Democrats & Liberals Archives

John McCain vs the Constitution

No, this post isn’t about John McCain wanting to kick Moveon.org out of the country for exercising their free speech rights, but about a more subtle Constitutional issue.

McCain recently posed the question:

"Where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that the Congress decides how long people spend on tours of duty and how long they would spend back in the United States? It's blatantly unconstitutional."

I'm always eager to help a lawmaker who is too busy to read our nation's most important document.

First, some background: Sen. James Webb has offered an amendment to the annual defense bill that would mandate that troops get a home stay as long as their last combat tour of duty before they can be shipped out again. John McCain has tried to shoot down this rather sensible idea with the claim that the Constitution does not allow Congress to do that.

Well, I'm not a Constitutional scholar, but I know how to read. In Article 2, Section 8:

The Congress shall have power to... [long list] To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.

Call me crazy, but it looks to me like Congress has the power to make just about any sort of rule or regulation it wants regarding the military. Of course, the significance of this battle goes far beyond the particular question of mandating tours of duty. This administration and its supporters effectively maintain that Congress only has an "ON/OFF" switch when it comes to making war. Once Congress declares a war, the argument goes, it's only way to rein in the executive branch is to completely cut off spending. (Of course, they know this is politically almost impossible.)

In fact, if you take the trouble to read the Constitution you can see the Congress is given pretty broad power over the military. And it makes perfect sense. Having thrown off one king, why would the Founders have wanted to create another one?

Posted by Woody Mena at September 18, 2007 11:30 PM
Comments
Comment #233401

You have to watch out for this wiley wabbit named McCain. You see, like Bush, his only defense against that Article in the Constitution is the Unitary Executive Theory which posits that the President is the sole caretaker of national security and thus has dictatorial and authoritarian power not subject to review, rebuke, or alteration by the Courts or Congress, whenever the Hitler In Charge deems any of his actions a matter of national security.

Oh, yes, and did you know what Webb is proposing did not come out of a rabbit hat, it came from the Pentagon’s own long standing regulations on the issue. So, what Democrats are proposing is simply enforcing what the Pentagon had as policy all along.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 19, 2007 5:14 AM
Comment #233417

David,

I know the theory you are taking about, and I wonder what they are smoking when it comes to military oversight. It’s right there in black and white.

It’s pretty funny really. Congress passes all sort of laws under the guise of regulating interstate commerce. Now Webb comes and wants to use one of the powers that are explicitly given to Congress, and people still challenge the constitutionality.

I was thinking, in a tongue-in-cheek way, that Pres. Hillary Clinton should claim that the Constitution makes her the Unitary Healer, giving her the power to run the healthcare system without any oversight.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 19, 2007 8:09 AM
Comment #233418

Actually, I have a question for McCain:

Where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that the Congress decides when people can run political ads and how much they can spend in the United States? It’s blatantly unconstitutional.

Unless his question, I don’t think mine has a good answer.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 19, 2007 8:26 AM
Comment #233419

oops, that “unlike his question”

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 19, 2007 8:28 AM
Comment #233428


It seems to me that John McCain became a different person when he was turned by the Administration on the torture issue.

What if the President had said it’s not about weapons of mass destruction, it’s the oil? We can’t allow Saddam to control the oil. We must control the oil ourselves. If Bush had just told the truth would we as a nation given him our full support?

Posted by: jlw at September 19, 2007 10:24 AM
Comment #233434

The WMD issue is such a red herring. Basically the president knew what Saddam THOUGHT he knew. So did all those people like Hillary who voted for war. Who knew Saddam’s scientist were fleecing the dictator to the tune of millions? It would be funny, but…

As to oil, are there no posts on this blog complaining of energy prices? Just imagine what a mideast war involving an aggressive Iran would do to the price of filling your gas tank. But, that would be fine, I suppose, as Iran sweeps across Iraq, Egypt, and the U.A.E. After all, we’re often told they’re really just like us…

Then again, perhaps we’ll figure out how to run cars on wind power.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at September 19, 2007 11:00 AM
Comment #233438

Lee, OIL is $82 a barrel. 400% increase in just a little over a decade. You think taking on a third front war in Iran is going to reduce that trend?

It’s simple economics 101. Free enterprise at its unregulated best. The OPEC monopoly will continue to be our energy teet regardless of what happens in Iraq or Iran, and they will maximize profits by raising their price at the hint of a justification real or not, to do so. Invading Iraq was an incredibly profitable move for Middle Eastern regimes (save Iraq). It’s no accident the House of Saud and White House of Bush are intimate caring friends of decades.

Don’t threaten us with an inevitable future of rising energy costs. Infinite demand for a finite supply of a necessary commodity equals rising costs regardless of anything else that occurs short of the end of the world. And what is profitable for the Middle East, is also profitable for terrorism as their donors are from the Middle East by and large. Invading Iraq has funneled money to the terrorists that otherwise would not have been.

And get a grip on this reality, Lee. A minority of Sunnis in Iraq have halted progress and the U.S. effort in Iraq. You think Iran is going to sweep across the Sunni nations of the incredibly wealthy UAE, Saudi Arabia, and other Sunni nations? Those Sunnis have a peculiar aversion to taking it up the posterior by Shiites. It ain’t going to happen.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 19, 2007 11:31 AM
Comment #233460

No surprise here. This stems from years and years and years of Congress slowly but steadily handing over control of government to the president, and every president, Rep and Dem, has gladly taken it. It is now to the point where someone like McCain can say something like this and the majaority of citizens believe him. Congress needs to step up to the plate and do the duty to which they swore to the American people…

On another note… kinda funny, and sadly true.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at September 19, 2007 1:59 PM
Comment #233463

Sen. James Webb has offered an amendment to the annual defense bill that would mandate that troops get a home stay as long as their last combat tour of duty before they can be shipped out again. John McCain has tried to shoot down this rather sensible idea with the claim that the Constitution does not allow Congress to do that.

Webb is using his bill to undermine the supply of troops to Iraq in wartime. If it passes, it makes it more dangerous to fight the war because the president will not have the troops necessary to complete the mission. McCain knows that and Webb knows that but apparently, Webb doesn’t care if he makes things harder on our troops to gain political advantage over the president. His actions border on treason and I’m surprised a veteran would have such disregard for his fellow soldiers (including his own son, I understand).

Posted by: Snardius at September 19, 2007 2:22 PM
Comment #233465

“Webb doesn’t care if he makes things harder on our troops to gain political advantage over the president.”

It’s amazing… if you are for ending a pointless war and saving American lives then you are simply ‘making things harder on our troops’. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place!

“His actions border on treason”

Yes… a member of congress actually trying to use his Consitutionally derived powers to keep a runaway president in check is certainly treason…

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at September 19, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #233468

Snardius said: “McCain knows that and Webb knows that but apparently, Webb doesn’t care if he makes things harder on our troops to gain political advantage over the president.”

What a convoluted argument. Giving our troops rest and recovery and the ability for the reserves to keep their home jobs, and giving military families at least equal access to their loved ones as Iraqis have to them, is in your words making: “things harder on our troops”.

Is this the latest Karl Rove talking point? No wonder he got the boot.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 19, 2007 2:33 PM
Comment #233471

Excellent post….now where is my pocket Constitution? Oh, Airport Security seized it.

Posted by: alien from the planet zorg at September 19, 2007 2:50 PM
Comment #233481

“Sen. James Webb has offered an amendment to the annual defense bill that would mandate that troops get a home stay as long as their last combat tour of duty before they can be shipped out again. John McCain has tried to shoot down this rather sensible idea…”

Webb either doesn’t logistics or is playing politics.
Tours would be extended, R&R would be cut, morale would fall and the cycling in and out of fresh and weary troops would stall.
There’s got to be a better way.

Posted by: kctim at September 19, 2007 3:43 PM
Comment #233483

kctim,

I don’t know exactly what the amendment says, but if Bush is threatening to screw the troops by not sending anyone home then they should either:

a) word the amendment so he can’t do that

or

b) failing that, put the onus on Bush to do the right thing.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 19, 2007 3:49 PM
Comment #233488

kctim. Webb is definitely playing politics, the best kind of politics. He is representing the majority of his constituents who want our involvement in Iraq to begin scaling back. His amendment does this AS WELL AS: giving our troops rest and recovery, the ability for the reserves to keep their home jobs, and giving military families at least equal access to their loved ones as Iraqis have to them.

Sounds like the best kind of politics to me. Even if he is a slightly right of center Democrat. Wish we have a whole lot more politics like this going on in Wa. D.C. Since, when is it wrong for a representative to reflect the views of the majority of their constituents and Americans in their legislation?

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 19, 2007 4:15 PM
Comment #233489

wow… I’m agreeing with David and not kctim?

I think I need my head examined…

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at September 19, 2007 4:20 PM
Comment #233491

Woody
Unless the admendment takes things like that into account, Webb is the one screwing the troops.

How about instead of trying to place Bush in a “damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t” position, they just write the admendment with whats best for the troops in mind?
And in order to do that, they must understand the logistics of the whole thing.

David
“Since, when is it wrong for a representative to reflect the views of the majority of their constituents and Americans in their legislation?”

Its wrong when the end result has a negative impact.
I have no problem with helping the troops out, but it has to be done properly or they will suffer. IMO, a year tour and then a year of R&R would be a nightmare logistically. The rotations would be slower and the danger increased.

Seems like he is trying to force some kind of “withdrawal through attrition” onto the military without thinking about the affects such action could have.

But hey, if he can do it without causing undue pressure on the troops, then I’m all for it.

Posted by: kctim at September 19, 2007 4:28 PM
Comment #233495

Naw Doug, I’m not disagreeing with what Webb, Woody and David are talking about, I’m disagreeing with whether it can work or not.
I don’t believe it can be done as advertised without causing some sort of negative.

Posted by: kctim at September 19, 2007 4:36 PM
Comment #233497

kctim, as I said, his plan would force the very guidelines our Pentagon had already in their playbook and were used as SOP prior to Iraq, and would force a strategic shift in mission to occur in Iraq, through what you call attrition of numbers of available troops, to more of a support role for Iraqis rather than front line against hostile forces there. And our troops and their families will be the better and safer for it.

His proposal accomplishes everything that needs to be accomplished. If forces the Iraqis to step up to the plate and make the effort to secure their own homeland, if they can. It truly changes the strategy in Iraq from occupier to supporter. And it addresses America’s military readiness issues which are looming large come April.

I just can’t find fault with it. It is one of the most intelligent bills I have seen arise in Congress to address the issue of Iraq bleeding our nation’s resources and military lives for an objective that cannot be achieved for many years, if at all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 19, 2007 4:41 PM
Comment #233505

I follow what you are saying David, I’m just a little over cautious when it comes to our military I guess.
Phasing out troops is tricky business, especially during combat.
But, if the Pentagon signs off on it, then I have to trust them to get it done right.

Posted by: kctim at September 19, 2007 5:15 PM
Comment #233509

I don’t understand, kctim, how you can feel that by giving these soldiers a decent break after maybe their 2nd. or 3rd. deployment, that we are risking them. If we can not produce new and fresh replacements for them, then we have to do something to give them a break. To expect them to continue at this pace is almost inhumane. I would just encourage everyone to contact their representatives and urge support of this bill.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at September 19, 2007 5:49 PM
Comment #233510

Well lets see, who should we listen to here?

How about the Military Officers Association of America, which consists of over 370,000 military officers, including active duty, retired, National Guard, Reserve, and former officers and their families. It is an independent, nonprofit, and politically nonpartisan organization.

Quote from an article on their website,
http://tinyurl.com/225j2x
“[among] other curiosities surrounding what’s become known as the “Webb amendment.” In order to oppose the bill, administration acolytes need to argue that it’s just fine to sustain this unsustainable troop tempo.”

The MOAA has supported the “Webb amendment” since July. Their letter of endorsement is available here in pdf:
http://webb.senate.gov/pdf/MOAAletterofsupport.pdf

IMO it’s time for Harry Reid to make the Republicans work for their filibuster ……. make them actually do it! Call for a cloture vote on this amendment every single day!

But it won’t happen because Warner and McCain are offering some watered down, non-binding amendment to take the place of Webb’s appropriate and point-on legislation.

Posted by: KansasDem at September 19, 2007 5:50 PM
Comment #233512

“But hey, if he can do it without causing undue pressure on the troops, then I’m all for it.”

kctim,

The “undue pressure” was caused by the Bush administrations idiocy. Remember, Iraq was going to be a different kind of war. It was going to be faster and cheaper.

Maybe it’s time for Bush and Condi to feel some “undue pressure” and go before the UN Security Council with hat (and perhaps ass) in hand and freaking beg for help! Or reinstate the draft.

Posted by: KansasDem at September 19, 2007 6:02 PM
Comment #233513

Sandra
“how you can feel that by giving these soldiers a decent break after maybe their 2nd. or 3rd. deployment, that we are risking them”

I’m not saying we are risking them by giving them a “break.” I am saying that if we don’t do it right, they will be at more risk than if nothing changes.

I have been stuck overseas when manning would not permit me to come home at my scheduled time. I know what it is like, and how dangerous it is, to work days on end because there was no relief. The main cause? Poor planning by an officer trying to reduce numbers and save money in order to look good.

If the Pentagon signs off on Webb’s plan, good, lets get it started and bring our troops home.
If it needs more planning, then lets get it right, rather than push it through for political points.
The results could be worse.

Posted by: kctim at September 19, 2007 6:03 PM
Comment #233514

Doug

…if you are for ending a pointless war and saving American lives then you are simply ‘making things harder on our troops’. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place!

I am for ending the war. I just want to do it by winning instead of slinking away with our collective tail between our legs.

And what will get us between a rock and a hard place is if we leave before the mission is accomplished, Iran will control the Middle East and we’ll have to go back in, under sigificantly more dangerous circumstances, at a greater cost of american lives, to accomplish what we could have accomplished if we’d been allowed to complete the job the first time.

David

Giving our troops rest and recovery and the ability for the reserves to keep their home jobs, and giving military families at least equal access to their loved ones as Iraqis have to them, is in your words making: “things harder on our troops”.

Webb’s plan makes it harder on the troops left undermanned in the combat theater not those going home. Webb, being a vet, should know that and I think he does. But he’s putting politics ahead of what’s better for the troops who are in harm’s way. It’s a cynical ploy to force the president to end the war so Webb and the Democrats can blame what happens after we leave on Bush.

Webb and the Democrats know what to do if they want to end this war tomorrow…cut off funds for the war. But they won’t do that because then they will be held responsible for what follows. And they know, but won’t admit it to you, that the aftermath of us leaving before Iraq can protect itself will be a bloodbath…just like Vietnam.

Instead, they’re doing what cowards do…undermine the mission for their short-term political gain.

Posted by: Snardius at September 19, 2007 6:06 PM
Comment #233515

David,
To the extent those rising prices are rising steadily and, more or less, predictably that is good. That will encourage development of other sources of power and renewable fuels. But everybody in the Middle East benefits in some way from keeping prices unstable so that we don’t have the steady economic pressure to develop those alternatives.

Right now the oil interests in the region actually make money off the unrest in their midst.

As to the powers of the presidency versus Congress, the best way to limit those is term limits. Congress uses the limits it pretends to have (over, say, the bureaucracy or the president) to limit our displeasure with them. It’s all insulation. They insulate themselves with supposed powerlessness and then show us how they are fighting “the good fight”. Give a congressman only six years to do his stuff and a senator only twelve and this ‘learning how to negotiate the bureaucracy’ crap will go away- along with a lot of the bureaucracy.

Better yet office our reps and senators at home and make them communicate with each other electronically. That’ll really change things.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at September 19, 2007 6:07 PM
Comment #233516

David

It forces the Iraqis to step up to the plate and make the effort to secure their own homeland, if they can

Well,if the Iraqis are not ready, then the policy puts increased danger on those US troops left to fight with an unprepared Iraqi army.

Webb is not concerned with the impact on the remaining troops in the theater of battle, only his political ends.

Posted by: Snardius at September 19, 2007 6:12 PM
Comment #233529

The Webb ammendment is dumb for a variety of reasons. It would attempt to get at THIS president by making it impossible for any president to use the armed forces in any responsible way.

The Congress can try to pass it if they want. Good luck on that. Dems talk a lot about this kind of thing. They control the Senate and the House. We hear a lot of big talk, but when the big talk is done not much has changed. Don’t get me wrong. I am glad the Dems are so inept. The country would be in trouble if they were more competent. But they really have no right to complain when they themselves will not do what they say they want to do.

Posted by: Jack at September 19, 2007 7:18 PM
Comment #233532
It would attempt to get at THIS president by making it impossible for any president to use the armed forces in any responsible way.

This is the generic argument against a policy the Republicans don’t like: it’s all about bashing Bush. Instead of trying to read peoples’ minds, why not address policies on the merits?

But they really have no right to complain when they themselves will not do what they say they want to do.

Huh? Are you saying its the Democrats fault that the Republicans are blocking their amendment?

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 19, 2007 7:32 PM
Comment #233542
Webb and the Democrats know what to do if they want to end this war tomorrow…cut off funds for the war.

But most Democrats don’t WANT to end the war tomorrow.

It is that false choice again. Who says they have to choose between giving Bush carte blanche and bringing the war to a screeching halt? Republicans want to present those choices because they are both politically unpalatable, not because those are really the only choices.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 19, 2007 8:20 PM
Comment #233547

Woody,

“Who says they have to choose between giving Bush carte blanche and bringing the war to a screeching halt?”

Talk about false choices…

Democrats want Bush to fail in Iraq. But they want it to happen so they can hang the failure around his neck and not theirs..at the expense of our troops under fire in Iraq.

“Republicans want to present those choices because they are both politically unpalatable, not because those are really the only choices.”

There are only two choices in this conflict. We either stay until Iraq can defend herself and become an ally in the war being waged against them and us…or we leave and let them fend for themselves. If we betray Iraq, we won’t have an ally in the world who will trust us when the going gets tough. And then we’ll have to fight from our own soil.

We cannot negotiate with this enemy. If we tried it would be from a position of weakness, which is where we will be if we start to talk to thugs like Iran, Syria, and al Qaida.

So, what other choices do you have in mind?

Posted by: Snardius at September 19, 2007 8:44 PM
Comment #233554

Woody

You are right that most Dems do not want to end the war tomorrow. They will not end it at all, but they love to posture. That posturing is harmful.

Posted by: Jack at September 19, 2007 10:11 PM
Comment #233566

No, Jack, it is the Republican posturing over “WE WILL WIN, WE WILL WIN” despite supporting every dumb and bad decision ever committed in war policy, that is harmful. Republicans are for continuing to put our soldiers in coffins for no other reason than they refuse to admit their end game is unlikely if possible at all.

You want to burn Dem’s in effigy over immigration, I will bring fuel and matches. But, it is now plain as the face on 80% of American’s noses that Republicans backed the wrong horse for the White House, and the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

And I guarantee you every month Republicans continue to back this failed effort, is another handful of years the American public will be unwilling to trust Republicans with foreign policy in the future. Republicans have harmed their party and this nation immeasurably. Those are the facts on the ground and future that will decades of revisionist history to erase if that can be accomplished at all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 20, 2007 5:21 AM
Comment #233567

Snardius, military strategy 101, design the mission to accommodate available resources wherever possible. If rotation means less troops in Iraq, then the orders and objectives on the ground need to match the available troops on the ground. This isn’t US border they are protecting from invading hordes. It would take another George Custer to assign our troops objectives for which their numbers were insufficient and would cause unnecessary casualties.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 20, 2007 5:26 AM
Comment #233570

David R. Remer - “And I guarantee,” I am happy

to find that existentialism is still alive an well.
-

Posted by: -DAVID- at September 20, 2007 7:06 AM
Comment #233576

Snardius

REPUBLICAN OBSTRUCTIONISM The neo-cons have nothing to lose at this point. Years of compromised principles, poor decisions, hidden agendas, and sophomoric leadership have put them between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Their only hope of retaining any sort of credibility with the American voters is to take a stand and hope for a miracle in Iraq. They really have nothing else to rebuild on.

All this talk of gloom and doom if we manage to exit Iraq is nothing more than extremist speculation and a form of fear mongering. It has been over four years and you people have not gotten it right yet. Your party has quite openly demonstrated that they are anything but prophetic. So please drop the gloom and doom scenario. It is falling on deaf ears. As a result I can find no reason to put my faith in the hands of those who have taken nothing but wrong turns to date.

Republican refusal to examine new avenues in finding a way out of Iraq, despite being what the vast majority of Americans want, will be seen as nothing more than obstructionism. Barring a miracle your party is steadily digging a deeper grave.

Posted by: RickIL at September 20, 2007 8:50 AM
Comment #233577

Does Bush have the right to run our troops into the ground? What is he leaving in his wake of destruction? Name one federal agency or department that isn’t a total mess. The next president will have to start over with everything and now he/she will have a depleted military. How is that good for America?

Posted by: BostonEye at September 20, 2007 9:15 AM
Comment #233583

“We either stay until Iraq can defend herself and become an ally in the war being waged against them and us”

Snardius,

What if the “democratically” elected Iraqi government decides they’d rather be aligned with Iran? You must take into consideration that the Iraqi government is as sectarian as can be, and it’s overwhelmingly majority Shiite, and most of their laws are based purely on Sharia law!

Our presence in Iraq has been the greatest possible present we could have given Iran. And, as if that isn’t bad enough, it’s also served as the greatest recruitment tool imaginable for extremist groups including AQ!

But, all that said, what Webb was attempting to do with this amendment was NOT political posturing. For crying out loud, Webb’s son has even served a TOD in Iraq as a Lance Corporal in the Marines!

This was serious legislation directed at maintaining the integrity of our military!

Posted by: KansasDem at September 20, 2007 10:44 AM
Comment #233585

“And, as if that isn’t bad enough, it’s also served as the greatest recruitment tool imaginable for extremist groups including AQ!”

That may or may not be true K-Dem, but a premature withdrawal, which will be seen as a victory by the enemy, will be an even greater recruitment tool for them.

Whatever we do, ALL factors and outcomes must be looked at.

Posted by: kctim at September 20, 2007 11:02 AM
Comment #233591

kctim, whatever we, whatever outcomes, AQ is going to claim victory and use that claim to greater recruitment. I truly fail to understand why folks cannot grasp that. We chased AQ out of Afghanistan, they claimed victory in moving to Pakistan. They failed the transatlantic jet scheme but promoted that failure as the West’s inability to halt their activities.

The argument that if we do or don’t do this or that, will be claimed as a victory by our adversaries, is completely and utterly illogical. Our adversaries will make that claim and use it regardless of what we do, successful or not by our own goals.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 20, 2007 12:02 PM
Comment #233592

DAVID, and the ultimate irony that it lives in the Republican politics, while they decry existentialism on religious grounds.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 20, 2007 12:09 PM
Comment #233593

“ALL factors and outcomes must be looked at.”

kctim,

It’s too bad Bush and Co didn’t take that advice five years ago. Now we’re faced with the reality of an overstretched military, so what to do next?

I say reinstate the draft. It’s the right thing to do.

Posted by: KansasDem at September 20, 2007 12:10 PM
Comment #233596

Maybe so David, but the lefts mantra is that us being in Iraq right now, is the tool AQ uses for recruitment. IF, they are so worried about AQ recruitment, then doesn’t it make sense to look at how our leaving will affect their recruitment?

“The argument that if we do or don’t do this or that, will be claimed as a victory by our adversaries, is completely and utterly illogical”

It is only “illogical” if we fail to consider all outcomes.
While we are there, we are doing things to try and curb AQ recruitment, so whats wrong with looking at how we can curb it while we are leaving and eventually gone?

Posted by: kctim at September 20, 2007 12:42 PM
Comment #233600

Yes K-Dem, it is too bad. But no matter how bad a political party wants power, two wrongs don’t make a right.

As far as what to do next? I don’t know, but when it comes to the troops, I want all options thought through clearly with them, not political aspirations, in mind.

A draft will get nowhere, especially with the Dems in charge and wanting total power in ‘08.

Posted by: kctim at September 20, 2007 12:51 PM
Comment #233613

“I want all options thought through clearly with them, not political aspirations, in mind.”

kctim,

I truly believe that Webb did this with the troops in mind. Webb is a long time military man. He negotiated a few big concessions in this amendment:

(1) Excluding special ops forces.
(2) Allowing 120 days for implementation.
(3) Allowing the POTUS to ask Congress for a waiver at any time for any reason.

It was reasonable. The Republican message is that the CinC is numero uno and no one dare question his stategery!

I really don’t think the draft is unreasonable at all ……. political suicide, you bet! So what? People are dieing!

Any politician that’s not willing to sacrifice his or her political career to do the right thing should be out of a job anyway!

Off topic: Gingrich only wants a pledge of $30 million to announce his run for POTUS, and quite honestly I think he’d smoke everybody running today!!!!!!!!!! Makes me want to puke, but then ……….?

Posted by: KansasDem at September 20, 2007 3:45 PM
Comment #233623

kctim said: “While we are there, we are doing things to try and curb AQ recruitment,”

But the NIE report says our very presence there regardless of what we do there, is fueling AQ recruitments around the world, from Indonesia to Canada. There is no getting around these facts by our Intelligence communities. They aren’t lying.

So, it is moot regarding AQ recruitment whether we stay or leave. Staying fuels their recruitment. Leaving will fuel their recruitments. It is not called a “quagmire” (Dick Cheney’s word) out of whimsy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 20, 2007 4:32 PM
Comment #233629

I thank all of the liberals writing here bewailing the demise of the conservatives. Your concern and loving care is appreicated. If only the conservatives had followed your sage Monday morning strategies the Republic Party would still be ascending. How gracious. Reading some of the obits of the Republican Party could lead many to believe that before the Republicans “lost their way” that many of you were cheering for them.
Off the record: I read today that a U.S. Senate majority condemed Moveon.orgasim for the “Betray Petraus” ad. How refreshing. I subscribe to their email blasts, which always include begging for money, just to stay in touch with the fringe wing of the Democrat Party. I must congratulate the libs on their total take-over of the Dem Presidential candidates who are fearful of loosing your money. Your blackmail efforts are complete and you have totally perverted your candidates. Your tail is sure wagging those dogs.

Posted by: Jim at September 20, 2007 4:54 PM
Comment #233630

K-Dem
As I said earlier, IF Webb had taken everything into account and the Pentagon signed off on it, then more power to it happening.
From my experience, starving the beast, so to say, usually hurts the troops more than it helps.

“It was reasonable. The Republican message is that the CinC is numero uno and no one dare question his stategery!”

But it is the Pentagon who must come up with the plans to make it work. Haven’t we had enough of “do this and worry about that when it happens?” A haphazard plan thrown together by some Senator would do just that and I want better for our soldiers.

“I really don’t think the draft is unreasonable at all ……. political suicide, you bet! So what? People are dieing!”

So what? There isn’t one politician who is willing to commit “political suicide” in order to do this. Wasn’t it Rangel who was talking about this when the Reps were in power, well, why isn’t he talking about it now that his party is in power? Do you really think he will even whisper it when a Dem wins in 08?
No chance.

I can’t say that Gingrich running affects me in any way really. Whether he wins or loses, its still the same crap we’ve had in office for the last 15+ years.

David
I’m not saying the intels are lying about anything. I am only saying that AQ recruitment won’t go down when we leave, as the left says, and that we will still have to deal with AQ.

Fueling recruitment is a weak argument to use to justify our leaving immediately, especially if a poor planning makes it worse.

Posted by: kctim at September 20, 2007 4:56 PM
Comment #233646

kctim,

You make it sound like the Pentagon is totally off limits to Congress, almost like a seperate entity that operates under the sole discretion of the unitary executive.

That is not how it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sadly too many Americans are willing to accept that as fact. Our Constitution must truly have become just another roll of ass-wipe.

Posted by: KansasDem at September 20, 2007 5:45 PM
Comment #233649

David

“military strategy 101,”

I don’t know where you got that so I can’t comment on it’s veracity. There is one thing I do know about strategy, if your goal is to reduce the troops to a level where they can’t complete the mission (regardless the strategy) you are asking for defeat.

But I do know that the goal of Webb’s amendment was to hamstring the president’s ability to put the needed amount of troops in the theater…members of his party said as much (Murtha, et. al).

That Webb was able to throw up the smokescreen of “he’s only thinking about the troops welfare”, makes him more devious than concerned for the troops since if he had his way, the troops would be in more danger.

His amendment failed, by the way, so at least the troops are safe until the next legislation for surrender is proposed by the Democrats.

Democrats in congress are actively undermining our military and the safety of our country. That they are trying to cloak their activities as somehow protecting the troops makes it no less treasonous.

Posted by: Snardius at September 20, 2007 5:55 PM
Comment #233650

K-Dem, if I want my car to work, I take it to a mechanic, not a politician who knows about cars.
If I want to know how things are going in Iraq, I talk to those who are there, not the press or politicians.
If I want whats best for our troops, I trust the military, not a politician.

There is nothing wrong with Webb coming up with a plan but I would hope he would consult with the military to ensure it is feasible or not.

Posted by: kctim at September 20, 2007 5:57 PM
Comment #233656

kctim,

The military in this country is run by politicians. The generals get their orders from a politician named George W. Bush, and laws and funding from Congress.

If you want to live somewhere where a general calls the shots, try Pakistan.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 20, 2007 6:35 PM
Comment #233683

Snardius

His amendment failed, by the way, so at least the troops are safe until the next legislation for surrender is proposed by the Democrats.

The troops will be safe when we once again have a credible president and republican congress with enough good sense to redeploy them. That is to say when this neo-con created farce is officially declared an excersize in futility and officially recognized for the failure it is and huge mistake that never should have been.

Democrats in congress are actively undermining our military and the safety of our country. That they are trying to cloak their activities as somehow protecting the troops makes it no less treasonous.

What is treasonous is the fact that so many thousands are unnecessarily dieing in a deceptively created conflict. Why is it so hard for neo-con war mongers to see that we will never be able to achieve what we consider to be peace in the middle east. We are invaders on foreign ground in a country we share no cultural similarities with. We are in a region that has been battling each other off and on for hundreds of years. They can not settle their own differences. And they hate everything about our cultural styles. Why the hell should we think that our presence is somehow going to magically make things right. It is time to quit wasting lives and money on a conflict with no end in sight.

This is Bush and Cheney’s war. If it is so important to them let them and the oil moguls they cater to buy their own security. I personally don’t want to see another dime of my money spent to insure that their interests are met.

Posted by: RickIL at September 20, 2007 10:38 PM
Comment #233693

Rick IL,

“The troops will be safe when we once again have a credible president and republican congress with enough good sense to redeploy them.”

So you are advocating we surrender the Middle East to al Qaida?

“What is treasonous is the fact that so many thousands are unnecessarily dieing in a deceptively created conflict.”

Saddam ignored 17 UN resolutions to disarm and leave his neighbors alone and yet, the conflict was “deceptively created?”

“We are invaders on foreign ground in a country we share no cultural similarities with.”

Yet millions of Iraqis risked their lives to vote for the first time for a representative government. We at least share a desire for freedom, no?

“This is Bush and Cheney’s war.”

Well, maybe so…but if you have your way, it will be Reid and Pelosi’s surrender and defeat. The blood of millions of Iraqis will be on their hands because when the going got tough, they abandoned their allies on the battlefield. And then no country in this world will ever trust us as an ally again.

“I personally don’t want to see another dime of my money spent to insure that their interests are met.”

I am curious how well you’ll do without using any petroleum products.

Posted by: Snardius at September 20, 2007 11:50 PM
Comment #233712

So you are advocating we surrender the Middle East to al Qaida?

I am suggesting that we make plans for a controlled gradual redeployment so that our military can regroup and revitalize rather than slowly decaying as an occupying force in a region we are not welcome. If AQ was our main concern we should have finished the job in Afghanistan instead of focusing on Iraq and foolishly allowing them the time and motivation to regroup. They are on Iraq’s soil. Let the Iraqi people decide what to do with them. They are not so many that they can not be contained. My guess is that once we are gone AQ will no longer be a menace in Iraq. As we all know the Iraqi problems are stemming from a power struggle between the various Iraqi factions. They are in a civil war. Their civil war, not ours. We will not be surrendering. We have allready accomplished our mission. There was no WMD and Saddam is no longer a threat. AQ will claim victory no matter what course we take. The war on terror can not be won in any one theater. It is a conflict layed out on many small stages which are constantly changing locations. Us and the rest of the world will most likely be fighting terrorism for generations to come. Why is that you people seem to think that if we can only defeat them in Iraq they will go away and we can somehow claim victory. I find this notion absurd and lacking of any common sense thought.

Saddam ignored 17 UN resolutions to disarm and leave his neighbors alone and yet, the conflict was “deceptively created?

Yes most people would agree today that Bush mislead us with half truths and less than credible intelligence to rush into an ill advised conflict of our making that most of the rest of the world did not and still does not support.

Yet millions of Iraqis risked their lives to vote for the first time for a representative government. We at least share a desire for freedom, no?

I would have to believe that most people desire freedom. However freedom does not necessarily mean the same thing for other cultures as it does for us. And as for their government, well it seems at this juncture that there inability to reconcile the various factions to form a credible government is the main obstacle in the advancement of an organized and reasonably secure society. Until they work out their own internal problems there will be no recognizable organized and secure system of law and order.

Well, maybe so…but if you have your way, it will be Reid and Pelosi’s surrender and defeat. The blood of millions of Iraqis will be on their hands because when the going got tough, they abandoned their allies on the battlefield. And then no country in this world will ever trust us as an ally again.

Once again, please spare us the gloom and doom scenario. I and most people of any intellect realize that leaving Iraq will not be the end of the world. Or for that matter will not diminish our credibility as a world power. We made a huge huge mistake by invading Iraq. The rest of the world already recognizes this. The losers will be the oil moguls who hope to insure profits. But the biggest losers will be those who sacrificed their lives for a needless cause.

I am curious how well you’ll do without using any petroleum products.

Are you serious? The oil will still be there. And so long as it is it will always be for sale. After all profits and the power those profits bring is what oil is all about. Cost of and a lack of oil will in the end be the catalyst which necessitates an earnest push for alternative fuels. A push which is long overdue.


Posted by: RickIL at September 21, 2007 8:28 AM
Comment #233716

The troops will be safe when they are out of harm’s way, gentlemen. We deposed the dictator, routed his army, our troops were victorious. How is ordering them to continue on as targets in Iraq in any way an attempt at keeping them safe? It is killing and maiming them, gentlemen as you play these semantic games.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 21, 2007 8:58 AM
Comment #233723

Thanks, David. I was going to make the same point. George Orwell would love this thinking: We need to keep the soldiers in Iraq so they can protect each other from the Iraqis. Why not just send them home to Omaha where they will really be safe? Oh I forget, the insurgents are going to “follow them home”.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 21, 2007 10:17 AM
Comment #233741

Woody

Oh I forget, the insurgents are going to “follow them home”.

I think this statement as used by neo-con cheerleaders is probably one of the most ludicrous myths they can preach. It conjures up images of hordes of AQ insurgents storming our beaches. And can you begin to imagine them trying to clear airport security. I say let them follow it will be much easier to identify them once they are separated from the general Iraqi population.

As for you really die hard war mongers I might suggest building a bunker in your yard and purchasing lots of weapons and consatina (sp)? wire. If nothing else it may help to quell your security issues.

Posted by: RickIL at September 21, 2007 12:19 PM
Comment #233822

“I am suggesting that we make plans for a controlled gradual redeployment so that our military can regroup and revitalize rather than slowly decaying as an occupying force in a region we are not welcome.”

Putting lipstick on a pig does not change the fact that it’s still a pig. Leaving the battlefield before the battle is over is a retreat. Abandoning the Iraqis before they are able to defend themselves amounts to our surrender to AQ not to mention a betrayal of our promise to Iraq.

“Yes most people would agree today that Bush mislead us with half truths and less than credible intelligence to rush into an ill advised conflict of our making that most of the rest of the world did not and still does not support.:

Bush mislead the entire world and all their intelligence agencies combined? This Bush fellow is one smart guy! Even the smartest woman in the world and her husband as well as almost every Democrat in the Senate were mislead by this Bush person even before this Bush guy was in office. This Bush genius even got Clinton to bomb Iraq and toss a couple of deadly cruise missles at some tents in the desert. How can that be?

“Once again, please spare us the gloom and doom scenario. I and most people of any intellect realize that leaving Iraq will not be the end of the world. Or for that matter will not diminish our credibility as a world power.

You and all your intellectual friends are whistling past the graveyard on this one. It was bin Laden who predicted the US was a paper tiger after he got no response to multiple terrorist attacts (Somalia, the Cole, the embassies in Africa). He’s counting on us abandoning Iraq so he can boast that he beat The Great Satan. And do you and your fellow intellectuals think that if bin Laden is victorious in Iraq that he will stop there? Who will stand in his way? Israel?

If we don’t win decisively in Iraq, our credibility as a world power will disappear. Who would willingly join us in a battle if they knew when the going got tough that we’d pack up and go home. They wouldn’t even come to our aid if the battle was on our own soil!

I would have to believe that most people desire freedom. However freedom does not necessarily mean the same thing for other cultures as it does for us.

Please forgive me for pointing this out but that is an incredibly elitist statement. Please explain what freedom means to the various cultures of the world and how they differ from, say, American Freedom.

Then, may I ask if you could explain why, if we can assume American Freedom is good, why all other cultures shouldn’t get the opportunity to experience the same kind of freedom we do?

“Are you serious? The oil will still be there.”

Forgive me for not making my point more clear. You said:

“If it is so important to them let them and the oil moguls they cater to buy their own security. I personally don’t want to see another dime of my money spent to insure that their interests are met.”“If it is so important to them let them and the oil moguls they cater to buy their own security. I personally don’t want to see another dime of my money spent to insure that their interests are met.”

I interpreted that to mean you wouldn’t be buying any of the evil “oil moguls” products since that would be in their interest. I guess I was wrong about that.

But since you brought up the prospect of directing our tax dollars, (I think that’s what you were referring to) I’d like to ask that not a penny of my tax money be spent in support of the UN since they got us into this mess in the first place.

Posted by: Snardius at September 21, 2007 5:20 PM
Comment #233928

Rick,

“I think this statement as used by neo-con cheerleaders is probably one of the most ludicrous myths they can preach. It conjures up images of hordes of AQ insurgents storming our beaches.”

They are already here - on visas, issued by our own government, waiting for Democrats in congress to send them the message that we are more than willing to surrender to their command that we prostrate ourselves to Islam…in the name of peace, of course.

Posted by: Snardius at September 22, 2007 12:48 PM
Comment #234084

David R. Remer- You are exactly right, and I wish

some of these snarling troll beaters could appreciate your wisdom instead of trying to
dissimulate the facts, an logic of others.

Posted by: -DAVID- at September 23, 2007 7:56 PM
Comment #234129

-DAVID-, thanks, but, in the end, the public is capable of ferreting out the difference between illogical and reprehensible causes and the reality consequences of it manifest in their daily lives.

Americans reelected Bush in 2004. They were slow to catch on to the deceptions and misdirections, but, they did catch on. The Bush administration and Republicans have been singing the economic song of praise, but, the American public has not bought into it because they see the reality in their own lives and checking/savings accounts.

One of our system’s great strengths is it is tolerance for political voice even when the message is counter productive or detrimental. The undoing of the KKK was visibility. When the media began tailing them and putting them on the 6 O’Clock news at rallies, or raids, the very popularity the KKK sought became their undoing, and they diminished.

Making illogical and deceptive arguments and points of view as visible as possible in the public light, is the best defense against such agendas perpetrating the kind of harm they could if they operated under the radar. This is why I have devoted so much time and energy to WatchBlog where this very kind of exposure can take place.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 24, 2007 8:59 AM
Comment #234166

“If you want to live somewhere where a general calls the shots, try Pakistan”

Ah yes Woody, lets get all dramatic and go to the extremes. Seeking expert advice for something automatically means I support a govt more in line with Pakistan.
There is a big difference between wanting an experts advice and wanting that expert to run the country.

Unlike you all, I don’t think somebody is qualified simply because they are a Democrat, especially when it comes to military matters.

Posted by: kctim at September 24, 2007 3:15 PM
Comment #234275

“But I do know that the goal of Webb’s amendment was to hamstring the president’s ability to put the needed amount of troops in the theater.”

Snardius: Bush commited this nation to an open ended occupation of Iraq without ever putting the needed amount of troops in the theater. The chaos in Iraq is a direct result of Bush’s policy. Before the invasion, the military made it perfectly clear that 350,000 to 500,000 troops would be needed to maintain order and prevent chaos. The Administration ignored the advice and commanded our military to do the job with what they had. Under these circumstances, the military has not been able to accomplish their mission and will probably never be able to accomplish it.

Bush’s folly has now reached the point where the military is hard pressed to fulfill other obligations and the ability to secure much needed recruitments has been diminished.

The only way that the Bush mission in Iraq could have been accomplished was for Bush and the Republican Congress to reinstitute the draft. Because of their refusal to do so our military is virtually dependent on a miracle to accomplish the Bush mission.

The Bush Administration is once again asking for U.N. help in Iraq. This week they have sent the Iraqi government begging with hat in hand for help. The Administration is asking for other nations to send troops to help but, it still insists that those nations cannot send contractors to compete for reconstruction and oil contracts. This makes a mockery of the Bush democracy for Iraq policy.

America has a very good record of occupying nations that have been defeated and a very poor record of occupying nations that have been liberated.

The Administration knew before hand that their actions would result in chaos in Iraq. They did it anyway. It is as if chaos is what they wanted.

This is the United States of America, not the Roman Empire. Our capital is Washington D.C., not Rome. We do not choose Caesars, we elect Presidents. The American People do not believe in and do not want a Pax Americana.

Posted by: jlw at September 25, 2007 12:02 PM
Comment #234601

It is easy to believe in the Constitutional guarantee of free speech when the speaker is saying things we want to hear. It is difficult when someone is saying things that goes against everything that we disagree with. The ultra right believes that the Constitution comes with on on/off switch. Turn it on when it comes to rights for our friends and those who believe in the things we believe in. Off when it comes to those who do not hold the same ideals as we. The Constitution is for EVERYBODY or it is for NOBODY.

The good Senator from Arizona wants to be President and is smart enough to pander to the ultra right for the nomination.

Posted by: C.T.Rich at September 27, 2007 2:49 PM
Comment #234605

kctim said: “Unlike you all, I don’t think somebody is qualified simply because they are a Democrat, especially when it comes to military matters.”

Seems to imply all military Democrats are numbskulls and only Republican military members are capable of military expertise. Perhaps the wording was an unfortunate oversight.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2007 3:01 PM
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