Thursday, February 15, 2007

North Texans Debate the President's Escalation Plans

H. Con. Res. 63 --Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That--
(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and
(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

As rumors of Republican defections surface, the congressional debate on the Iraq Resolution continues unabated today.

Despite having failed to secure any resolution to the Iraq crisis while in power, the Republicans now promise to snipe at any proposal, no matter how cautious, that would criticize the President's failed war plans. The House version of the Iraq Resolution is a non-binding statement opposing the President's plan to send more troops to Iraq. Make no mistake - Bush is determined to proceed with this ill-conceived plan, despite the lack of support from Congress, the military or the American people. It's a huge political risk, and judging from this post from Gonzo Muckraker, the Republicans know it.

The stench of political desperation became so rank last week that a wisely anonymous staffer from the offices of either Rep. Shadegg (Arr-AZ) or Rep. Hoekstra (Arr-MI) leaked an insider memo to GOP friendlies, outlining how the party will attempt to avoid the debate. Their “strategy” - quoted verbatim - is …

“The debate should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made, or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily. If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose.”

Read the resolution. Anyone voting against this resolution is voting for escalation. Given the unpopularity of Bush's proposal, the Republicans don't want to debate that issue, so they simply sidestep it altogether. Instead, they whine, misdirect and fall back on the tired fear-mongering that got us here in the first place.

Let's see which of our North Texas Republicans got the memo. Here is a selection of comments from the floor of the House yesterday.

Pete Sessions (R- Dallas): "With this resolution my colleagues on the other side of the aisle provide the troops with nothing: no guarantees that we will continue to fund their heroic efforts; no guarantees that Congress will heed the advice of the Iraq Study group -- which notes on page 73 of their report that it would 'support a short-term redeployment or surge of American combat forces to stabilize Baghdad, or to speed up the training and equipping mission.'

Nor does it provide the American people with a clear picture of our direction in Iraq -- it simply says 'no' to the only strategy for success which has been put forward."

Michael Burgess (R- Lewisville): "When I was in Iraq in August of 2005, General Casey told myself and a group of us who were there, that 'There is no group in the world that can stand up to the American military. In fact, the only organized body in the world capable of defeating the American military was the American Congress.' I believe he was right......"

"I fully recognize that by voting against this resolution, I put myself in jeopardy of re-election, and I am willing to do that because I believe a vote for this resolution puts my country's fate in significant jeopardy for decades to come. ... Is it in our road national interest to win this fight? Can we prevail? Can we provide a modicum of security in the country of Iraq? Can we provide a modicum of sovereignty in the country of Iraq? For me, the answer ... is yes."

So Burgess is prepared to stake his future re-election on support for the surge. Let's see how that plays out in 2008.

[Note: C-SPAN has video links for the full text of the speeches, sorted by state. As soon as the link is updated, we'll provide it. ]

1 comment:

Bradley said...

I heard John Cornyn talking about this on a podcast I subscribe to... Newshour with Jim Lehrer maybe? And he was saying basically the same thing as Sessions here. He said that he thought the resolution was pointless because it had no bite (which I kind of agree... if Congress disapproves of the surge, they need to exercise the power of the purse and stop funding it). He also said it was demoralizing to the troops. I disagree--- I think that the majority of the troops, as evidenced by polls and by numerous interviews and further, believe it's time to wrap this up.