Sunday, March 18, 2007


Bitten On the Ass!

You know how things sometimes have a way of coming back around and biting you on the ass? Well, the entire Republican party got bitten on the ass big time today on Meet the Press. And who did the biting? Why none other than the people-powered Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania.

Allow me to set the scene...

Midway through today's broadcast, there was a roundtable discussion concerning Iraq that included Sestak, Fmr. Rep. Tom Andrews (D-ME), Robert Novak's long lost twin Richard Perle of the American Enterprise Institute and PNAC, and Fmr. Rep. Tom DeLay (shouldn't he be in prison by now?). Naturally, Perle and DeLay were bleating endlessly about how withdrawal would only lead to defeat (pretending of course that we haven't already lost) while Sestak and Andrews were arguing for a redeployment as our generals have now acknowledged that there is no longer a military solution to the issue. Relevant quotes from Perle and DeLay include:
MR. PERLE: Well, I think it is certainly true that setting a date certain would alter the leverage. Unfortunately, it would alter it in favor of the terrorists. If they know that we're going to leave on a date certain, they will adjust their strategies to take full advantage of that... What a date certain will do is guarantee the defeat to the United States' effort in Iraq. Guarantee it!


MR. PERLE: ...(to Andrews) what you're saying is that we should pull out. Setting a date certain only anticipates the pulling out, but it will unleash forces that will be completely uncontrollable. And the consequences of an American pullout will not only be a defeat for the United States and a setback in our effort to combat terror around the world, it will be a catastrophe for the people of Iraq.


MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Delay, you raise an interesting point in an interview--in your political column. You talked about congressmen advocating withdrawal, and you conclude by saying, "Yes, I am questioning their patriotism." Why is that?

FMR. REP. DeLAY: Well, I--it, it is my opinion that when you go to war, we ought to all come together. You can debate going to war, that's a legitimate debate. But once you have our soldiers and our, our young people dying on the battlefield, we should come together, and we shouldn't have what we had yesterday on the Mall of, of, of--in Washington, D.C. When the--those are not, in my mind--my opinion, patriots that are talking about impeaching the commander in chief, that are--that are--work as, as Tom's group works....

MR. RUSSERT: But setting a date for--is setting a date for withdrawal...

FMR. REP. DeLAY: ...every step of the day, undermine--I think it's aiding and abetting the enemy. When you tell the enemy what your strategy is, that's aiding and abetting the enemy because they can use that strategy to come back and harm your soldiers.

And then Sestak sank his teeth in deep.
REP. SESTAK: Tim, I spent 31 years in the service of our nation leading men and women into combat in war. And I always assumed, at least I always hoped, that the men and women back here, the policy makers, day in and day out, were spending hours, weeks, debating about the best use of this national treasure. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said it best a few weeks ago when he said, as someone asked him about this debate and what's going on in the House, he said, "Our men and women of our military are educated. They understand the democratic process." I remember when working for President Clinton as director of defense policy, when I didn't agree with you, Tom, but that there was the Buyer Amendment to stop in a year any more funding for our troops in Bosnia. And then there was, in 1999, the effort not to place any more troops not--in Kosovo. While I may have disagreed with you, I respected your office, that that is the constitutional duty of Congress, to take pride for the common defense.

(emphasis mine, obviously)

Buyer amendment? Kosovo? What's he talking about? Well, thank whatever deity you believe in for Thomas. With a little searching I was able to find the following tidbits of information.

In 1997, Rep. Stephen Buyer (R-IN) proposed an amendment to H.R.1119 ("An Act to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 1998 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to precribe personnel strengths for such fiscal year for the Armed Forces, and for other purposes"). The purpose of Buyer's amendment read as follows:
An amendment to prohibit any funds authorized in the bill to be obligated for the deployment of U.S. ground troops in Bosnia after June 30, 1998, except to support a limited number of U.S. military personnel sufficient to protect U.S. diplomatic facilities and noncombat military personnel serving in an advisory capacity to NATO commanders of peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

(again, emphasis mine)

The amendment passed on a vote of 278 - 148. Among those voting in favor of it, Tom DeLay and a number of other Republicans still serving in congress. Now I don't know about you, but June 30, 1998, sure sounds like a "date certain" to me. Does it not?

As for the Kosovo remark, it took a little more searching, but I think I've located the relevant legislation. In 1999, H.CON.RES.42 dealt with "the use of United States Armed Forces as part of a NATO peacekeeping operation implementing a Kosovo peace agreement." Among the amendments proposed to the resolution was one by Rep. Tillie Fowler (R-FL) whose purpose was "to limit the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces and not authorize the President to deploy ground forces to Kosovo as part of a NATO peacekeeping operation." The amendment failed by a vote of 178 - 237. However, over 75% of the voting Republicans supported the amendment. Once again, Tom DeLay was among the "Ayes." As were a large number of the other Republicans who are currently decrying Democratic efforts to change the course in Iraq.

So while DeLay, Perle, and the rest of the Bush-apologist Republicans, like to cry cut-and-run and vilify the Democrats for even considering re-deployment or tightening the purse strings, it's just another example in a long list of Republican hypocrisy. More of the "do as I say, not as I do" style of leadership we've come to expect from them.

So to Joe Sestak I say "Thank you!" Thank you for pointing this out." And to Tom DeLay, Richard Perle and the rest of the Bush-apologist saps I say "Ouch! That's gonna' leave a mark."

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