'For the troops'? Not this time

Discussion in 'Politics' started by red states rule, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    Dems are showing the world they really do stanf shoulder to shoulder with the troops - however it is a cold shoulder

    'For the troops'? Not this time


    After the midterm elections, the Democratic congressional leadership promised not to cut funding for the war. "We're not going to do anything to limit funding or cut off funds," said Harry Reid on Nov. 30. "For the troops" was the Democratic mantra then. This week, fingers ever in the wind, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blew the doors off that post-election promise, saying that President Bush's refusal to accept a timeline for withdrawal requires that they threaten a cutoff.
    The legislation Democrats plan to push when the Senate returns to work next week reads: "Prohibition on Use of Funds -- No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces after March 31, 2008."
    "I am delighted to be working with the majority leader to bring our involvement in the Iraq war to an end," Sen. Russ Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat, said this week. The bill "end funding for the president's failed Iraq policy." There is no confusion on what this bill intends.
    Words have no meaning if this can be reconciled with directly antithetical promises made only a few months ago. Mr. Reid made his "not going to do anything" statement three weeks after the elections. This wasn't some phony campaign promise. It was a phony Washington promise. All indications are that this statement was intended to be taken seriously as an indication of how Democrats would proceed in the 110th Congress. Naturally, it is proven this week to be utterly mendacious.
    It's not just Mr. Reid who has flip-flopped in the last four months. Here's Mrs. Pelosi on Dec. 5: "We will not cut off funding for the troops."
    To hear Democrats explain the discrepancy, it's all Mr. Bush's fault. His refusal to acquiesce in a withdrawal timeline forced it, they say. Of course. Now we're clear on the meaning of these post-election promises. "We will not cut off funding for the troops" actually meant: "We might cut off funding if President Bush resists our attempts to micromanage the war in Iraq."
    This mindset is not new. Its animus is to downplay one's own responsibility and pretend that Iraq is someone else's problem. Take Sens. Joe Biden and Chuck Hagel, two pivotal votes in the Senate's 50-48 Iraq withdrawal amendment. They won't be advertising it today, but in 2002, in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, they wrote in The Washington Post that "the decade after" the Iraq invasion will be "the most challenging phase." Our presence in Iraq "will be necessary for several years." We will need to spend "up to $20 billion a year," they wrote, not including "the cost of the war itself, or the effort to rebuild Iraq." Last week, they both voted for withdrawal. We cannot think of a worse problem than Iraq for lawmakers' games of chicken or fingers in the wind.
     
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    Guaranteeing Defeat
    BY DONALD KIRK
    April 4, 2007
    URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/51793




    Cries for a deadline for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq conjure bitter memories.

    I was a young reporter in Vietnam on April 30, 1970, when President Nixon ordered American troops across the border into Cambodia. I jumped into a helicopter for a low-level ride from a base on an old French rubber plantation to Cambodia on the first day, then flew back on the same helicopter an hour or so later — enough to justify the dateline, "The Fishhook, Cambodia," for the story that I filed from the U.S. military press center for the next day's edition of the old Washington Star.

    The next day, I rode with American troops on an armored personnel carrier, then made my way on the backseat of a motorcycle to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh.

    Those were heady days. I remember vividly what some of the GI's were saying — "about time" was a comment I heard more than once. The tide of the war was turning, and American forces were no longer hamstrung by bureaucratic nonsense from Washington that had kept them from overrunning North Vietnamese base areas just across the border.

    We saw the stacks of Soviet arms inside the border, and we walked out with souvenirs — evidence of Soviet support of the North Vietnamese, who were still denying any role in South Vietnam. A U.S. military policeman confiscated the Soviet-made SKS rifle that I was carrying the moment he saw me. But the story was not over.

    So great was anti-war pressure across America that Nixon, soon after announcing the foray into the communist base areas, placed a strict limit on the presence of American troops in Cambodia — no more than 60 days. Nor would they go down much beyond the Ho Chi Minh trail network which Hanoi had been sending supplies to for years.

    That wasn't all. Just to pin down American forces still more tightly, the next January, our Congress passed the Cooper-Church amendment barring military operations inside Cambodia as a condition for the military budget.

    The North Vietnamese suffered devastating blows while American troops were there but had plenty of time to regroup and mount a full-scale invasion of South Vietnam two years later — the Easter offensive — in which they were again thrown back, only to recover and return one last time in the winter and spring of 1975 when all American troops had gone.

    Now Congress is playing the same game. Forgetting the lesson of 1970, the House and Senate want to set a limit on the duration of U.S. military operations inside Iraq.

    The voting on this maneuver has broken down largely along party lines — the Democrats shouting down the Republicans, but you don't have to be a card-carrying conservative or a Republican to recognize this bid for legislative command of the armed forces as a betrayal of our troops.

    We are not going to win a war, or get out with any semblance of honor, by telling our enemy to just lie low for a while and next month or next year we'll be gone. America lost in Vietnam as a result of anti-war opposition at home.

    We had to fight a "limited war" in which American troops were largely barred from going into North Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia. Members of Congress — and an overwhelmingly anti-war press — bayed in unison when American forces were revealed to have conducted "secret" bombing missions over the jungles of Laos and Cambodia.

    The bombing of base areas and supply routes through North Vietnam was carefully manipulated by bomb "halts" in which the North Vietnamese were supposed to sigh in gratitude and come to terms, knowing the horrific fate that awaited them if the bombing resumed. There was no way this strategy could work, of course, no way to win that war, or any war, without going into the enemy heartland with infantry troops on the ground.

    Those who think, "fine, but now Vietnam is a peaceful place," should remember the aftermath of America's defeat — the flight of hundreds of thousands of refugees who had placed their faith in the American commitment and the deaths of thousands more all in "re-education" camps, not to mention the killing of two million people under the Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia.

    American commanders in Iraq no doubt miscalculated what was needed to win in the current long run after the defeat of Saddam Hussein's regime four years ago.

    Nonetheless, Senator McCain is right when he says it's elementary not to place a deadline on our military commitment in that tortured land of Iraq, just as it was foolish to pull out of Cambodia by the 60-day deadline or to call bombing halts in negotiations that could only end in failure.

    If we think the war in Iraq is bad now, there's no telling how much worse it will get if Congress is free to hamstring our armed forces.

    The most likely scenario in the event of a premature withdrawal dictated by politicians and pundits in Washington is that Sunnis, Shiites, and others will go on killing each other in ever rising numbers until another bloodthirsty strongman rises and imposes his own cruel peace.

    If the critics think that's okay, as long as the slaughter is confined to Iraq, what about the consequences for the whole Middle East?

    The critics, in their eagerness to thrash the Bush administration, forget the dangers of an artificial time limit that will guarantee defeat — and much greater dangers for those we leave behind.

    Mr. Kirk spent nearly a decade as a correspondent in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, covered the first Gulf War from Baghdad, and reported again from Baghdad in 2004.
     

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