Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Senate Votes to Surrender 50- 48

The Senate voted yesterday to surrender the war if we still have troops in Iraq in March 2008. It was phrased as a troop withdrawal to begin within 120 days with 100% of troops out of Iraq by March, 2008. If our forces leave the field without any consideration for how the war is going at the time, I can only interpret this as an Unconditional Surrender. I simply can’t see any way another nation would look at this and not view it as a failure in Iraq and a surrender by the United States.

Many of the Democrats have said they want this surrender date in the bill to send a message to the President. The Congress (both House and Senate) have spent a lot of time sending and phrasing messages to the President. These messages are viewed by a much wider audience than just the President. What do our troops thing about this? What about our enemies? What about our Allies?

The message the Democrats are sending to our troops is, “Regardless of what is happening in Iraq, we are going to remove you from the field.” The Democrats don’t care if we are winning in Iraq, and they don’t care if we can win in Iraq. They simply insist that we can’t fight any longer. They have decided that any war can only last “x” number of days, and we can only continue to engage if we take less than “x” number of casualties. It doesn’t matter what is happening, what the military leaders think, or what casualties our enemies are taking.

Our enemies must view this as a victory. The politicians behind the forces they are facing have said that if our enemies are still in Iraq in March of 2008, they can have Iraq. The Democrats have said we can fight until then, but after that, we just don’t have it in us. The last thing any general wants is to give his enemy hope. However, the Democrats are sending Al-Queda and Iran vast quantities of hope.

Finally, what does this message say to our Allies? Many Democrats criticize the Iraqi government for not quelling Sunni-Shia violence. Now we have told the democratically elected government of Iraq that they have until March to get things in order and then we are going to leave them to fight their enemies, and the enemies of Democracy. Iraq has had the first transparent and free elections in the Middle East in a long, long time. The Democrats have said, “We don’t really care what you do between now and March, but we are leaving in March.” They have decided Democracy in the Middle East simply isn’t worth protecting.

If Al-Queda released a press statement saying they were going to withdraw from Iraq if America was still fighting in March, how would we view that? Would we see it as a sign of things going in our favor? Would that message be enough to give the Democrats the will to push on with the surge? Would we see it as a sign that Bin Laden was simply trying to send a message to his cell leaders, and we shouldn’t read anything into it? What message are the Democrats really sending? No one believes the Democrats agree with the President on anything right now. As I view the House and the Senate debate surrender, I wonder which the Democrats think is worse: George Bush succeeding in Iraq, or a loss by America’s military?


Ron West said...

Okay, you hate the dems idea. Fair enough. But, you surely have to admit the war isn't going very well.

Chlorine gas attacks, reprisal killings, death, mayhem, madness galore.

I surely would like to see the Iraqis develop a national reconciliation, but I don't see any evidence of it.


familyman said...

Well Andy, I'm sure you weren't expecting me to agree on this one. And I won't dissapoint you.

Many Democratic representatives have been against our involvement in this war for a long time now. Especially since it became obvious that the original reasoning given for the invasion proved to be completely wrong.

So now that the Democrats are in a position of control, they are enacting legislation that reflects their opposition to the war.

You may be right. This might go down in history as a defeat for the U.S. It may be seen as surrender.

But after years of missteps and miscalculations by the Bush administration in the conduct of this war, you can't lay the blame for defeat on anyone but George Bush, his inept team of advisors and their disasterous handling of the situation in Iraq from the looting of the Iraq National Museum to Disbanding the Iraqi Army and Police Force to the failure to restore basic services to the torture at Abu Ghraib to KBR's and other companies' obscene profiteering to our military having to scrounge garbage dumps for metal to armour their vehicles to the Coalition Provisional Authority "losing" 8.8 Billion dollars to not having enough troops on the ground immediately after the invasion contrary to advice from high ranking members of the military, and on and on.

If the war is lost, it is because of all those things I just listed and more. Not because Congress is now deciding it has to come to terms with George Bush's failure.

Something Bush himself is unwilling to do.

Andy D said...

Thanks for the comments Ron, and Familyman. Glad to see you back Family, I was beginning to wonder where you were.

First for Ron: I will be the first to tell you things aren’t going the way we want in Iraq. The things you list in your post are happening. But there are other things as well. We are restoring basic services to Iraq, the Iraqi people feel that things are better now than they were under Saddam, militias and their leaders are either disbanding or heading for Iran. While we have a long hard road still ahead of us, every objective assessment of Iraq is that things are getting better.

Familyman, there were a list of reasons we went into Iraq. The main one was that Saddam wasn’t complying with the UN. I don’t agree with the UN, I think as long as we are members of the UN we will have an uphill battle within the UN. However, if we are going to be members, then when the UN says something, it should mean something. The UN had given Saddam 13 chances to comply and he wasn’t doing it. Finally, under a UN resolution we went into Iraq and removed Saddam from power. Were there truck loads and truck loads of WMD’s like most of the free world expected? No. That means they either were never there (something Saddam’s own generals dispute) or they were moved to Syria or Iran.

But, for all the causalities and criticism’s of the war, lets look at what we have accomplished. We removed a brutal dictator from power. We helped a new, democratic government form in its place. We have helped the Iraqi people have free elections that have had such huge voter turn out that we should be ashamed with our own turnout. Are things great in Iraq? Not by any stretch of the Imagination. Are things better, and is there incredible hope for the future? Yes, without question.

Now, we as an American People have to answer a basic question: Are we willing to stand by an ally when they need us? The Iraqi government and people can not survive at this point without our help. Everyone, Democrat and Republican alike, believes that there will be terrible repercussions if we pull out of Iraq prematurely. So, are we the the kind of country that will stand with our allies, even in the tough times, or are we the kind of ally that supports or friends on paper, but if time gets tough, don’t ask us to help because me might not be up to the task?

Andy D said...

I have had a lot of comments with links this week, so I thought I would join the fun Debra Saunders writes in the San Francisco Chronicle today what the real question about the Democrats vote to Surrender should be: What will happen if we leave? One answer she got was from McCain:

At least McCain will predict what these timetables will do. The Senate March 2008 withdrawal plan, he said this week, "does not incentivize the government of Iraq to make tough decisions on reconciliation -- it sets the stage for the government collapse. The arbitrary deadline informs our enemies when they need no longer fear American military power. It signals to the population that their best bet for security really does rest in the hands of militias, rather than the government. It demonstrates to the government that they cannot rely on us -- after all, we are pulling out regardless of the situation or consequences. And it tells the terrorists that they -- not we -- will prevail."

familyman said...

Just this Monday John McCain said, “There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today.”

And on Tuesday he said, "General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee. I think you oughta catch up. You are giving the old line of three months ago."

Both of those comments suggest to me that John McCain is either being very poorly advised or has no grasp of reality.

So he is one of the last people in the world who's opinion I would count on when deciding our policy in Iraq.

Andy D said...

I have actually followed this pretty closely. The comments McCain is being criticized for were made on Bill Bennett’s morning show and on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. CNN then had a correspondent come on and criticize McCain pretty heavily for the comments. The Power Line and Bennett are now collecting letters and emails from soldiers serving in Baghdad and families of soldiers serving in Baghdad to compare with both statements and see who is correct. And while we are questioning credibility, let’s not forget what CNN said after Saddam was removed. They admitted they had known about many of the atrocities that Saddam committed, but hadn’t reported on them because they were afraid their Baghdad office would be kicked out of the country.

But, if you don’t trust McCain’s comments, then what do you think would happen if we left Iraq? And for one more source, try Iraq the Model for an Iraqi take on what would happen if America surrendered.

familyman said...

I'm sure it will be chaos. But the thing is, it already IS chaos!

You (and a lot of other people) talk as if we are their only hope. It's not like we're keeping things under control by being there and if we leave everything's going to fall apart.

It already IS falling apart.

Today at least 163 Iraqis were killed.

Yesterday 166 Iraqis were killed.

Tuesday 150 Iraqis killed. Monday 71 Iraqis killed.

If the Iraqi government is truly an ally of ours, we've ALREADY failed them miserably.

Sun. Mar. 25th - 78 Iraqis Killed

Sat. Mar. 24th - 128 Iraqis Killed

Fri. Mar. 23rd - 74 Iraqis Killed

Thu. Mar. 22nd - 51 Iraqis Killed

Wed. Mar. 21st - 72 Iraqis Killed

Tue. Mar. 20th - 143 Iraqis Killed

Mon. Mar. 19th - 123 Iraqis Killed

Sun. Mar. 18th - 61 Iraqis Killed

And so on...

Andy D said...

If the US isn't Iraq's last hope, then who out there is? What country or group is going to step in and help Iraq if we pull out?

Iraqis are dying. I haven't checked the numbers you cite, but lets say for the sake of arguement they are right. Then if the Iraqi's are willing to die to have a chance at Democracy, why should we abandon them? And if 150+ are dying day in and day out with us in country, how many do you think will die if we decide to leave?

If you (or anyone for that matter) wants to surrender in Iraq, then tell me what you think happens next. What happens the day after we pull the last troop out?

Brandon said...

Andy, I agree with you that we shouldn't withdraw, to a point. We are going to have to reduce our troop levels soon because the Army and Marines can sustain these troop levels. I think that we should draw down our troop levels to around 75,000 to train Iraqi police and soldiers, secure the borders with Iran and Syria, and to fight al Qaeda in al Anbar province.

The Bush administration's biggest problem in the war is that they keep making the right choices about 6 months-2 years after it's too late. Ambassador Khalilzad was a brilliant choice to be our Iraqi ambassador, but he should have been our first ambassador, not our third. We're finally re-opening the closed state factories to give thousands jobs, but they never should have been closed. We're finally using true counterinsurgency warfare in Iraq, but we should have been doing this in 2004 or 2005.

The sad truth is that we finally have a strategy that could win us the war a year too late, the public is tired of the war and tired of hearing new strategies that are going to win the war replacing the old strategy that was going to win the war.

Matthew Smith said...

"I wonder which the Democrats think is worse: George Bush succeeding in Iraq, or a loss by America’s military?"

That may be the most revolting thing I've ever read. How dare you, Andy? How dare you attribute credit for any success to the president, but blame for any failure to the troops? And how dare you suggest that Democrats are the ones who don't support our troops? Our armed forces do not need their Commander in Chief to be right to be heroes - they don't need him to win to be winners themselves. I am sick, sick, SICK by your words and your vile attempt at framing this as a "you're with the president or you hate the troops" argument.

On the plus side, you (and this week's Newsweek inspired me to blog about this mid-drunk from an airport bar. On the negative side, I don't know if I have the stomach for your blog any more.

familyman said...

Hey Andy,

First of all, the majority of those Iraqi deaths are not people willing to die for a chance at democracy. They are people being blown up while trying to do their grocery shopping.

As for what will happen if we leave, I read an article by Marshall Adame, a former Marine Vietnam veteran who has had extensive experience in Iraq.

I think he does a good job of addressing the issue of whether or not we should be there and what will happen if we leave.

Speaking about the hundreds of Iraqis being detained as part of the security crackdown, he says, "The point, which seemingly escapes our President and his ardent Republican followers is that no one can police or manage a Civil War.

Any foreign troops present in a Civil war simply become victims of both sides of the war. In this case, that would be us, the United States."

And in regards to what will happen if the U.S. leaves he says,"I lived in the Middle East for eight years, three of those in Iraq serving with the Coalition Provincial Authority as the Airport Director of Basrah International Airport and later as a US State Department Diplomatic appointee in Baghdad. The Iraqi people are educated, nationalistic, intolerant of foreigners and will no way allow any group, Muslim or not, to establish a foot hold in Iraq which denigrates the Iraq people in any way. If you want to see a slaughter of terrorist[sic] in Iraq, leave. The Iraqi population and Army will take care of their own business. It may not be pretty, but they will eventually settle it once and for all. Without the United States combat forces.

Like a serious wound in the flesh, Iraq will take time to stop bleeding and heal. A long time, but it will heal. There will be a scar of the past left after all is said and done in Iraq. Unfortunately it will be one we put there."

Here's the entire article.

And that is the point I've been trying to make. As he says, it may not be pretty if we leave, but it's only continued to get uglier and uglier as long as we've been there.

You can call it surrender, or quitting or whatever you want. But sometimes the smartest thing to do is to swallow your pride and walk away from a fight.

Andy D said...

Wow, lots of comments and emotions on this post. I will do my best to respond to all of them. If I sound like I am insulting anyone out there, it is not my intention. I truly believe we are in a war right now that will decide the fate of our nation for many generations to come.


I think you make some very interesting points. If Baghdad gets secure, I could even sign up with your proposal.


I would hate to loose you as a reader, and as I said above, I am really not trying to insult anyone. However, I stand by my question. My Democrats have done and said things that make me think they are more interested in seeing George Bush fail than they are seeing the war in Iraq succeed. I am not saying all, but many of the Democrats, and predominately their leadership. The Blue Dog coalition is a good example of a group of Democrats that seemed more interested in doing the right thing in Iraq. That was up until the recent bills were voted on. The Democratic Leadership put so much pork in there for the Blue Dogs, they almost couldn’t vote against it.

I also think you have misread my statement. Our troops can only be as successful as the politicians in Washington (on both sides of the isle) allow them to be. I have never once questioned the motives or commitment of our troops. I have also repeatedly said on here that it looks like the troop surge is showing progress. That is a success that can be squarely laid at the feet of our troops. If we succeed in Iraq, I think it will be largely due to the President because he has been the one pushing us to continue fighting there. To say we can have any success without the President doesn’t represent what is happening over here.

You can be against the President and still with the troops. I don’t believe you can be against the mission of the troops and for the troops. Any Democrat can say today, “This President has made many, many mistakes in Iraq. The Democratic Party demanded the President take on a new role in Iraq. The course the President has chosen is not the course we want. However, there are some success being had in Iraq, and because of that, we will continue to support the troops in their mission. We hope and pray that the troops and the Iraqi people are able to create a stable, democratic government in Iraq that is capable of defending itself.”

However, that is not the tone the Democrats have chosen. Instead, they have decided that they don’t like the direction the President has chosen, and want an arbitrary time to withdraw from Iraq. This has dire consequences. When in the course of the US Military have we announced to the world when we would quit a fight? We have given hope to the enemy, and shown them our long range plans at the same time. If that isn’t the Democrats voting for surrender, what is it?

Andy D said...

Familyman, I went a little long in the last post, so I thought I would respond to your comment in a second post. Again, I hope you don’t take this as an insult to you. I am intending this as legitimate questions about what is going on today with my analysis.

You said,”You can call it surrender, or quitting or whatever you want. But sometimes the smartest thing to do is swallow your pride and walk away from a fight.” I appreciate your candor.

In all honesty, if we do leave Iraq, I hope this Marine is correct. I hope and pray that I and many others I have read vastly overestimate the threat of Al-Queda and the terrorist who want us dead. I sincerely hope that I have given more credit to Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas. My fear is that I haven’t.

I truly believe that if we surrender in Iraq, there will be a cataclysmic series of events in the Middle East leading to a lot of deaths. I believe Iran and Syria with both be emboldened to attempt to grab territory within Iraq. I believe Turkey will do its best to annex the Kurdish region in. I believe Al-Queda and its surrogates will try to kill and destroy the democratic government in Iraq. I believe Al-Queda will begin using Iraq as a home base to launch attacks in the Middle East, Europe, the UK, and the US. I believe we will be forced to go right back to the Middle East, or accept a certain amount of terrorist activity here in the US.

That scenario is to terrible for me to be willing to risk it and support withdrawing our troops. In WWII we lost around 400,000 troops and inflict casualties on the Japanese alone on the order of 2 million people. The casualties in Iraq, while regrettable, or very minor when compared to most other military engagements like this. Because of that, I believe we have to see this through till the end.

Anonymous said...

1/1/2005 119 killed
1/2/2005 119 killed
1/3/2005 119 killed
1/4/2005 119 killed
1/5/2005 119 killed
1/6/2005 119 killed
And so on...
2005 43,443 people were traffic crash fatalities in the US. An average of 119 people killed per day in that year. Yeah, we have a lot more people then Iraq but that is just traffic accidents! I guess under familyman's theory we should all withdraw from our cars.
As for withdrawing from Iraq...are they not requesting that we stay there. There will be a point when they will have to work things out on there own, much like our own civil war after our revolutionary war (which we did have foreign help in and took a lot longer then 4 years and 3000+ soldiers deaths to win) but if they keep asking for our help and things are progressing then we keep giving it. And by progressing I mean progressing as determined profession military people and not newspapers. Did we run out on the French when it took us 3 months to get from the beach to 15 km inland after suffering huge losses on that beach and the 3 months to get that far inland?
As stated on here McCain is not a person to trust on military matters because he has no idea of what is going on on the ground over there. I say he knows more then me because he talks with generals. I think he knows more then all of us sitting at our computers late at night in our plush suburban homes.
As for a clearly defined time table I guess we could just stop spending money on keeping our military communications secret. If we are telling them when we are leaving we might as well start telling them when and where we are going to attack too.
As for march 31, 2008. Why not oct. 4, 2007, or April 1, 2007? I can only think because that is just in time for the presidential debates to start happening. Trying to get into the white house on the backs of our dying soldiers now that is sick, sick, sickening.
Oh yeah is not telling somebody you will give them money to vote for something also called a bribe? So taking bribes and riding the deaths of our soldiers to power and fame is the way our congress works. What else would you expect from a group of people that have a lower approval rating then the president?

A Big Fat Slob said...

Oh, darn, and we were on the verge of victory.

familyman said...

Andy, to compare this war with World War 2 is copmparing apples to oranges. This war is much smaller in scope, and medical technology is such that today, many soldiers survive what would have been fatal injuries back in the 1940's. So it's not really a fair comparison to say this war isn't as bad because less soldiers are dying.

Annonymous - OK, so if we say that the average death toll from being blown up or tortured in Iraq and the average death toll from auto accidents in the U.S. are roughly equal. And we take the population of the U.S. which is about 300Million and the population of Iraq which is about 25Million, that puts your odds in the U.S. at 1 out of every 2.5Million, while your odds in Iraq are 1 out of every 225,000. Quite a difference I'd say.

The other difference is of course that we are all aware of the danger posed by getting behind the wheel of a car and as a part of our everyday life, we choose to take that risk. And cars are continually being improved to be safer.

While the Iraqi people did not choose to be put into a situation where they have to take that risk every day. And car bombs are continually being improved to be more deadly.

I don't think we should withdraw from our cars, but I do think the 400Billion dollars spent in Iraq would have been better spent on ways to reduce car accidents.

Andy D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy D said...

**Sorry, caught a spelling error after posting**

Familyman, I agree that WWII and the War in Iraq are very different beasts. However, I think the 3200 deaths by US soldiers since the beginning of the war really needs to be put in perspective. There are approximately 5,000 people a year who die in the US because a pharmacist can’t read a doctors handwriting on a prescription and give out the wrong medicine or the wrong dosage of medicine.

For what we are accomplishing in Iraq (and I think I heard both Familyman and Matthew jump to attack that sentence) we have suffered relatively low casualties. I believe the mission our troops are doing is important, and we need to stick with it. The Iraqi’s deserve our continued help, and we need to show the world we will stick by our allies when things are tough. If we pull out now, or surrender in a year, bin Laden will be right when he called the US a paper tiger.

familyman said...

Admitting a mistake is difficult. It's embarrasing. It often puts you in a weaker position than you were in before you made the mistake.

But sometimes the only thing to do is admit the mistake, apologize, move on and try to redeem yourself and regain your position of strength by doing better next time.

Anonymous said...

"Admitting a mistake is difficult. It's embarrasing. It often puts you in a weaker position than you were in before you made the mistake.

But sometimes the only thing to do is admit the mistake, apologize, move on and try to redeem yourself and regain your position of strength by doing better next time." . . .

Let's remember this, when after a premature withdrawl, the weak democratic government is consumed by a strong militant government.

Let's remember this when people die at the hands of the government because they are the wrong sect of Islam.

We must finish what we've started, or we will simply replace Stalin with Hitler.

Brandon said...

Andy, did you see that in the Senate's version of the funding bill that Joe Biden slipped in a measure that's going to increase the production of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to help save our troops lives? I think that's one part of this bill that all of us here can support. He even managed to get some love from the Washington Times for it. I've started a politics blog of my own, maybe you could check it out?

Andy D said...

My complaint is when the Democrats add earmarks to this bill in order to buy conservative Democratic votes and then act like they are only doing the will of the people. If they were really doing what the American people wanted, there wouldn’t be a need for the millions of dollars of bribes to get conservative Democrats to go along with the bill.

familyman said...

Last year's supplemental spending bill to get money to the troops approved by the Republicans contained $15 billion in domestic spending.

Included in the bill were $700 million to reroute a railroad to facilitate casino development in Mississippi, $4 billion for a farm bailout even as the farm economy booms, $594 million in additional highway spending (on the heels of last year’s $286 billion highway bill), $1.1 billion for the fisheries industry, $2.3 billion to combat avian flu (on the heels of $3.8 billion appropriated last December), an additional $20 million more for poorly managed AmeriCorps program, and other increases.

I really hate these kinds of earmarks, but it's not fair to pretend this is something only the Democrats do.

Andy D said...

Every political party (Republican, Democratic,and all others)tries to put pork in bills they get passed. I don't dispute that. What is unique with these bills is that the House and Senate are voting on a date to surrender in Iraq. In order to get the votes they needed for surrender, they placed pork in the bills to get Democrats that would normaly not vote for this bill, who were even on the record against it, to vote for it.

I am disapointed with the Democrats primarily for voting for surrender. I am also upset with those Democrats who wouldn't have voted for this bill, but are now voting for it becuase of the pork in the bill.

familyman said...

Quote from Anonymous -
"Let's remember this when people die at the hands of the government because they are the wrong sect of Islam.

We must finish what we've started, or we will simply replace Stalin with Hitler."

People already are dying, a hundred per day, because they are the "wrong" sect of islam.

And so far all we've started over there is the distruction of the country. Anything that gets accomplished over there will probably be in spite of us, not thanks to us.

Anonymous said...

Yes, people are already dying, and they were before we got there.

The thing to remember, these "death squads" are not made up of Americans. They are Iraqis. Why do we believe they will suddenly stop killing their own people just because we leave the country?