IRAQ: Republicans Vote to Sit and Watch
(guest post by Taylor Marsh)
REPORTER: Will there come a day, and I’m not asking you when — I’m not asking for a timetable — will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?
BUSH: That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq.
Al Franken Show on Air America (quote replayed today)
If you want out of Iraq before 2010, you better vote for Democrats in November.
The Republicans had no debate. They voted in a block, like the good little rubber stamp Republicans they are, afraid to voice dissent in public. Or is it that they don’t have an original thought in their heads on how to get out of Iraq? One thing is certain, their talking points all sound the same. Stay the course. Stay the course. Stay the course! Oh, unless you’re listening to Silly Ricky Santorum, who’s scraping the bottom of the WMD barrel, in order to save his sorry Senate seat. The wingnuts are all on board.
Here’s a list of the Democrats who had the courage to cast a vote for a sensible timetable, which would have still left enough Americans to continue training the Iraqis, as well as force strength fighters in the region. Let’s start with the leaders of the fight, Senators John Kerry and Russ Feingold:
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), co-sponsor
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT)
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), co-sponsor
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
But let’s get something straight, we are on a timetable to get out of Iraq, because the Iraqis are standing up. Even the killing of Zarqawi came because of Jordanian and Iraqi coordination, with our strike orchestrated outside of Iraq. None of us will be shocked at a Republican October surprise.
There is a full court press on by all the president’s people. General Casey joined Rummy in a Pentagon briefing today. Republicans are out in force, though when they’re asked about an exit plan you can see the flop sweat form.
And Dick Cheney is out on point.
JOHN KING: The Democrats will put on the floor of the Senate today a proposal — they don’t have the votes — but they say this administration’s policy in Iraq has failed. And the leading Democratic proposal would say, let’s have a partial withdrawal — they call it a redeployment — and then require the administration to put forward a plan. Now, they say this is not cut and run, it’s not retreat, but they say three years and three months later, it is time for the administration to tell the Iraqi government you cannot have this indefinite American security blanket. You need to do a better job of preparing your own people to take over security, what’s wrong with that?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s wrong in many respects, John. First of all, they’re wrong. We are making significant progress. We’ve had major success on the political front in terms of three national elections last year by the Iraqis. They’ve stood up a brand new government under a new constitution for the first time ever. We’ve got a quarter of a million Iraqis now in uniform, equipped, trained, in the fight. So there has been significant progress made with respect to what’s going on in Iraq.
What the Democrats are suggesting basically you can call it withdrawal, you can call it redeployment, whatever you want to call it, basically it’s — in effect, validates the terrorist strategy. You got to remember that the Osama bin Laden types, the al Qaeda types, the Zarqawi types that have been active in Iraq are betting that ultimately they can break the United States’ will. There’s no way they can defeat us militarily. But their whole strategy — if you look at what bin Laden has been saying for 10 years — is they believe they can, in fact, force us to quit, that ultimately we’ll get tired of the fight, that we don’t have the stomach for a long, tough battle, and that we’ll pack it in and go home.
If we were to do that, it would be devastating from the standpoint of the global war on terror. It would affect what happens in Afghanistan. It would make it difficult for us to persuade the Iranians to give up their aspirations for nuclear weapons. It would threaten the stability of regimes like Musharraf in Pakistan and the Saudis in Saudi Arabia. It is — absolutely the worst possible thing we could do at this point would be to validate and encourage the terrorists by doing exactly what they want us to do, which is to leave. …
The emphasis added is mine above. It illustrates why we are in so much trouble in Iraq. Neither Bush, nor Cheney, nor Rumsfeld get it.
There is no way anyone on earth can defeat us militarily. But that’s hardly the point, now is it? We talked about the Cheney – Rumsfeld strategy yesterday, which revolves around the "primacy of military power."
But the solution in Iraq depends, hangs on, the ability to arrive at a POLITICAL solution, which only the Iraqis can affect for themselves. We’re keeping that from happening through our troop presence.
The second highlighted section brings the Bush administration’s ignorance home. Because the "terrorists," which are few in number in Iraq, actually don’t want us to leave. They depend on the Bush administration to stay the course.
What the Republicans did today is hand the terrorists and the insurgents the victory they wanted. Now we all get to sit around and watch as Iraq gets worse and the Iraqi people continue to take it on the chin, while our troops get dismembered limb by limb.