. No real debate. No meaningful oversight. No accountability. All CYA, alla time. Meanwhile, the Pentagon can’t even pay electric bills and the troops don’t have appropriate equipment — still — over in Iraq. Oh, and homeland security — still only inspecting maybe 5% or less of all containers entering the country…it just goes on and on and on.
PS — This may not mean anything to anyone but the SFF readers in the audience, but please take some time to send thoughts and prayers (or whatever it is that you do) for Jim Baen, who has apparently had a very serious stroke. (H/T to Patrick at MakingLight for the heads up on this.)