Saturday, November 19, 2005

Chaotic House Rejects Withdrawal

In a highly political move to counter a House resolution proposed by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), House leadership forced a vote last night on the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The intention was to force each member into a yay or nay vote on the record regarding troop withdrawal. As expected, withdrawing troops was defeated 403-3. (Washington Post: House Rejects Iraq Pullout After GOP Forces a Vote).

The arguments in the House grew extremely heated at one point, and Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) even had to be restrained when he charged across the aisle after a junior House member. He took exception to a statement made by Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH), "a few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do." Bubp is an Ohio legislator and is also a Marine Corps reserve officer. Democrats took exception to Schmidt's statements, claiming that she had just called the decorated Vietnam veteran Murtha a coward.

The vote last night brings about mixed emotions. The 403-3 result is what will be seen by our enemies. In that sense, it was a very strong signal to send, because they will see a house united behind our troops in Iraq. They will not see or understand the politics behind the resolution. They will not understand that, given the wording, no other outcome was possible. Sending this strong a signal to the enemy will bolster our efforts in Iraq. There's certainly value in sending that message.

On the other hand, it's disturbing that the resolution was entirely political in nature. House leadership was attempting to scuttle a resolution that would likely have produced a much more divisive result. There was wording in Murtha's resolution that would have gained unanimous support from the left, and would also have drawn heavily from the center.

One section of the resolution stated, "the American people have not been shown clear, measurable progress" toward stability in Iraq. That is a true statement. Whether that is a poor PR job on behalf of the military, slanted coverage by the media, or actual fact, really is not known by the average American. What is known, however, is that the majority of Americans believe that little or no progress is being made. The Murtha resolution accurately reflects that.

Another section called for the withdrawal of US troops "at the earliest practicable date." While Murtha's recent comments indicate that he would like that withdrawal to start now, that is certainly not in the resolution. Very few congressmen could reject Murtha's proposal based solely on those two aspects of the resolution. Hence last night's political sideshow.

For the record, I would prefer to see Murtha's resolution withdrawn. While his resolution would certainly spark debate in the House over the war in Iraq, the result would also send too mixed a signal to the enemy. Giving the terrorists any reason to believe that Congress is divided and that the American people are divided is too much of a morale boost to the enemy. Regardless of individual views on the war, it is essential that we appear united in the eyes of the enemy. Therefore, while I'm disgusted with the political maneuverings that took place last night in the House, I am grateful for the 403-3 vote that our enemies will see. Perhaps some good will come out of that chaotic session after all.

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1 comment :

A Christian Prophet said...

Over on The Christian Prophet blog the Holy Spirit came through with a message regarding an Iraqi pullout, asking who it was who lived by the slogan "We shall overcome!"