Thursday, June 15, 2006

This... what we're arguing over today?
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

(1) 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;

(2) honors the sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces and of partners in the Coalition, and of the Iraqis and Afghans who fight alongside them, especially those who have fallen or been wounded in the struggle, and honors as well the sacrifices of their families and of others who risk their lives to help defend freedom;

(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;

(4) declares that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq;

(5) congratulates Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and the Iraqi people on the courage they have shown by participating, in increasing millions, in the elections of 2005 and on the formation of the first government under Iraq’s new constitution;

(6) calls upon the nations of the world to promote global peace and security by standing with the United States and other Coalition partners to support the efforts of the Iraqi and Afghan people to live in freedom; and

(7) 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 from Jack Kingston's blog)

I can't speak for the rest of us, but this Democrat says:

1) Yea, 2) Yea, 3) Yea, 4) Yea*, 5) Yea, 6) Yea, 7) Yea.

Was that really difficult? This resolution reads like a mission statement. The devil is in the details (and which is where I think the Democrats could absolutely channell some Truman, flank the Republicans and OWN this issue) especially (*) # 4.

Of course I agree with 1) honoring our troops, 2) honoring the dead, 3) not leaving the scheduling to Washinton, 4) making sure the Administration doesn't install a puppet government, 5) gives mad props to the Iraqis for voting more than Americans, 6) russelin' up a posse (that we shoulda done in the first place), 7) sayin' that terrorism is bad, and we're gonna fight it (just as soon as we define terrorism) and all that.

Glad you guys have come aboard, now where's your freakin' plan???


S.A.W.B. said...

I'll pose the same question to your side. What's YOUR plan for getting us out of Iraq/Afghanistan? And remember, kids, 'Republicans are stupid doo-doo heads' does not a plan constitute. Go ask John Kerry.

With regard to the rest of the story, Item 3 was the bait which Nancy Pelosi, along with some other Dem leaders, so eagerly took.

Quoth Boortz: So out comes Nancy Pelosi...and says "This is a war that is a grotesque mistake." How nice. I'm sure all of the troops serving in Iraq from Pelosi's district are pleased to know she thinks they're there fighting for a "grotesque mistake." So what's her answer? She doesn't have one....all she says is that it's time for a new strategy, according to her "one that will make us safer, strengthen our military, and restore our reputation in the world." In other words, like most Democrats, she has no plan.

endquoth Boortz.

This is simple politicing at it's finest. Throw out a big empty resolution, with one thing that might attract the ire of the other side, and see who bites.

Patrick Armstrong said...

I gave you my ideas (and even provided a link). The no-plan thing is something I am working to change, because that is the definition of the marriage between good policy and good politics.

That's one place where I think the Democrats are completely misjudging the American people, and so are the Republicans.

War weary? Absolutely. But it is a weariness from being at war with no defined end in sight. Are Americans against the war? Some of them. I still think most want to win it. But no Republican (you know, those guys who control Congress, Senate and Administration) plan other than 'keep at it' has emerged.

We can win a million tactical victories, but if there are no clearly defined strategic goals, we don't actually know if we're any closer to winning than we were 4 years ago. That's what the American people (the ones I talk to) are ticked off about.

Democrats still seem more concerned about whether we should go to war in Iraq at all. Guys, that would have been a great debate 4 years ago. What do we do now that we're on the ground and American blood has spilt?

Republicans want to tell us about all the tactical victories. That's great. I'm all about some tactical victories. Us kicking ass kicks ass. But what's the end game? How do those tactical victories help us strategically? When do we consider Iraq ready to stand up on its own? Jingoism will only take you so far, eventually you have to back it up with a PLAN.

In other words, if the Democrats had a viable plan on how to define 'victory,' and then get us out of Iraq, they would win a LANDSLIDE victory in the fall.

Dante said...

Pat, it looks like the only difference between your plan and the President's plan is public posturing. We are already working on training Iraqis militarily, restoring electricity and running water, getting as many allies as we can muster to work with us (which seems to be pretty similar in makeup to the nations that didn't profit in some way off of Sadam's regime), and the Iraqis HAVE a government.

I don't see how adding arbitrary numbers to what the President is already doing, press conferences to tout those arbitrary numbers, a war bond, and some general grandstanding make your "plan" any more of a "plan" than what we already have in place.

Sure the President could be more open with general strategic goals but until he's got real competition from the other side of the isle, that's not going to happen. Until then, we know his overall goal: to rid the world of terrorists.

Patrick Armstrong said...

No, the big difference between my plan and the Presidents' plan is clarity of defined goals.

Yes, we are training Iraqis, we are restoring water & power (like I said, a million tactical victories), but we have no finite goal about how many trainees or how much water and power is necessary for us to define Iraq as 'fully independent and free.' The President has not enunciated any clearly defined goals for any of those issues and how they relate to us getting out of Iraq. All we got was a pre-emptive 'mission accomplished' speech.

It's like 'hot potato' debate. "We don't want to set an arbitrary timeline, we want to stay till the job is done." When is the job done? That's the question. Maybe that's one of the unknown unknowns that have so plauged this Administration?

It shouldn't be an unknown unknown. This is war and it deserves to be taken far more seriously than that. The finish line should be clear and well defined, but this administration and its apologists feel we don't need to know that.

As far as an overall goal of 'rid the world of terrorists,' that's about as concrete as my overall goal being 'lasting world peace.' Nice in theory, but how the hell do we get there from here?

Laddi said...

sawb, you must have missed what's NOT there. Nowhere in that proposition by Rep. Hyde (Ill.) did it mention anything about getting anyone out of Iraq/Afghanistan. Is that the goal? Not according to Rep. Hyde. The goals he outlines for Iraq/Afghanistan are:
1) create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq;
2) call upon the nations of the world to stand with the United States and other Coalition partners to support the efforts of the Iraqi and Afghan people to live in freedom.

Nothing there about getting anyone out of anywhere. As a matter of fact, he is asking for there to be effectively no discussion regarding that issue.

Is it your hope that the US eventually gets out of those countries, because I don't see this as a goal of this proposal.

So Pat's question is proper. It's great to recognize these as goals, to force an agreement on the end objective. But it begs the question: where's the meat? What are the PLANS to get either of these two goals done? How can we unify a global community that we shooed away at the start? What exactly are we asking for when we ask countries to "stand with" (other than lip service)? Will we admonish countries if they don't stand "close enough" (if you get my meaning)? How will we work to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq, and most importantly, what are the measurements to indicate success?

And finally, even if and after these goals are achieved, what then? Is this an exit strategy or is our ultimate goal with Iraq to turn it into a US outpost much like Germany had been? At least let we the people in on the idea.

Any schmoe can sign this bill and say "rah-rah" but HOW are these measures to be achieved, and why isn't that included with each item? As "noble" as this bill is, it really is fluff and a time-waster.

Laddi said...

To pre-emptively strike, I don't care which side of the aisle concrete answers come from, so don't come with "well, democrats don't have an answer, either". don't just throw political fluff-fluff out there just to have a rallying point. If either side has solid answers, now's the time to step to the plate. But I promise not to hold my breath.

Dante said...

"The President has not enunciated any clearly defined goals for any of those issues and how they relate to us getting out of Iraq. All we got was a pre-emptive 'mission accomplished' speech."

As Laddi has already pointed out, the President isn't as concerned about getting out of Iraq as he is about ensuring that we leave behind a stable and secure Iraq. Setting goals based on numbers you found in a dark cave somewhere on your posterior is not going to help with the latter.

And for what it's worth, the mission the President told us was accomplished (the toppling of Saddam's regime) was indeed accomplished by the time he made that speech. If the President tells you we still have a long way to go in Iraq after toppling Saddam's regime and you don't listen, does he make a sound?

Patrick Armstrong said...

But when do we consider Iraq "stable and secure?" What is the litmust test? That's what makes me angry: your definition of safe and secure may be wildly different form my definition of safe and secure. What does "safe and secure" mean to this President, this Administration and these Republicans?

We shouldn't be setting goals based on my rear end, we should be setting goals because we're at war!! I have to go to the rear end because apparently my rear end has more ideas than this President.

And if the President planned on telling us all that, perhaps the banner on the aircraft carrier should have read "Mission* Accomplished." I didn't see any fine print. And I guess I missed the part of his victory lap where he said "we've still got a long way to go" because the jet engine was so loud.

Dante said...

Ok, so I dug up the transcript:

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country."

"We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We are bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We are pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We have begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. We are helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools. And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people. The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. And then we will leave — and we will leave behind a free Iraq." (emphasis mine)

Pat: "We shouldn't be setting goals based on my rear end, we should be setting goals because we're at war!!"

No, we should be setting goals because they achieve results. Setting goals merely because we're at war sets us up for setting poor goals. I'm sure your number sounds nice but it is meaningless and so therefore is your stated goal.

If you want real goals, let's start with your own question and see what we can work out. What does it mean to be safe and secure in your estimation?

Laddi said...

Actually, since we're talking about a real event, let's us the actual president's stated mission goal: Our coalition will stay until our work is done.

Define "our work" and when that will be achieved. I'm not asking rhetorically, but instead of focusing only on "safe and secure", or more specifically "a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq", let's hammer out an idea of "our work". Does it include or end iwth a secure AND UNITED Iraq? How long will THAT take? Cripes, even India, a long-time country, isn't totally united (Kashmir), so does that mean until there is absolutely NO in-fighting, the US will be obligated (at worst) or offer (at best) to stay? We can tell when a country is sovereign and secure, but "free" and "united" are awfully vague goals, especially when you use "free" in a country of religious zealots.

I am first to admit, I have no answers, but let's at least tackle real answers to actual statements of goals by those in power.