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November 21, 2005

Hunter Resolution Post-Mortem

Last Friday we had some political gamesmanship in the House of Representatives. In a move like Democrat Charlie Rangel's own "reinstate the draft" proposal, which he introduced just to make a point but voted against, Republicans gave the Democrats an opportunity to "put their vote where their rhetoric was". (Thank you, Bill Bennett, for that turn of a phrase.) Unlike the Rangel situation, however, where no one had ever really wanted to bring back the draft, Democrats got caught saying one thing and voting another.

More, lots more, below the fold.

First of all, let's be clear the the resolution put forth by the Republicans was not specifically the Murtha plan. However, it dealt with the major lynchpin; pulling out of Iraq now. And by "now" I mean "right now". Here's Murtha's own words the day before the vote (emphasis mine):

My plan calls for immediate redeployment of U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces, to create a quick reaction force in the region, to create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines, and to diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.

There are 3 parts to this, and they were enumerated in Murtha's proposal, but the latter 2 parts were predicated on the first part; the immediate redeployment of US troops. Now, as much as the Left would like to think that the Hunter resolution bore "ZERO resemblance" to the Murtha one, we can compare the relevant portions to see that, indeed, they are the same, especially in light of Murtha's own description.


The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.

The bolded words say the same thing precisely. So much for "ZERO resemblance". Now, the Murtha version added that they should be redeployed ASAP, so while both resolutions had the "cut" part of "cut and run", Murtha added "and run immediately". And if you wish to do some word-parsing, you could say that the Republican version could be construed to mean that no additional troops will be sent but says nothing about the current ones. Hence, the Hunter resolution was less drastic than the Murtha one, and yet Democrats couldn't even vote for that. It's that rhetoric vs. vote thing again, and the disingenuousness just drips from their press releases.

But let's continue with the Murtha proposal. He's described it above, and here is the text from the latter 2 sections.

A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S Marines shall be deployed in the region.

So he believes that 150,000 troops in-country are useless against the terrorists, but 15,000 based in Kuwait, would somehow be better? Remember, the terrorists are increasingly going after Iraqis and their new duly-elected government. Our departure wouldn't stop those attacks. Murtha wants us to leave a much smaller force "over the horizon" to be available for...what, exactly? If we can only deal with one or two hotspots, or even 7 or 8, and if the Iraqi army isn't prepared for handling the rest (which it currently isn't), of what good is that? An immediate bail-out with no provision for training (and, if we're word-parsing, Murtha's proposal says nothing about that), you're setting this up for failure.

And finally...

The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.

Diplomacy? With whom? Zarqawi? Zawahiri? Think we can negotiate Iran into asking all their citizens in Iraq to lay down their arms and come home? The instability in Iraq comes from folks for whom UN resolutions make good bird cage liner. Nice words, but meaningless.

So eliminating these last two sections (which, in essence, eliminate themselves), the two resolutions are, at their base, the very same thing. As I said, the Republican version is simply a portion of the Murtha one, but the portion that is the prerequisite for anything else. And yet all but 3 Democrats voted against this. And yet Nancy Pelosi called the Republican resolution "a disgrace" and Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland said of it, "The rankest of politics and the absence of any sense of shame." These are strong words from Democrats for the very basis of their own man's proposal.

This display of hypocrisy ought to settle the whole "bring the troops home now" thing. It ought to take the wind out of the sails of the Sheehan entourage, and make the media look silly for giving it such overhyped play. It may do that for a little while, but it'll be back soon enough. "Bring them home NOW" is a chant too near and dear to the anti-war crowd's heart, and the Democrats can't afford to lose that constituency. You'll no doubt hear it from Democrats again. They hope you'll miss the irony.

Now let's look a closer look at the reasons Murtha wanted to pull the troops out now. These are all the "whereas" clauses at the beginning of his resolution that give the justification for it.

Whereas Congress and the American People have not been shown clear, measurable progress toward establishment of stable and improving security in Iraq or of a stable and improving economy in Iraq, both of which are essential to "promote the emergence of a democratic government"

No measurable progress? Only if you don't count the on-time turnover of sovereignty to the provisional Iraqi government, and if you don't count the nearly-on-time drafting of a Constitution, and if you don't count the on-time election of a legislature. The last step, the training of an Iraqi military and police force, is moving right along. Bush said that as they stand up, we will stand down. How much clearer and measurable can those steps of progress be? And let's not forget that the Left was all for postponing those checkpoints in light of the violence at the time, especially the turnover of sovereignty. As a comment on noted:
The "plan" for the creation of new governments in Japan and Germany did not proceed as rapidly as the Iraq plan. What more do you want?

Now all of a sudden the Left are sticklers for timetables. Returning to Murtha:
Whereas additional stabilization in Iraq by U. S. military forces cannot be achieved without the deployment of hundreds of thousands of additional U S. troops, which in turn cannot be achieved without a military draft

Talking point and opinion only.
Whereas more than $277 billion has been appropriated by the United States Congress to prosecute U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan

Wars cost money? Who knew?

Consider this: If this resolution were to pass, terrorists would know just how much monetary damage to inflict on us before we cut and run. Do we really want to give them that sort of leverage? And I think what we really need from Murtha is how much is too much to pay for a stable democracy in the Middle East. Liberals are fond of defending their nanny-like regulations by saying, "If it saves just one life, it's worth it". Compared to the death that was going on while Hussein was around, we've save a whole lot more than one life. The Middle East has been a knotty issue for decades; do you really want to just throw that investment away by pulling out?

Whereas, as of the drafting of this resolution, 2,079 U.S. troops have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom

War has casualties? Who knew?

See above. Now terrorists would know how many to kill to get us to turn tail. And bailing out before the job's done would be a true disservice and do incredible dishonor to the men and women who gave their lives for this purpose.

Whereas U.S. forces have become the target of the insurgency

"Hey, if the enemy starts shooting back, we're outta there."
Whereas, according to recent polls, over 80% of the Iraqi people want U.S. forces out of Iraq;
Whereas polls also indicate that 45% of the Iraqi people feel that the attacks on U.S. forces are justified

First of all, Rep. Murtha needs to understand that Iraq is a representative democracy now. USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup aren't in charge.

Secondly, if you look at the poll results, you'll find a lot of self-serving results. Sunnis and Shi'ites are grumpy, Kurds are happy. There are huge disparities in opinion, and unless you think that the coalition soldiers are angels in the north and devils in the south, the poll really doesn't tell us anything. But it makes good legislative copy.

What I find interesting is that, while the Sunnis and Shi'ites generally find the whole deal a bad thing from then to now, the majority of them say they are either the same or better off than before the invasion. I'm not a big fan of polls at all, and this one just confirms my distrust of them.

Whereas, due to the foregoing, Congress finds it evident that continuing U.S. military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the people of Iraq, or the Persian Gulf Region, which were cited in Public Law 107-243 as justification for undertaking such action

Again, pure opinion. If a stable democracy in the Middle East isn't in our interests, or if one less safe haven for terrorists isn't in our interests, or if cutting off the funding of Palestinian terrorists isn't in our interests, I don't think Rep. Murtha is on the same planet. Does he not think that military protection in anticipation of a home-grown force isn't in the best interest of the Iraqi people?

So those are the reasons that Murtha gave for his proposal to leave the Iraqis out in the cold before they're ready to take on the challenges of defense of their nation and protection of their democracy. I'm thoroughly unimpressed.

Yes we do need to leave, but now, or in Murtha's idea 6-month timeframe, isn't when it should happen. Paul Seale at says this:

Murtha was right that the answer is a political one. The catch is, though, without our support there can be no political organization. I know we would all like to wave a magic wand and the Iraqi forces would be ready to fight. That is not the case though. Is the Iraqi army getting better? Yes, but it will take some time. The answer is not to tuck tail and run and give the enemy an important victory.

I can only wonder what some of these Democrats would be saying during the Battle of the Bulge or Iwo Jima. Both were vital to the war effort and were costly battles. Niether was resolved over night. Would have they called for Eisenhower or Mc Author’s resignation and our withdrawl from the war?

Before any Democrats answers "of course not", remember we took a lot more than 2000 deaths in WWII, and that specific count is one of Murtha's reasons to hightail it outta there.

There are so many other comparisons that could be made as well--pulling out of Vietnam early and the resulting carnage that followed come to mind--and the thought is that those who don't remember history are condemned to repeat it. But do these guys really not remember the end of the conflict they keep comparing this war to? If they do remember, why do they insist on doing the exact same thing this time around? I find it hard to believe that it's an ignorance of history, but the alternative is that it's a purely political move to try to make a President of the other party look bad, in spite of what that my mean to the Iraqi people they say they care so much about.

Friday's vote put the lie to the rhetoric of the Democrats. I'd say it's time to MoveOn and get the job done.

Posted by Doug at November 21, 2005 01:28 PM

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» SCO on the Hunter/Haworth Resolution from The Larsonian
Only 3 Dems voted in favor of immediate withdrawal from Iraq--a la Murtha's statement. Six voted the most cowardly way of all: Present. Over at SCO, Doug has a very good wrap-up of the resolution. [Read More]

Tracked on November 23, 2005 06:32 PM

Comments usual...well written.

Posted by: Deering at November 22, 2005 12:15 AM

Fascinating tirade against reason and rationality. I was especially impressed with your dismissal of the fact that the majority of Iraqis want us out now and that about half of all Iraqis think that suicide attacks on American troops are justified. Your ability to ignore reality when it contradicts your wishful thinking is truly impressive. Here's another troublesome point for you to chew on: it's not just the Iraqi populace calling for the withdrawal of our troops. The democratially elected Iraqi government is publicly making the same case. Does that mean republicans oppose or support the will of the Iraqi people?

Another point: 90% of the insurgents in Iraq are Iraqis. In case you don't get it, that means the vast majority of people you call "terrorists" are not foreign fighters trained by Al Qaeda. They are citizens who have taken arms against us as occupiers, infidels, and conquerers determined to take their oil. Like the VietCong, minus the oil part.

Then there is your santimonious claim that Iraqis are better off now than under Saddam. Here is what most Iraqis have been experiencing during our occupation of their country: fewer jobs, less electricity, less running water, negligible security. Civil war is engulfing the country (a fact that isn't changing whether we stay or go). Just like Saddam, we incarcerated and tortured Iraqi citizens who were not guilty of terrorist activities. Just like Saddam, the democratically elected Iraqi government was discovered to be doing the same thing. Just like Saddam, we used chemical weapons (white phosphorous) against Iraqis. That's not progress.

And it's only going to get worse. The Iraqi army is no more capable of policing the country now than it was after the invasion. The Shiite theocracy that rises from the ashes of what once was Iraq and will effectively be thought of as greater Iran will be on your conscience. So will the thousands of terrorists that will have been actively trained in the Iraq war, as will the other young minds that must surely follow their hatred of the U.S. to terrorist recruitment camps.

So stop pointing the finger and engage your God-given conscience. If you can't do that, perhaps you could volunteer to fight in Iraq. Then instead of calling for the sacrifice of more poor kids who have few economic options in life other than military service, true believers like you could fight for these righteous causes in person. If people like you had done that in the first place, maybe it wouldn't have been necessary for the Bush administration to deceive the public about the need to go to war.

Posted by: jcpatriot at November 27, 2005 01:23 AM