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June 15, 2006

The cheapest of cheap political theater

God knows we need a debate on the never ending war in Iraq, but what begins today in the House of Representatives is nothing more than the cheapest of cheap political theater.

The resolution put before the House (by Illinois' own Henry Hyde) concludes by declaring "Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives ... declares that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary." (Full text)


Alrighty then.

If the mere wording of the resolution is not enough in itself to demonstrate the motive for this "debate" is partisan advantage, House Republican leader John Boehner made it clear in a "confidential" memo to House Republicans, in which he makes clear the points he hopes to score against Dems. (Full text)

Dems, being the irresolute sheep they are, will mostly go along with the charade, though there is a small chance this may go where Boehner and the other game-players don't intend. At least a few Republicans are pretty upset by the cheap tactics and may get out of control. We'll see over the next couple of days.

As an aside here, I'll say that one of the reasons I mostly admire Lane Evans is that he was one of few Dems who had the guts and clear-headedness to vote against the Iraq war resolution back in 2003. But even he ended up voting in favor of some atrocious "war on terror" laws because the ever-duplicitious Bushies tacked then onto bills that provided payroll and equipment money for the troops in Iraq.
(See Cry, beloved country.)

Wonder if he's going to be able to take part in this debate.

Posted by jcb at June 15, 2006 12:15 AM

Comments

Hyde is always good for some over-blown, high-falutin' bombast. ("What about the children?", "The flag is falling." and invoking the war dead from Iwo Jima and every war the U.S. has ever engaged in during his desperate appeal to the Senate to take his impeachment mis-managers seriously are but a couple examples.)

I think the news that he's throwing in the towel after this term is a bit of good news in this dismal political season.

And though this is clearly a ploy to attempt to back Dems into a corner, it remains the first official debate on Iraq that's been allowed in congress for a long time.

I too am rooting that it may prove to be an opportunity for some straight talk from some about the reality of this "long war".

Posted by: TID at June 15, 2006 05:54 AM

I am not naive enough not to see the political side of this, howeer, is there something offensive about any part of the resolution?

I have read through the resolution and I do not see one line that I could, given the situation that we face, today, June 15, 2006, disagree with.

Please, direct from the resolution, can anyone provide a line that is not worthy of support?

Posted by: Anonymous at June 15, 2006 09:19 AM

So what has the country being doing the entire time for the better part of 30 years? It is disrespectful to those who have given their lives in this struggle. I guess we were not vigilant enough as a nation, but the new resolution will take care of that - now we are all nice and vigilant. Enough of this theater - Americans want to know what we are going to do - we all know the entire Congress is against terrorism. It is not merely that this is a charade - it is a huge waste of time. Time that could be spent on finding solutions - solutions on how to succeed in the global war on terror - not solutions on how to succeed in the midterm elections. Unfortunately, that is the most important thing for either party right now. Reporters need to press politicians on this issue – what would you do? Keep asking until you get some honest and specific answers. Don’t let them off the hook. Then print what they say and punch holes in their policy. JCB has started with this post, but the media needs to challenge the candidates – challenge Hare and Zinga – and if they do not provide good answers hold their feet to the fire.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at June 15, 2006 02:04 PM

I appears there will be even more "cheap political theatre", this time from the Democrats.

John Kerry has decided that he is now AGAINST the war (he was FOR it before, etc.) so in order to exacerbate the split in the Democrat Party, and score some cheap political points against Hillary, (and other centrist DLC types) who was booed at a recent anti-war confab, he now says he will introduce a resolution that calls for the pull out of troops from Iraq by the end of the year.

Some may remember that last year, John Murtha was beating the drums for immediate pullout from Iraq. The Republicans wisely (IMO) called his bluff and pushed a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawl of troops. About two people voted for it----and John Murtha wasn't one of them. One thing about politicians, they'll say anything---it's the DOING that causes them problems.

In other words, it's a continual election cycle out there, which means that each party is pandering to it's respective base---Democrats to the far left, with the Kerry scheme, and Republicans the far right, with the late, unlamented anti-gay marriage amendment nonsense. There is just no end to this stupidity----and both sides do it.

You would think that with the current Republican war resolution, and the coming Kerry resolution this would offer an opportunity to debate the war, three years in. But no. Kerry is obviously seeking to take advantage of Hillary's unpopularity with the anti-war left, and the Republicans are forcing the Democrats to either be for the war or against it. This doesn't sound like a debate to me, it sounds like war.

As for Lane Evans, I'd have more admiration for him sticking to his principles if he was in a truly competitive district. As it is, he doesn't have to answer to voters and can do whatever he likes. Most of the Dems who voted for the war did so because their constituents demanded it. Lane had no such demands placed on him. Sticking to your principles is easy when they are never tested.

Posted by: paladin at June 15, 2006 02:08 PM

Still, what is wrong with passing the Resolution? Is there something wrong with the language - again, I will ask...please tell me one line that is not worthy of support.

Wasting time is debating this issue.
Wasting time would be to spend time on the floor debating this resolution. Passing this resolution is likely a 10-minute roll call.

Is there one line in this resolution that is flawed, that is un-American, that is worthy of debate?

Posted by: Anonymous at June 15, 2006 02:44 PM

The waste is having something like this at all. We might as well have our well-paid representatives spend time passing a resolution that says they like cookies and sunshine.

Posted by: QuadCityImages at June 15, 2006 04:48 PM

I am not sure what to think about this war. I know I predicted it a long time ago in a political discussion with some friends right after the first Gulf War. I said after we left the first time, the first excuse the government could use to go back in they would. 9-11 and the fear it created gave them the perceived justification and the means they could sell the war to the people. In my mind it was an inevitable war we were doomed to resurrect after we left the region the first time. Hussein was our puppet and problem to deal with. Perhaps one of the things that I find asinine is the way that those like Kerry who were for the war before, are now claiming that they were deceived. Maybe theywere somewhat deceived, but mostly like any salesman, Bush sold them with the sizzle and smoke of a good sales pitch and they bought the farm wihtout looking over the landscape. One of the things that those are now screaming foul about was that they had not seen the full transcripts of the intelligence information, despite it being available for reading, because most had opted only to read the shortened version. What brought this to my mind is when I was reading posts on the subject of Hare not knowing about his possible ethics violation, a reply to defend Hare was posted that I feel is probably a correct assumption of most of our political leaders after the lack of exertion they put into research before voting for going to war. Here is the post I was talking about that was an attempt to defend Hare for his lack of knowledge about the ethics violation:
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{{Posted by: Values Matter at June 12, 2006 10:21 AM
The vast majority of Congressmen and women don't read everything they vote on or act on. The key here is when presented with the correct information and interpretation, Mr. Hare acted decisively and correctly.}}
*************************************************************************************************

My question is if they are not going to read the whole story whether it is a question of ethics or even more important when they are deciding a war policy, what are they doing in office in the first place? I don't expect them to have every answer but I do expect them to do the research before they make a decision. The whole Iraq War dissention in the congress is nothing more than poorly acted out bad vs. evil party politics. It was their responsibility to have the initiative to research and think for themselves before making a decision. Instead they bought the farm after taking the two-dollar tour instead of looking the whole extravaganza over. The current bickering and fighting is just more wasteful party politics. They all made the decision to go to war now we are stuck with the war until it is resolved. It was poor statesmanship and party politicking by everyone from top to bottom in the Congressional and Executive branches of our government from the start to the current debates.

Posted by: NMP at June 15, 2006 10:24 PM

NWP -- You are ever so correct about Congress abdicating its responsibilities before voting on the Iraqi war resolution. Too busy worrying about what the pollsters were reporting to explore the reasoning behind what at the time was a popular notion.

Paladin -- you're wrong in suggesting there was no pressure on Evans to support the war. Newspapers all up and down the district editorialized in favor of it. And the Democrats in the 17th are far more a blue-collar bunch than the effete intellectual crowd. There was no shortage of a willingness in these parts to go kick some more butt, just like we did in Afghanistan.

-----------

Bush said well before 9-11 that our doctrine now is to fight pre-emptive wars. Failing to examine carefully the reasons offered for implementing that doctrine in Iraq was but the first of way too many instances of Congress handing over new power to this executive.

The need for Congress to reassert itself -- that is, accept its responsibilites -- was a major theme in Amy Stockwell's short-lived attempt to replace Evans on the ballot. She's 100 percent right.

But, hey, but who's got time to do the job when there's money to be raised, to pay for those polls and TV ads everyone thinks they need to get re-elected?

Posted by: jcb at June 15, 2006 11:12 PM

jcb, I didn't mean to imply that Evans had no local political pressure, I meant to say he was impervious to constituent pressure because:

1. The RICO Republican Party had up and died, and

2. The 17th District had been redrawn to Evans' benefit.

In fact, if I remember correctly, the Republicans didn't even bother to run a candidate against Evans in '02, which reminds me of my favorite taunt to Democrats:

Q: What do Lane Evans and Saddam Hussein have in common?

A: They both got 100% of the vote in '02.

Hardee-har-har.

Evans knew he could vote against his constituents' wishes and still get re-elected.

This is somewhat OT---I read in the D/A today that the D/A (and AP---what's with that?) won the right to challenge the Evans closed hearing decision. That was a brave thing to do. From reading blogs, I discovered that there are people out there who think we have no business questioning Evans about anything. It's really amazing to me. There is some anger at the D/A for "violating Evans' privacy", and my guess is there may be some cancellations from angry Evans Cult members. I know newspapers are having a hard time of it now, and the easy thing to do would have been to just go along with the flow and not get anyone all riled up.

You guys deserve kudos and have earned your $202.50. ;-)

Posted by: paladin at June 16, 2006 12:33 PM

First of all there are several companies that are making exurbanite amounts of money on the US military presence in Iraq. I said during the campaign for the 17th nomination that type of force that we have in Iraq leaves much too large of a signature. What are needed are more special operations forces. Unfortunately, the SF is stretched thin like most of the units in the military. I suggested doubling the size of all SOF. This would not be easy, because SOF training is arduous and specialized. This would be a lengthy process, but one that could be measured and gradually implemented. This would set us up for success not only in Iraq, but for future conflicts as well. I definitely would demand benchmarks that when met would trigger immediate troop reductions. Every organization has actions plans in place to meet objectives why should the government be different. There is nothing wrong with gradual, targeted troops reductions. This would include a precise training level system, which is already in place, for Iraq units that would include more significant responsibility for those units when training levels are met. In addition, I would add another division to the US Army and an additional brigade in the Marine Corps. This would ease troop deployments and the pressure on the National Guard and Reserve, which are needed for local emergencies. This I contend would also make recruitment more difficult in the short-term, but easier in the long run with longer periods between deployments. This would replace heavy units with lighter units - which will cut down on convoy size and make the targets for terrorists more difficult to engage. Once the increased numbers of special operations units are in place there could also be a stepped up effort to engage and track terrorist organizations in the entire Middle East. Additionally, those companies that support the huge military force could be put to work ensuring the Iraqi people have clean water, safe roads, and well equipped hospitals - so they still get their contracts. In conclusion: 1) Double size of SOF, 2) Add Division in Army and Brigade in the Marines, 3) Increase Iraqi units responsibility with training level system, 4) Graduated troop reductions so American people can actually track the progress, 5) Start removing NG and Reserve units and getting them back in their home states to meet local needs, 6) Set out on a written plan of action and be honest with the American people when it is behind schedule. These are just a few ideas and most definitely are not the end of the discussion - but maybe my ideas and other ideas could be merged and massaged to formulate a comprehensive policy. I would relish the opportunity to work on this issue and others for our district in the future.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at June 16, 2006 08:25 PM

Rob your ideas sound good and may have merit, but with the current state of politics I fear they would fall on deaf ears on a national level as badly as they did here locally. The two parties have quit trying to solve problems instead they are choosing to cheerlead their core base and pat each other on the back for poking a stick in the eye of the other party. Until both parties are forced by the voters to deal with the problems at hand, neither is going to choose to solve them. But I fear the apathetic voters and those voters that just rubber stamp party lines in this country are dooming our futures.

Posted by: NMP at June 16, 2006 10:12 PM

Rob

The idea that the one could double the size of the special forces is ludicrous. First, the recruiting pool is considerably too small to support such an increase without seriously lowering standards. Then they wouldn’t be “Special Forces” any more.

The total of special forces type units--Army Special Forces, Delta Force, Navy Seals, Marine Force Recon--is about 40,000 men. Those who apply, often for years in a row, are already elite, highly trained troops, and that of those who start the SF schools, only about 30% end up passing. So, it would appear that doubling the size of the force would seem to dilute the quality. The numbers are not there. The current goal of increasing the number by 15% is more realistic.

Posted by: qp at June 17, 2006 07:40 AM

What Rob Mellon is suggesting will "lower the bar" on the quality of U.S. Special Forces. Time to launch Operation Good Job.

Posted by: America's Finest News Source at June 17, 2006 12:49 PM

I am glad that some have questioned my plan - that is what should happen, but more SOF is exactly what the country needs to meet the current threats that face us as a nation. I have been very; very clear that this would not be an overnight process on the contrary this is a process that would take several years. If you are comfortable with the current policy then by all means let us keep that course for the next ten-year – I most assuredly am content and neither are 70% of Americans. Moreover, did I once suggest lowering the standards of training - NO! I think that a country of more than 300 million people can come up with an additional 20,000 SOF if given the time to properly develop them. This is the problem with modern politics we think sooooooo small it is not even funny – little incremental changes that have little affect. If we really want to meet the challenges we face we have to be willing to think outside the box, raise the bar on expectations, and come up with unique solutions - not variations of the current plan. Under our current system I would agree that doubling the size of SOF would be difficult, but I am talking about changing the system. General Shinseki attempted to make the Army lighter and more mobile. That reorganization process is still in development. Shinseki unfortunately gave the President his opinion on Iraq – and we all know what happens to generals that disagree with the President – retirement.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at June 17, 2006 09:44 PM

Back, for a second, to the topic of this post: The resolution declaring we're going to win the war on terror was passed 256-153. Evans didn't vote.

Here's the roll call. Go find out who are the brave souls disgusted enough with the process to vote against a bill entitled "Declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary."


Posted by: jcb at June 17, 2006 11:23 PM

I assume that folks are voting against this resolution because of this part:

"(3) declares that 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;"

If that's the hangup, I'd vote for the resolution, because if we picked a date for withdrawl, it would be logical which is the opposite of arbitrary.

This part is nice:

"Resolved, That the House of Representatives honors all those Americans who have taken an active part in the Global War on Terror, whether as first responders protecting the homeland, as servicemembers overseas, as diplomats and intelligence officers, or in other roles;"

Thank you, House, I feel honored.

This part is gloating (and there have been bigger victories):

"Whereas United States Armed Forces, in coordination with Iraqi security forces and Coalition and other friendly forces, have scored impressive victories in Iraq including finding and killing the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-
Zarqawi;"

Rob, I think if you click on the link for the name of the commenter above your last comment, you'll see that it's a link to a story from the Onion.

Posted by: Huck Finn at June 18, 2006 02:02 AM

I have read the resolution. I do not see one one line that would cause me to vite against the Resolution.

Unless someone can tell me a specific line that is particularly offensive, a vote against this Resolution seems anti-American and politics at it's worst.

Is there such a line - anyone?

Posted by: havinfun at June 18, 2006 12:03 PM

I know I'm running against the tide here, but I think there should be MORE "Put Up Or Shut UP" votes, in attempt to curb the excessive bloviation from Congresspersons from both sides.

Mitch McConnell pre-empted the feckless John Kerry and introduced a resolution based on Kerry's bloviations in the Senate. The result: the Senate voted down Kerry's idea of troups out of Iraq by the end of '06 by a vote of 93-6, just about as bipartisan a vote as you could get in the Senate. At least Kerry voted FOR his own idea (as opposed to the bloviating Murtha), with the usual suspects----Feingold, Boxer, KKK Byrd, I Welcome Space Aliens Harkin and "Splash" Kennedy.

I was equally pleased to see the doomed and idiotic Marriage is Just Between XX and YX Chromosomes Amendment go down in flames, though I don't have the breakdown at hand.

I say, make bloviators put their votes where their mouths are. More, please!

Posted by: paladin at June 18, 2006 01:51 PM

The kabuki theatre known as the US Congress continues. After the Kerry-type resolution, calling for all troups to be out of Iraq by the end of '06 went down in flames, 93-6, now I see that the Senate Democrats will propose a resolution on Tuesday calling for a "phased withdrawl" from Iraq.

Good lord, don't these Democrats remember history? The only way the VietNam war was ended was by Congress pulling the plug on financing it. What brave Democrat will come forward and call for the end of funding for the Iraq war? (snort!snicker!guffaw!)

Posted by: paladin at June 18, 2006 05:09 PM

Paladin -- Bruce Braley, the Dem running in Iowa's lst District is talking about it: Democratic Candidate Says Cut Funding as Last Resort to Get Troops Out of Iraq

Here's the discussion that followed, from Iowa's First.

Posted by: jcb at June 18, 2006 05:21 PM

Here's what I think would happen if Congress managed to "cut the funding" for Iraq. The first debates would start over the supplemental funding, and if the supplementals were seriously threatened, DoD would do to a much larger degree what it does now--shift money from the annual budget to fund the war. What would be the result?

Well, actually we're already seeing it, but no one seems to be noticing because there would be an uproar.

Slow painful death of military infrastructure and delayed or canceled modernization. Airfields suffer, piers suffer, ships suffer, tanks and weapons suffer, military housing suffers, average age of aircraft is older and more costly to maintain, training suffers. In two words: hollow force. Anyone been around long enough to remember what the military's condition was in the mid-70s?

Installation commanders are essentially told by their superiors when they take command that they will fail because the superiors are intentionally underfunding base infrastructure. I don't have an MBA, but that doesn't sound very efficient.

But somehow, we manage to fund expensive and unnecessary weapons programs. The costs keep skyorcketing.

So let's head back to the '70s. Disco, drugs, and a hollow military force.

I really think we're headed for a correction in defense spending, but it's going to be an overcorrection and unless we're willing to cancel some major programs, we're in for a rough decade.

Posted by: Huck Finn at June 18, 2006 05:41 PM

jcb, as I may have mentioned, I'm an IL resident, and further I support the war in Iraq and think we should do whatever we must to get the job done. My view is that GWB has not done enough to that end.

But whatever. If I did not support the war and thought we should get out NOW, I would not be voting for someone who voted for the namby-pamby "troups out by the end of '06" or the equally lame "troups out on a phased withdrawl". This is just political posturing and partisan hackery.

This Braley guy seems to have the right idea---if you're against the war, defund the danged thing---NOW! Anything else is just pure and simple political bullsh*t.

Posted by: paladin at June 18, 2006 05:54 PM

I am something of an insomniac at times and as such I tend to be reading news at hours most people are snoring. Last night as I was browsing I read a post on Tacky's website that solidified my cynicism about both parties and their political theatre and games. A partial of the post read as follows:

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{{Two precinct committeemen who gave all their votes to Mark Schweibert paid their respects to Rock Island County Democratic Party Chairman John Gianulis and left generous donations. Will that satisfy the Chairman? We will have to wait and see.}}
**************************************************************************************************

This is what irrates me about both parties! Unless you play follow the leader you are ostracized and not allowed to play reindeer games with all the other boys and girls in your party. To get back in the games you have to pay penance by kneeling down and kissing the ring and then tithe to the respective pope of the party. If you choose not to kneel before the party lord and master your political future is whacked and eviscerated. This makes both parties reek of corruption. This is not democracy but extortion and mafia style tactics. Is there any wonder that new ideas and growth are so obstructed?

Posted by: NoMorePinocchios at June 19, 2006 02:35 PM

NoMorePinocchios - I agree entirely with the last part of your post - without question. Not only will they not support you they will go out of their way to try and humiliate you - and then revel in their accomplishments. Hacks or no hacks - I am not going anywhere.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at June 19, 2006 06:57 PM

Mellon,

I have never seen such a self-importan person as you. You just ran dead last in the primary. Now you are making staments like "I am not going anywhere." Do you really think anyone noticed you were here the first time.

Congressman Phil Hare will run over you like he did last time!

Posted by: DOGboy at June 20, 2006 03:13 PM

DOGboy - thanks for the complimentary message. I was just wondering though - do you disagree with my ideas? If so could you be specific on which ones that you disagree with. Is it the plan to establish a national energy policy that would rival the Manhattan Project creating 150,000 jobs, is it the billion dollars for the VA with a special emphasis on prosthesis, or maybe it was the increase in SOF in Iraq which would allow a strategic draw down of troops, how about the promise to secure a WIU campus in RICO, - I am just guessing here - which of my ideas are you not in agreement with? Isn't that what being a congressman is all about - what you would do if you were elected? How that message gets lost is beyond me – the media needs to press candidates on specifics and reward those candidates that attempt to provide solutions. With my limited assets I have tried to explain what I would do – if you agree then why the negativity? Why don’t you join me in an effort to change the way politics operates? It doesn't have to be about competition with Phil - there are a lot of ways to participate.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at June 20, 2006 11:25 PM

Ok dogboy, it's time to put-up, or shut-up...sounds like you have a specific challenge before you based on nothing more than facts.

Looking forward to seeing your response.

Posted by: Anonymous at June 21, 2006 10:28 AM

What Primary? There was no real Primary! There was a farce of a Primary where Lane Evans pretended that he was capable of running, thus no one ran against him. And that was followed by a pretense of an elected process to circumvent the voters when the committeemen that owed loyalties to the leaders in the party voted as they were expected to vote, by those political leaders. There was never any doubt about who was going to take Evans place on the ballot after the election evasion process started. Hare was never the choice of the voters. Hare was the choice of a corrupted political process to avoid allowing the voters to make a selection.

Posted by: NMP at June 21, 2006 01:35 PM

An anonymous person repeatedly asked at the beginning of this thread why someone would vote against it. I would vote against it because it is total waste of time and effort. As someone mentioned above the next thing we know they will talk about how they like cookies and sunshine. These men and women are elected to do more important things than this. We have issues in education, economics, trade, natural disasters, and plenty of other issues and all the leaders of our country can do is declare that we will win against terrorists?

I offer that we certainly are not winning this battle. Call me unpatriotic, I don't care, but this war will not end soon and we will not be victorious. I feel lucky that I was not alive for Vietnam, because I think I would explode in the irony of the same sort of situation.

One of the parts of the resolution I particularly liked was where they said Iraq is sovereign, free, and secure. Sounds to me like secure is that last word that should be used to describe Iraq.

I also noticed there was a lot of rhetoric above about people voting/not voting for specific resolutions. I would argue that often times these are packed with so much superfluous information that it ends up damning the representative either way. For instance, a resolution on going to war will most likely include certain funding issues for said war. If someone votes for it, they are pro-war but if someone votes against it they are anti-troops. It's often a no win.

The other aspect of this particular resolution is that jsut because everyone in Congress approves it, doesn't make it so. Maybe I will write a resolution saying I want a million dollars. Will that get me any closer to that money? I think not. Just because we want to sound patriotic and approve this silly resolution, what does ti actually accomplish? Mr. anonymous from above, I question you. How does voting for this resolution improve the situation in Iraq or Afghanistan???

Posted by: Robbie at June 21, 2006 01:57 PM

I am the original Anonymous.

Certainly the debate and questioning of the effort in Iraq must have negative effects on the troops fighting there. The resolution most definately provides them encouragement - and a unanomous resolution, unanimous encouragement (unfortunately that was not going to happen).

I appreciate your post, however, I asked for one specific line in the Resolution that was worthy of voting against. We can droll on endlessly about 'theory' and rheteric, however, IS THERE A LINE IN THE RESOLUTION THAT IS PARTICULARLY OFFENSIVE?

I asked this question -7- days ago - and not one person has identified one line - curious isn't it?

(Makes one understand that if we dealt with FACTS rather than 'suposition, feelings and opinions' we might actually be able to get to agreement.

Posted by: Anonymous at June 21, 2006 09:33 PM

I will agree that the language in the resolution is encouraging to a degree - if you agree that supplying the soldiers with more body armor and fewer deployments would be far more encouraging. If the language in the resolution is solid what is the concern then? Not enough time is spent developing a coherent policy. I still do not see why we cannot have a strategic plan, which includes troop reductions – that is not cut and running if it is a part of an overall strategy. I want better results – not from the soldiers in the field, but from those making the decisions. That distinction needs to be made. A criticism of the political leadership is not a criticism of the soldiers on the front line. The soldier’s job is hard enough, now they have to shield the politicians from criticism, as well. If they have the power to send our soldiers to war – at the very, very least the American public should hold the leaders to high standards. How do we hold leaders accountable in a democracy – simple, vote them out of office. That is about the most patriotic thing I can think of – an average American using their vote to assert their will.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at June 21, 2006 11:20 PM

We are trying to fight a war, a war on terror (which is presently being waged in Iraq). The problem is partially the war effort (what war ever goes smoothly?), the politicians, but specifically, we are fighting the war with moment-to-moment TV invasion.

not one movement can be made without 10-talking heads commenting, based on third party perspective and half of the information. What they say then becomes gospel. If that were not enough, then they all turn into Monday-morning quarterbacks and critique yesterday's efforts.

I suspect that there has never been a war, let alone a battle, that went 100% according to plan.

i am not saying that we should give the military a blank check and no oversight, but if we had the 24/7 media around during World War II, then there would not be one Jewish person on the face of the earth and we would all be living in the United State of Germany.

There were no timetables in the American Revolution, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, or any war since. Actually, the only war in which we had a timetable was Vietnam, and, personally, i do not like the precedent!

The plan to get out of Iraq? As with any war and as Ronald Reagan suggested - "We win, they lose" -one does not put a timetable on that!

God Bless our troops.
God Bless our freedom to discuss this openly.
God Bless all of our veterans for providing that freedom!

Posted by: Jim Mowen at June 22, 2006 07:05 AM

Mr. Anonymous, I did indeed point out a line I disagreed with. While I did not quote it, I thought I pointed it out clear enough.

"Whereas the mission of the United States and its Coalitionpartners, having removed Saddam Hussein and his re-gime from power, is to establish a sovereign, free, secure,and united Iraq at peace with its neighbors;"

That is a line that I wont like. Because we are not bringing security to Iraq. A poster after you mentioned that we are fighting the war against terrorism in Iraq. Tell me this, before we invaded, how many terrorists were coming out of Iraq???

Heck alogn those lines I disagree with the following passage as well:

"Whereas by early 2003 Saddam Hussein and his criminal,Ba’athist regime in Iraq, which had supported terrorists,constituted a threat against global peace and securityand was in violation of mandatory United Nations Secu-rity Council Resolutions;"

The reason I disagree with that passage is the very reason I stated above. That there is no proof Iraq was supporting terrorists.

While I'm on a roll, I oppose this passage:

"Whereas the terrorists have declared Iraq to be the centralfront in their war against all who oppose their ideology"

Did the terrorists make Iraq the central front, or did we?

For now I will quit naming specific parts, as I feel I have met your request. And I am actually saddened by your post when you imply that we are supposed to deal with facts instead of opinions.interpretations. Because that is all this document is, and that is all this argument is about. There is no concrete answer that this war will be good or bad. There is no scale from 1-10 of how we are doing. This entire situation is open to interpretation. When the war started the majority interpretation was in support of the war. And now it seems to be the other way around. We tried to win a fact based war in vietnam when we felt we had to kill a certain number of people per american death. Like another poster mentioned, howd that turn out?

Posted by: Robbie at June 22, 2006 10:48 AM

I am happy to pick up for Anonymous...

(1) (of course) It is indeed the MISSION of the US to establish a soveregn, free, secure and united. Reasonable people may disagree as to the level of success at any given moment, however, a reasonable person cannot disagree with the intent and MISSION.

(2) Of course there is proof. It is a absolute fact that Saddam paid the families of homicide-bombers $25,000.00 - I'd say that this is 'Supporting terrorists.'

(3) Regardless of who started what when (an argument that is irrelevant at this time), the fact is that Iraq is indeed 'the central front against all who oppose their ideology.' If you disagree, please tell me what is, if not Iraq.

Thank you -

Posted by: Jim Mowen at June 22, 2006 09:57 PM

{{I suspect that there has never been a war, let alone a battle, that went 100% according to plan.}}
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I am amazed at the exceptional abilities our troops have displayed in this conflict. I can still remember the piles of body-bags the media displayed as there was worry we would lose thousands upon thousands during our initial invasion of Iraq. Instead most of our casualties have been from the police force duties of our troops. I think it shows our volunteer military is as professional as had been hoped during its creation. They are truly grand patriots in all substance. And many have sacrificed everything for their patriotism. Even those that come home will have sacrificed much of their lives and an innocence that will be lost forever for this country we all come home. They, like all previous American Veterans of War, are all owed a debt that can never be stamped paid-in-full!!!!

I also tend to believe that War or battle rarely goes as planned. I doubt if both sides of Gettysburg gave thought that before their three days of battle was finished, over 51,000 Americans would be dead. That would be like totally decimating anyone of the Illinois Quad Cities. But I suppose if everything went as planned in War we would not have had:


*Over 498,000 Americans dead in the four years of the Civil War

*Over 116,000 American dead from the time we entered WW1 in 1917 until its finish and over 15 million people dead worldwide from the original 1914 start.

*Over 405,000 million Americans dead after we entered WW2 in late 1941 and over 62 million people dead worldwide from the start in 1939.

*Over 36,0000 Americans dead in the three short years before the Korean cease-fire in 1953.

*Over 58,000 American dead in the long arduous Vietnam War from 1957-1975 (though we never officially entered it until 1965).
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War is imperfect and horrific. But perhaps one thing that now scares me about modern warfare is the advance in technology has sprouted two more evil heads. One, the sheer ability to kill massive amounts of people in a short time is frightening. Two, the smart technology scares the hell out of me! As we become more precise in our smart-tech ability to take out opponents and limit collateral damage it makes the allure of War easier to consent to. The softening of Wars image is not something to take lightly. The pure carnage of War is what makes it such a tough sell. And a War-on-Demand philosophy is something that I could see growing from this smart-tech weapons age.

Posted by: NMP at June 22, 2006 11:06 PM

Jim I appreciate your response, and feel you make valid points. I don't want to get into lengthy debate about them because the point anonymous was bringing up was that no one had objections. I do though. You or he may not have the same feelings about it, but I want to make it known that people do have objections.

Posted by: Robbie at June 23, 2006 10:15 AM

Of course people have objections, my question is...is there a reasonable objection based on the specific terms of the Resolution?

I believe that Mr. Mowen clearly stated that the specific clauses that Robbie had issue with are not offensive or disputed issues.

Posted by: anonymous at June 23, 2006 09:47 PM

There is a difference between a deadline and a strategic vision that includes benchmarks and timelines. I would agree that we cannot put a deadline on war, but we always have to be agile enough to effectively engage the enemy. The enemy that we face today is different than the enemy we faced when our forces first moved into Iraq in the early stages of the war. So the enemy has changed, but the US force structure is the same. My criticism is not like that of a Monday morning QB - I think the structure of the force needs to change, which I have outlined in other posts. My point is that we need to focus more on SOF and human intelligence - ways we can take the fight more directly to our enemies. We have the technology to take out anyone on the planet if we have about 30 minutes, but we have to know where they are and SOF and better Intel are the only ways to accomplish that. What are the Artillery troops and the Air Defense troops doing right now in Iraq - not the jobs within the realm of their MOSs, which makes the duty more dangerous - that is the reason I criticize the Bush Administration. The current force is too large and leaves too big of a signature. I am merely suggesting changing tactics – changing from a zone defense to a man-to-man does not mean we are quitting the game.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at June 24, 2006 11:45 AM