Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Reasons Why The Left Disgusts Me

You try really hard not to get outraged by the stupidity of the hard-core anti-war left. But I'd expect better from our elected reps. Maybe I shouldn't...

Top House Democrats, working in concert with anti-war groups, have decided against using congressional power to force a quick end to U.S. involvement in Iraq, and instead will pursue a slow-bleed strategy designed to gradually limit the administration's options.

Led by Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., and supported by several well-funded anti-war groups, the coalition's goal is to limit or sharply reduce the number of U.S. troops available for the Iraq conflict, rather than to openly cut off funding for the war itself.

The legislative strategy will be supplemented by a multimillion-dollar TV ad campaign designed to pressure vulnerable GOP incumbents into breaking with President Bush and forcing the administration to admit that the war is politically unsustainable.

As described by participants, the goal is crafted to circumvent the biggest political vulnerability of the anti-war movement -- the accusation that it is willing to abandon troops in the field. That fear is why many Democrats have remained timid in challenging Bush, even as public support for the president and his Iraq policies have plunged.

Murtha and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have decided that they must take the lead in pressuring not only Republicans but also cautious Senate Democrats to take steps more aggressive than nonbinding resolutions in challenging the Bush administration.

The House strategy is being crafted quietly, even as the chamber is immersed this week in an emotional, albeit mostly symbolic, debate over a resolution expressing opposition to Bush's plan to "surge" 21,500 more troops into Iraq.

Murtha, the powerful chairman of the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, will seek to attach a provision to an upcoming $93 billion supplemental spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan. It would restrict the deployment of troops to Iraq unless they meet certain levels adequate manpower, equipment and training to succeed in combat. That's a standard Murtha believes few of the units Bush intends to use for the surge would be able to meet.

In addition, Murtha, acting with the backing of the House Democratic leadership, will seek to limit the time and number of deployments by soldiers, Marines and National Guard units to Iraq, making it tougher for Pentagon officials to find the troops to replace units that are scheduled to rotate out of the country. Additional funding restrictions are also being considered by Murtha, such as prohibiting the creation of U.S. military bases inside Iraq, dismantling the notorious Abu Ghraib prison and closing the American detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"There's a D-Day coming in here, and it's going to start with the supplemental and finish with the '08 [defense] budget," said Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, who chairs the Air and Land Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

Pelosi and other top Democrats are not yet prepared for an open battle with the White House over ending funding for the war, and they are wary of Republican claims that Democratic leaders would endanger the welfare of U.S. troops. The new approach of first reducing the number of troops available for the conflict, while maintaining funding levels for units already in the field, gives political cover to conservative House Democrats who are nervous about appearing "anti-military" while also mollifying the anti-war left, which has long been agitating for Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to be more aggressive.

"What we have staked out is a campaign to stop the war without cutting off funding" for the troops, said Tom Mazzie of Americans Against Escalation of the War in Iraq. "We call it the 'readiness strategy.'"

Murtha's proposal, which has been kept under tight wraps, is likely to pass the House next month or in early April as part of the supplemental spending bill, Democratic insiders said, if the language remains tightly focused and does not threaten funding levels for combat forces already in the field. The battle will then shift to the Senate. Anti-war groups like Mazzie's are prepared to spend at least $6.5 million on a TV ad campaign and at least $2 million more on a grass-roots lobbying effort. Vulnerable GOP incumbents like Sens. Norm Coleman of Minnestoa, Susan Collins of Maine, Gordon Smith of Oregon and John Sununu of New Hampshire will be targeted by the anti-war organizations, according to Mazzie and former Rep. Tom Andrews, D-Maine, head of the Win Without War Coalition.

..."We will set benchmarks for readiness," said a top Democratic leadership aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity. If enacted, these provisions would have the effect of limiting the number of troops available for the Bush surge plan, while blunting the GOP charge that Democrats are cutting funding for the troops. "We are not cutting funding for any [unit] in Iraq," said the aide, who admitted the Democratic maneuver would not prevent the president from sending some additional forces to Baghdad. "We want to limit the number who can go ... We're trying to build a case that the president needs to change course."

Mazzie, though, suggested that Democrats ought to directly rebut the Republican charge that Democrats are threatening the safety of American forces in the field by pushing restrictions on war funding. "Cutting off funding as described by the media and White House is a caricature," Mazzie said. "It has never happened in U.S. history, and it won't happen now."

Andrews, who met with Murtha on Tuesday to discuss legislative strategy, acknowledged "there is a relationship" with the House Democratic leadership and the anti-war groups, but added, "It is important for our members that we not be seen as an arm of the Democratic Caucus or the Democratic Party. We're not hand in glove."

Andrews's group has launched a new Web site,, and he has already posted an interview with Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., one of the founders of the "Out of Iraq Caucus" in the House. An interview with Murtha on his legislative strategy will be posted on the site Thursday.

"I don't know how you vote against Murtha," said Andrews. "It's kind of an ingenious thing."
That's not the word I'd use to describe Murtha or his actions. Detestable comes to mind, but that understates the matter significantly.

There is nothing more anti-military and outrageous than this proposal. Have the guts to call for a withdrawal and actually pull the funding, instead of plotting for the defeat of our troops. Instead, these political cowards -- and that's what they are -- are planning a campaign that will seek to keep our troops from succeeding and sap the morale of those willing to support their mission -- and then sap support for the troops. I'm tired of a war debate that consists of people like Murtha saying they "support the troops" while actively planning to subvert their mission on one end, with a bunch of mushy moderates looking for political cover in the middle.

I hate these stupid non-binding resolutions as well. If you think the surge won't work, then kill the funding -- I can intellectually comprehend the position of someone like Russ Feingold a hell of a lot better than the position of people like Chuck Hagel. Feingold wants to cut off funding -- that's at least politically courageous and stands up for his belief that the surge won't succeed. Hagel and his ilk are willing to state that they don't believe in the President's strategy but are unwilling to stop him from executing it. Hell, they confirmed the general advocating the surge strategy while issuing a resolution against it. Stating this position in a non-binding resolution does nothing but sap morale -- basically, you're telling the military that you don't believe they can win in their mission, even though you won't try to stop it.

But back to Murtha, the idiot left-wingers and their "readiness" strategy. This is far worse than Hagel and the moderates, who are merely seeking political cover in case the war goes bad. The moderates are not out there secretly campaigning against the troops and their mission. That is basically what Murtha's effort amounts to -- a statement that the Democrats on the left won't step forward and win the debate on the war in the court of public opinion, possibly because they can't but most certainly because they lack the political courage to make the argument. Instead, they'd rather undercut the mission of the troops and undercut their support at home. Murtha's proposal is a cancer designed to remove any hope of winning this war.

I'd love to find a way to trust the Democrats in the war on terror -- we need both parties fully engaged in an effort that is far too important for us to fail. Unfortunately, with leaders like John Murtha and Nancy Pelosi on the left, it is impossible to trust the Democrats.


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