Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Democrats In Congress- Holding America's troops For Ransom

I dislike the sort of partisan rhetoric that seems to be par for the course in this political season, but I can't help agreeing with John McCain

When he was asked what surprised him the most about the behavior House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with regard to Iraq, he had a simple answer - "their lack of patriotism."

What McCain was referring to, of course, was the wholesale attempt by some of the Democrats in congress to legislate a defeat during wartime in Iraq and Afghanistan by literally starving our troops of funding..simply because a debacle and a shameful retreat works for them politically, regardless of whether it's in America's best interests.

I've chronicled several of these attempts, including a shameful instance of Harry Reid petulantly behaving like a spoiled five-year-old and tabling in committee a badly needed war funding bill that included vital equipment and a pay raise for the military, simply because he couldn't muster the votes to include a written-in-stone surrender date.

The latest instance is even worse. Because President Bush said he would veto a bill tying funding for our troops to millions of dollars in pork and once again rejected a guaranteed withdrawal date, the House and Senate Democrats, led by Reid and Pelosi sent a revised version up for a vote without the pork and without the $50 million in badly needed funds for our warriors.

At a press conference afterwards, Congresswoman Pelosi came out with a this memorable gem:

"They {the Republicans} like this war," she said. "They want this war to continue. That was a revelation to me. I had thought they would listen to their constituents and change their position." She later tried to play catch up on this outrageous freudian slip by saying she meant to say that Republicans like Mr. Bush's strategy — not that they "like" the war.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has still hasn't received the money they need to continue funding the war....something that directly affects every soldier in the field. The Defense Department is trying to shuffle things around by temporarily laying off 100,000 civilian military employees next week in an attempt to free up money for combat troops.

And those `compassionate' Democrats are quite aware of the Christmastime layoffs. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England sent letters to senior Democrats, among them Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin warning them about the pending layoffs and writing that they "will affect the critical support our civilian employees provide to our war-fighters — support which is key to our current operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq." Army and Marine command facilities in the US and abroad with civilian employees and contractors were also warned about the civilian layoffs at their bases.

Again, I agree with John McCain - the lack of patriotism of these people in wartime, the lack of basic support and appreciation for the men and women who pay the price to defend their perks, freedom and lifestyle is astounding.

It is, quite simply, craven, disloyal and conduct unbecoming.


Anonymous said...

You know, FF, I wonder if the tables were turned and a Democratic president invaded Iraq, wouldn't the Republicans be acting the way the Democrats are right now?

Fact is, when things are going badly for the party in power, it's always good for the opposition, conservative or liberal. I don't know how much it has to do with patriotism.

Freedom Fighter said...

To answer your question directly, Nazar, no, I don't think they would.

And if they did act in the same craven manner, I would have no problem saying the same things about them.

As you know, I'm not a Republican, but I will say that generally Republicans have more of an awareness that politics should stop at the water's edge. That could be because per capita, more of them tend to have actually served in the military and have more of an understanding of matters of national defense.

People like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and others of that ilk are almost instinctively anti-military.

You might recall that before WWII most Republican congressmen opposed our getting involved but quickly got behind the administration once our troops were in harm's way. None of them played politics with our troops' lives.

The same thing was true in Korea and Viet Nam, even though many Republicans were against the 'limited war' strategy. In Viet Nam, as you'll recall, it was the Democrat Left who led the charge against our war effort and called for an immediate pull out even when LBJ was running things.

And it was the Democrat Left that broke our country's pledged word to Viet Nam and Cambodia after we left and cut off military aid, dooming these peoples to mass murder and slavery at the hands of the communists.

There is no record of the Republicans trying to starve our troops of funding to play politics in any of these instances, even when the Democrats held the presidency.

Anonymous said...

Hey FF. I think you got a few things wrong. In general, the military is conservative and mostly Republican, but in Congress, the numbers of veterans is split almost evenly among party lines. In the Senate, there were 14 Democrats and 15 Republicans who served. In the House, there are 54 Republicans who served, and 42 in the House of Reps, so it's not that much of a difference.

Also, the Republicans supported World War 2, as well as Korea, and Vietnam, even if they disagreed with the strategy. A more fitting analogy would be to examine the Republicans' behavior to wars they opposed.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Nazar,

Some excellent point.

My count was somewhat different, but for the sake of argument I'll accept your figures.

The Republicans most certainly opposed our involvement in WWII and the Lend Lease program.Remember, we were suplying the Brits and our navy and merchant marine were in a de facto war long before Pearlt harbor. But they still pulled together after Pearl Harbor to support the war effort. A lot of them also disliked going to a limited war in Korea under a UN mandate,but never played games with funding when our men were under fire.

For an example of a recent war, look at Somalia, Kossovo and Bosnia. Most Republicans were very opposed to these military adventures, but never tried to play policy by starving our troops of funding, especially when they were under fire.


Anonymous said...

I see what you mean, FF, point well taken. Still, this is a perfect catch-22. If the Democrats are opposed to the war, they can either cut funding, in which case they are traitors, or they can say they will, in which case they are traitors. It looks like there is no middle ground, and that's unfortunate.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Nazar,
Actually, there is a middle ground.

The vast majority in congress voted to give the president authority to use military force in Iraq and Afghanistan. As you know, I favor a formal declaration of war in these circumstances, but the congressional vote was sufficient.

If congress had misgivings, they had business to voice them then and to vote accordingly, BEFORE our troops were committed.

To attempt to do so afterwards for their own partisan political gain is despicable, and strengthens our enemies.

Which was exactly my point.

Can you name me a similar example in the past of a Speaker of The House traveling to a country involved in facilitating the entry of fighters, arms and cash to be used against our men in Iraq and saying `We (congress) have our own foreign policy' ?

I don't think so.