Monday, November 21, 2005

Withdraw From Iraq

If you've been paying attention this past weekend to Washington, then you aren't surprised that the lid is blowing off of Iraq.

All last week there was "debate" (and I use quotes becuase the words were less than civil) between the Democrats and Republicans over the Iraq War, torture, and the justification of the Iraq War. Then came Thursday when Pennsylvania Democratic Representative John Murtha made a bold statement that we should withdraw from Iraq. To understand this as bold you must know that Murtha is a pro-defense Democrat and a former three tour Viet Nam Marine vet. He is not some "peace loving liberal."

Murtha has developed a withdrawal plan that would take six months and wanted the House of Representatives to debate his plan. But the Republicans in the House wanted nothing to do with it. Instead they offered their own proposal of "immediate withdrawal" and forced a vote on this also immediately. In other words they wanted to vote on something they didn't even want. It would be similar to Republicans proposing a flag burning amendment, to make flag burning a common event. They were trying to force the Democrats to vote "yes" on immediate withdrawal (even though Dems don't all agree with it) but as a losing vote as the Republicans hold the majority votes.

This was essentially a political trick and the Democrats cried 'foul" loudly. What little debate that was allowed by the Republicans (half hour each party) was rancorous to say the least. At one point a rookie Rupublican Jean Schmidt said this, "A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the house of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."

Wow, calling a three tour of duty Viet Nam vet a coward! Well, the Democrats began booing loudly and the Republicans held up debate to discuss her remarks. She then came back and apologized and ask that her words be stricken from the record. Of course her words are all on tape and the news channels were playing them back repeatedly, too late Jean, you've been heard loud and clear.

In the end of this fiasco, only a few Representatives voted yes for immediate withdrawal. But you can bet the real debate is far from over. Staying the course is becoming less popular by the day. Even generals on the ground in Iraq are suggesting withdrawal.

I have been saying this for well over a year. The problem has always been that there was never really a plan to win the war AFTER the fall of Baghdad. The Bush planners have been making things up as they go, and also two steps behind what was actually happening in Iraq. Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said in those early weeks that they didn't expect the looting and anarchy. That was my first clue that these guys were not thinking ahead and they've only proved they have been clueless since that day. I mean geez, they sent in General Garner to form the new Iraqi government without any Arabic interpreters, tell me that isn't more than stupid.

We haven't heard the last of withdrawing from Iraq, far from it. You can bet after the December elections in Iraq that we will begin hearing that they should be able to handle they're own country now. Words of withdrawal without actually using that word will soon be coming from the White House. In some fashion they will eventually declare "victory" and pull the troops back.


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