Thursday, June 15, 2006

HR 861: War Without End, Amen

I spent the morning watching the House debate on Resolution 861, introduced by Henry Hyde (R Illinois). You may remember Hyde as the guy who led the charge to impeach President Clinton for lying about not keeping his pants on. Now, he says we all owe young Mister Bush our thanks for acting in Iraq.

HR 861 is a sham. The Republicans put up a bill full of platitudes, allowing no proposed amendments.

And hidden in the middle of the platitudes is this tidbit:
…it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq…

In other words, this bill is a yes/no vote on whether to allow Mister Bush--and his succesor--to keep our troops in Iraq forever.

The whole morning, watching on C-SPAN, I kept wondering how to describe what I was feeling. It came to me. It was like watching my country being assimilated by the Borg.

This isn't a debate on Iraq. It's an orchestrated GOP election campaign circus.


Back from the grocery store just in time to see Murtha speak.

At last. Somebody actually using hard data to measure the ineffectiveness of the effort in Iraq. Hopefully, his speech will be up on his web site. "Rhetoric does not answer the problem," he says. Amen Brother Murtha.

Henry Hyde (R Illinois) follows Murtha. It takes him less than 30 seconds to conjure visions of mushroom clouds, and drones on for roughly ten minutes in praise of Mister Bush.

There's something about Murtha being followed by Hyde that pretty much says for me what America's upcoming election is about--the bluff and honest versus the serpentine.

Hyde finishes his spiel and Murtha comes back to the floor. Iraq has gone on longer than World War I, longer than the Korean Conflict, he says, and reiterates that the metrics belie administration claims of "progress" in Iraq.

Ike Skelton (D Missouri) makes a great point about eating our "military seed corn" in Iraq. I haven't heard it put that way before, but I've long said that one of the greatest tragedies regarding Iraq is that we're grinding our force into hourglass fill in a contest that has little if anything to do with our national security. What happens in two or three years if we really need the military power that we squandered in Iraq?

As Jack Murtha says, China, Russia, Iran, and most of the rest of the world are perfectly happy to see us stay in Iraq until we're powerless to meaningfully engage militarily anywhere else in the world.

Duncan Hunter's at the plate, giving a lecture on how it was okay to have disbanded the Iraqi Army, and lending his expertise on military command, control and discipline. He's also giving a "support the troops" pitch, comparing Iraq to World War II.

Murtha gets up, God bless him, and slaps Hunter down for confusing the difference between supporting the troops and supporting the policy.

Henry Waxman (D California) give a good account of contractor fraud in Iraq. Bravo, he brought up David Brooks, the contractor who sold faulty body armor to the Army and Marines. "We're squandering money on Halliburton at the same time we don't have enough money to protect our troop."


Ah, me.

Peter Hoekstra (R Michigan) makes flatulent noise about "the first war of the information age." Yeah. Like information didn't exist, or wasn't an essential part of war, before the World Wide Web existed.

These rubber stamp Republicans are blithering idiots.

How much longer are we going to let them lead us over the cliff?


  1. If you look at the whereas clauses in the Resolution, the whole thing is designed to resolve that the war in Iraq is now the central front in a war against global terrorism.

    The whole thing is an empty piece of fluff, culminating in the "resolution" that the U.S. will win the "noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary."

    This is what our leaders have time for?

    As for Ike Skelton, whom you cited, I'd like to add that this guy isn't a partisan left-wing Democrat. He's fairly conservative for a Democrat, he's high up in his church, and is pretty well regarded as a honest, sensible guy. I can't remember if he has military experience, but my sense is he wouldn't make statements like the one you posted just to be contrary to the admin - he's being forthright.

  2. Successor, not predecessor

    Other than that, right on

  3. Oops! Better change that. Thanks for the catch.

  4. Anonymous4:17 PM

    Just started reading your blog. I like the writing.

    The thing that gets me is that these Republicans are, as you say, blithering idiots. But very few in the news/opinion shows is willing to say, hey, this is total BS.

    So it is left to the "blogosphere" and grassroots to highlight these issues, which takes a whole lot longer than if this was being piped into the living rooms of Joe & Jane Q Public on CBS/NBC/ABC.

    I swear every week I have a moment of hate for this administration and their utter stupidity.

  5. Thanks for stopping by and posting. Yeah, I'm pretty upset with the stupidity too.

  6. When you think of Hoekstra's comment about this being the first war during the information age than you must think it's funny..the supposed information that there were WMD's ended up being fraudulently wrong..
    Murtha's catching a lot of flack from people. I caught a few seconds on O'Reilly who was interviewing this guy, a former Iraqi military (sorry, it was late for me and didn't pay too close attention) peddling his book..both him and O'Reilly were tearing into Murtha, one of the comments being that he did not return either their phone calls. But..I should pay closer attention ... just getting aggrevated seeing O'Reilly is not a good excuse!
    and yes, there are times when I feel moments of sheer disdain for the people in the B-administration. Sorry to say guys, as a green card holder, there are times I have disdain for most Americans for just being asleep at the wheel and too stupid to think for themselves...but..that's being a leftwing (because what else could I be) European for you.

  7. I heard the O'Reilly segment as well. O'Reilly is mad at Murtha because he thinks Murtha is jumping to conclusions of the guilt of the soldiers accused in the Haditha killings without knowing all of the facts. What O'Reilly fails to appreciate is that Murtha, because of his military connections, has access to a lot of inside information on the incident that O'Reilly doesn't have access to. Murtha even indicated some of what would be in the report on the incident before it was released. So instead of lambasting Murtha for jumping to conclusions, O'Reilly might want to consider the fact that Murtha knows some things O'Reilly doesn't.

  8. Anonymous4:48 PM

    stupidity and knee=jerk emotionalism, ad homoneim attacks and mud slinging are the new black.

    This is what substitues for "opinion" and "discourse"

    89% of graduating high school seniors think the government should be entitled to censor the press.

    Slaves and military grunts don't need no educashun...they just need their primal buttons pushed so they remain in a constant lather about "them" versus "us".

    Divide and conquer. This is the state's credo. This is its protect itself from the people.

    What do you expect when you put fascist in power and let them dazzle the sheeple with marketing and advertising?

    Nice chocolatey outside, hollow inside.

    The New Weimar.

    Wonder how many Good Germans there will be this time?

  9. once again thanks for speaking with clarity. I have been watching this afternoon's performance on cspan, and I must say, am quite amazed with the feistiness of the democrats.

    I am really encouraged by what I am hearing today. I think that even if the Republicans rig the vote in the upcoming elections, they will be thrown out.

    Winston Churchill said it: "Americans will try everything, but eventually they will do the right thing."


  10. Always glad to see you fighting the good fight, Jeff. I'm currently obsessing about WWII and not blogging, but it always cheers me to read your level-headed assessments...even though they always depress me!

  11. I was actually quite impressed with the job the Dems did this afternoon (I took a break around 4pm and napped).

    The GOP types pretty much just polly-crackered Karl Rove talking points.

    But I fear this buttwilly bill's going to pass anyway.

  12. Jim Faith11:58 PM

    Winston Churchill said it: "Americans will try everything, but eventually they will do the right thing."

    Dan, I think there was a bit more snark in his comment - something like "you can always rely on Americans to do the right thing, after they've exhausted all the alternatives."

    Jeff - I've come over from FireDogLake and appreciate your insights. One question - given the current state of the military, how is it the Officer Corps seems to still overwhelmingly support this administration?

    I ask as the son of a retired LTC with the 101st Abn Div and a Navy vet myself - discharged as an HM2. I can understand the past support, I just don't get the support in the face of the arrogant incompetence in today's chickenhawk leaders. Any thoughts?

  13. navywife9:24 AM

    There are more people in the officer sector that disagree with whats going on than there seems. It is just so weird. You are forced to basically have closet conversation in codes to communicate with each other, and that is after you have sized up the other person for a very long time to make sure that they aren't going to run to someone and rat you out for disagreeing with the CIC. And, all that is just what the wives of the officers have to do, much less the officers themselves. But none of this is my opinion, just an observation. I know noone that does any of the above things. ;)

    The republican rhetoric and rediculous side show are sickening. Can we not have an adult debate in this country? Why is it not obvious to more people that these clowns care only about winning elections and accumulating power and care nothing about the nation?

  14. Jim,

    As Navywife said, the only folks in the officer corps you're likely to hear from are the Bush backers. The rest don't really have the option of speaking up.

    About 10 years ago, Tom Ricks of the WaPo did a survey and figured that something like 62 percent of military officers identified themselves as staunch conservatives. That type seldom looks too deeeply at the issues. (Sorry if that sounds dismissive, but it's true.)

    My strong impression is that the officers in the Army are the most unhappy with the administration, much of that has to do with Rummy.

    Thanks for stopping by and posting.



  15. Dan:

    Wish I had your optimism. The Democrats are feisty, and the base loves it, but their not being feisty in a way that will get them much in terms of the swing votes they'll need this November. Their feistiness needs to be coupled with a real vision, and plan, for what to do next, in Iraq ans elsewhere. The Dems are still using 'bash Bush' as their number one strategy, and that's only going to get them so far. They should clean up in November, by rights, but if they keep doing what they're doing now, they are going to have a fight on their hands and may well not gain control of either house of Congress.

    I'm thinking they missed the first part of a great window of opportunity, when Bush was at his lowest. Already Gallup and one other poll (ABC? Can't remember) have Bush up 6 or 7 points in approval. Granted, his rating still sucks (Gallup has him going from 31 a couple weeks ago to 38 now I think), but the Democrats should have struck harder when he was on the way down and hitting bottom, not waited until he's moving the other way. I don't expect his rating to get very high, though, and there's a decent chance it will tank again before November, but in politics you can't rely on hoping for something like that. The Democrats could really have hit the GOP with a virtual death-blow over the last few weeks if they'd gotten their act together. They blew it (as Democrats are wont to do) and it remains to be seen whether they can rectify the problem before November.

    I don't share your optimism because the Democrats have been a continual let-down in elections the past few years and they aren't doing anything different. Their strategy seems to be to stand by and let the GOP defeat themselves. That may work eventually, if things continue to get worse in Iraq and gas prices climb, etc. But it isn't the kind of strategy I like to see - I'd prefer to see the Democrats take matters into their own hands, affirmatively speaking, and win the election (rather than relying on not losing it, if you get my meaning).

  16. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Didn't the OPFOR from California where tank tactics are practiced get sent to Iraq. Damn, I can't believe I've forgotten the name. I think that's what he meant by 'seed corn'.

  17. Exactly. This is becoming reminiscent of what Japan and Germany would up doing--keeping their top line forces in battle until they were all used up.