God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay - listen now

Saturday, November 19, 2005

STAYING IN IRAQ

Well that was fun. Who knew watching Congress could be so exciting. It'll be interesting to see what tack the Democrats take now that they've had to vote to keep our troops in Iraq. Last night, they were screaming like long-tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs - and it was awesome.
WASHINGTON - In a raucous session at times more reminiscent of Britain's Parliament than of Congress, House Republicans forced a vote late Friday that put Democrats on record as rejecting U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

The resolution calling for an immediate troop withdrawal was offered by Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, who said he intended it to fail. It was rejected 403-3.

Democrats denounced the resolution and accused Republicans of staging the hasty vote to try to embarrass Murtha, a much-decorated ex-Marine who served in Vietnam and is one of the most respected Democratic voices on military issues. Most Democrats - including Murtha himself - had said they would vote against a resolution they said was a gross distortion of Murtha's stand.
To put it simply, the Democrats wanted to use Murtha as a perpetual club to keep beating the Republicans over the head with. Murtha's resolution was unspecific and could have been an ongoing publicity weapon. The Republicans chose not to let that happen and offered a put-up or shut-up resolution that left no political wiggle-room.
While divided over how to change the course of the war, Democrats have sought political advantage over the majority GOP as public support for the war and President Bush has slipped below 40 percent in some national polls. Democrats said Murtha's resolution should be given hearings and a debate.


Instead, hours before the House was scheduled to break for the Thanksgiving holiday, Republicans called for a same-day, up-or-down vote. Rather than call up Murtha's resolution, they offered less nuanced language supporting immediate withdrawal without further instructions, and offered it in a procedural fashion that prevented changes to the wording.

Democrats were...less than thrilled:

"This resolution today is not what I envisioned, not what I introduced," said Murtha, who received a standing ovation from his fellow Democrats when he entered the chamber Friday.

"It's a pathetic, partisan, political ploy," Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said of the GOP resolution.

"The rankest of politics and the absence of any sense of shame," charged Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat.

Republicans have an excellent counter-argument though:

Republicans said Democrats had been bluffing and deserved to be called on it.

"For the last several months, all we've heard is that 'We need to bring our troops home,' " said Rep. Thelma Drake, R-Va. "If we were to cut and run like they expect us to do, what's going to happen is the 2,000 Americans who have died and given their lives for freedom will be for naught."

So for now, the Democrats' proposals to cut and run are silenced. What remains to be seen is whether this will weaken them or make them more caustic?

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Hugh Hewitt has a good take on the Murtha Resolution here and here.

Powerline opines here.

Right Wing News tells it like it is here.

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