Balkinization  

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why the President Would Deny Our Troops the Resources They Need

Marty Lederman

The House and Senate conferees have agreed on a supplemental appropriations bill, H.R. 1591, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007. The House voted for it yesterday (largely along partisan lines), and the Senate is expected to do likewise today. [UPDATE: The Senate has also approved the bill by a largely partisan vote.]

The President has already announced that he will veto it.

Why?

Because in addition to providing much more support and funding to the troops than the President himself proposed, the bill would also establish a presumption that redeployment of troops from Iraq is to begin by this July, if the Iraqis are not meeting the President's benchmarks, and if the President is unable to make the case to delay the beginning of redeployment to a later date.

Let's recap: In budget request after budget request over the past few years, the President has failed to ask Congress for resources sufficient to fund the Iraq War. (This has presumably been intentional; it allows the President to avoid publicly acknowledging the true cost of the war.) Therefore, it has been necessary for Congress repeatedly to enact supplemental appropriations bills to fund the war -- seven in total.

Congress is on the verge of passing the latest supplemental appropriations bill, which would provide $124.2 billion, primarily for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for improving the health care for returning soldiers and veterans, for continued Hurricane Katrina recovery for the Gulf Coast, to fill major gaps in homeland security, and to provide emergency drought relief for farmers.

The bill would give the armed forces, and returning veterans, more than what the President requested. Among other things, the bill would include a billion-dollar increase for the National Guard and Reserve equipment and $1.1 billion for military housing; $3 billion ($1.2 billion more than the President’s request) for the purchase of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (which can withstand roadside bombs); more than $5 billion to ensure that returning troops and veterans receive the health care that they have earned with their service; and $6.9 billion for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.

What's not to like?

Well, the bill would also require the Executive branch to begin (though not to complete) a redeployment of troops from Iraq -- and the President has concluded that such a directive warrants his veto, notwithstanding the bill's generous funding of the troops, veterans and flood victims.

As usual, the nation's media have written countless stories about the public debate on this bill without providing ready access to the actual statutory language at the heart of the dispute. So, for the convenience of the handful of readers who actually care about such things as what a proposed statute would actually do, we provide the relevant statutory language below.

Sections 1901 through 1903 would ensure adequate rest between tours of duty of both active duty and Guard and Reserve forces, while also requiring that their service in Iraq not be extended beyond a year for any tour of duty. But those requirements would be subject to Presidential waiver, and so they are not the source of the President's principal objections.

The crux of the dispute is section 1904, particularly subsections (a)-(e), which would provide as follows:

SEC.1904. (a) The President shall make and transmit to Congress the following determinations, along with reports in classified and unclassified form detailing the basis for each determination, on or before July 1, 2007:

(1) whether the Government of Iraq has given United States Armed Forces and Iraqi Security Forces the authority to pursue all extremists, including Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias, and is making substantial progress in delivering necessary Iraqi Security Forces for Baghdad and protecting such Forces from political interference; intensifying efforts to build balanced security forces throughout Iraq that provide even-handed security for all Iraqis; ensuring that Iraq’s political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the Iraqi Security Forces; eliminating militia control of local security; establishing a strong militia disarmament program; ensuring fair and just enforcement of laws; establishing political, media, economic, and service committees in support of the Baghdad Security Plan; and eradicating safe havens;

(2) whether the Government of Iraq is making substantial progress in meeting its commitment to pursue reconciliation initiatives, including enactment of a hydro-carbon law; adoption of legislation necessary for the conduct of provincial and local elections; reform of current laws governing the de-Baathification process; amendment of the Constitution of Iraq; and allocation of Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects;

(3) whether the Government of Iraq and United States Armed Forces are making substantial progress in reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq; and

(4) whether the Government of Iraq is ensuring the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi Parliament are protected.

(b) If the President fails to make any of the determinations specified in subsection (a), the Secretary of Defense shall commence the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq no later than July 1, 2007, with a goal of completing such redeployment within 180 days.

(c) If the President makes the determinations specified in subsection (a), the Secretary of Defense shall commence the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq not later than October 1, 2007, with a goal of completing such redeployment within 180 days.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds appropriated or otherwise made
available in this or any other Act are immediately available for obligation and expenditure to plan and execute a safe and orderly redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq, as specified in subsections (b) and (c).

(e) After the conclusion of the redeployment specified in subsections (b) and (c), the Secretary of Defense may not deploy or maintain members of the Armed Forces in Iraq for any purpose other than the following:

(1) Protecting American diplomatic facilities and American citizens, including members of the U.S. armed forces;

(2) Serving in roles consistent with customary diplomatic positions;

(3) Engaging in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach; and

(4) Training and equipping members of the Iraqi Security Forces.
Thus, President Bush would be required to certify whether the Iraqi government is meeting the diplomatic and security benchmarks that he himself has prominently insisted upon. If he certifies that all the benchmarks are being met, the Secretary must begin to redeploy the troops from Iraq no later than October 1st of this year; and if -- as is more likely the case -- the President does not certify that each of the benchmarks is being been met, then the Secretary must begin to redeploy the troops no later than July 1st.

But in either case, there is no directive about how the troops shall be redployed, the rate at which they shall be redeployed, or by when the troops must be completely redeployed. The statute would only require that the Secretary of Defense have the "goal" of completing redeployment within 180 days after it begins, which is most likely by December 28th. And the bill specifically provides that there is no funding limit at all for the contemplated "safe and orderly" redeployment: "[F]unds appropriated or otherwise made available in this or any other Act are immediately available for obligation and expenditure to plan and execute a safe and orderly redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq, as specified in subsections (b) and (c)."

If and only when the Secretary actually concludes the redeployment -- which, again, is not statutorily mandated -- the bill would also limit any subsequent use of the Armed Forces in Iraq to four identified functions:

(i) Protecting American diplomatic facilities and American citizens, including members of the U.S. armed forces;

(ii) Serving in roles consistent with customary diplomatic positions;

(iii) Engaging in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach; and

(iv) Training and equipping members of the Iraqi Security Forces.
Another way of putting it is that the redeployment described in the bill would not in the first instance necessarily include redeployment of troops performing these four functions.

The President has identified three reasons for vetoing the bill. At least one of them is a makeweight: that the bill "includes huge amounts of domestic spending that has no place in an emergency war funding bill," and "[w]e should debate those provisions on their own merits, during the normal process." Presumably -- one hopes -- the President would not deny the troops the necessary funding simply because the bill includes some domesitc funding as well. (Note that even on the President's view, the bill "does remove some of the most egregious pork barrel projects that Democratic leaders had inserted in earlier bills.")

The President also complains that:

[T]he Democratic leadership's proposal is aimed at restricting the ability of our generals to direct the fight in Iraq. They've imposed legislative mandates, they passed legislative mandates telling them which enemies they can engage and which they cannot. That means our commanders in the middle of a combat zone would have to take fighting directions from legislators 6,000 miles away on Capitol Hill. The result would be a marked advantage for our enemies and a greater danger for our troops.
Presumably here the President is referring to subsection 1904(e), which would limit the functions of U.S. forces in Iraq to the four specified functions if and when the Secretary actually completes the redeployment. And one of those permitted residual functions would be to "engag[e] in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach" -- hardly an unreasonable limitation after redeployment has been completed, and a far cry from "tak[ing] fighting directions from legislators 6,000 miles away on Capitol Hill."

Thus, it's hard to take this objection seriously, either.

Which leaves the principal objection, the one that is presumably the real source of the veto:
[The bill] would mandate the withdrawal of American troops beginning as early as July 1st of this year, and no later than October 1st of this year, despite the fact that General Petraeus has not yet received all the reinforcements he needs. It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you start to plan withdrawing. If we were to do so, the enemy would simply mark their calendars and begin plotting how to take over a country when we leave. . . . Precipitous withdrawal from Iraq is not a plan to bring peace to the region or to make our people safer at home. Instead, it would embolden our enemies and confirm their belief that America is weak. It could unleash chaos in Iraq that could spread across the entire region. It would be an invitation to the enemy to attack America and our friends around the world. And, ultimately, a precipitous withdrawal would increase the probability that American troops would one day have to return to Iraq and confront an enemy that's even more dangerous.
Note again that the President raises these objections even though the bill would not direct how or at what rate the troops would be redployed, nor the final date by which they must be completely redeployed. Moreover, the deadline for commencing redeployment is not, of course, carved in stone: If July 1st is fast approaching and the President can convince the American public that there is a serious national security need to postpone the beginning of the redeployment, Congress could enact a further statute delaying the modest mandate.

In other words, and just so we're clear: The President will veto this bill -- which provides the troops, and returning veterans, with much greater funding and support than the President himself proposed -- simply because the bill would also, quite modestly, establish a presumption that redeployment is to begin by this July, if the Iraqis are not meeting the President's benchmarks, and if the President is unable to make the case to delay the beginning of redeployment to a later date.

And yet the President accuses the Democratic leaders of "[choosing] to further delay funding our troops." Nothing could be further from the truth.

* * * *

The Key Compromise Language in H.R. 1591:
SEC. 1901. (a) Congress finds that it is Defense Department policy that units should not be deployed for combat unless they are rated "fully mission capable".

(b) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this or any other Act may be used to deploy any unit of the Armed Forces to Iraq unless the chief of the military department concerned has certified in writing to the Committees on Appropriations and the Committees on Armed Services at least 15 days in advance of the deployment that the unit is fully mission capable.

(c) For purposes of subsection (b), the term "fully mission capable" means capable of performing assigned mission essential tasks to prescribed standards under the conditions expected in the theater of operations, consistent with the guidelines set forth in the Department of Defense readiness reporting system.

(d) The President, by certifying in writing to the Committees on Appropriations and the Committees on Armed Services that the deployment to Iraq of a unit that is not assessed fully mission capable is required for reasons of national security and by submitting along with the certification a report in classified and unclassified form detailing the particular reason or reasons why the unit’s deployment is necessary despite the chief of the military department’s assessment that the unit is not fully mission capable, may waive the limitation prescribed in subsection (b) on a unit-by-unit basis.


SEC. 1902. (a) Congress finds that it is Defense Department policy that Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard units should not be deployed for combat beyond 365 days or that Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve units should not be deployed for combat beyond 210 days.

(b) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this or any other Act may be obligated or expended to initiate the development of, continue the development of, or execute any order that has the effect of extending the deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom of—

(1) any unit of the Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard beyond 365 days; or

(2) any unit of the Marine Corps or Marine Corps Reserve beyond 210 days.

(c) The limitation prescribed in subsection (b) shall not be construed to require force levels in Iraq to be decreased below the total United States force levels in Iraq prior to January 10, 2007.

(d) The President, by certifying in writing to the Committees on Appropriations and the Committees on Armed Services that the extension of a unit’s deployment in Iraq beyond the periods specified in subsection (b) is required for reasons of national security and by submitting along with the certification a report in classified and unclassified form detailing the particular reason or reasons why the unit’s extended deployment is necessary, may waive the limitations prescribed in subsection (b) on a unit-by-unit basis.


SEC. 1903. (a) Congress finds that it is Defense Department policy that Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard units should not be redeployed for combat if the unit has been deployed within the previous 365 consecutive days or that Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve units should not be redeployed for combat if the unit has been deployed within the previous 210 days.

(b) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this or any other Act may be obligated or expended to initiate the development of, continue the development of, or execute any order that has the effect of deploying for Operation Iraqi Freedom of—

(1) any unit of the Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard if such unit has been deployed within the previous 365 consecutive days; or

(2) any unit of the Marine Corps or Marine Corps Reserve if such unit has been deployed within the previous 210 consecutive days.

(c) The limitation prescribed in subsection (b) shall not be construed to require force levels in Iraq to be decreased below the total United States force levels in Iraq prior to January 10, 2007.

(d) The President, by certifying in writing to the Committees on Appropriations and the Committees on Armed Services that the redeployment of a unit to Iraq in advance of the periods specified in subsection (b) is required for reasons of national security and by submitting along with the certification a report in classified and unclassified form detailing the particular reason or reasons why the unit’s redeployment is necessary, may waive the limitations prescribed in subsection (b) on a unit-by-unit basis.

SEC.1904. (a) The President shall make and transmit to Congress the following determinations, along with reports in classified and unclassified form detailing the basis for each determination, on or before July 1, 2007:

(1) whether the Government of Iraq has given United States Armed Forces and Iraqi Security Forces the authority to pursue all extremists, including Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias, and is making substantial progress in delivering necessary Iraqi Security Forces for Baghdad and protecting such Forces from political interference; intensifying efforts to build balanced security forces throughout Iraq that provide even-handed security for all Iraqis; ensuring that Iraq’s political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the Iraqi Security Forces; eliminating militia control of local security; establishing a strong militia disarmament program; ensuring fair and just enforcement of laws; establishing political, media, economic, and service committees in support of the Baghdad Security Plan; and eradicating safe havens;

(2) whether the Government of Iraq is making substantial progress in meeting its commitment to pursue reconciliation initiatives, including enactment of a hydro-carbon law; adoption of legislation necessary for the conduct of provincial and local elections; reform of current laws governing the de-Baathification process; amendment of the Constitution of Iraq; and allocation of Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects;

(3) whether the Government of Iraq and United States Armed Forces are making substantial progress in reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq; and

(4) whether the Government of Iraq is ensuring the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi Parliament are protected.

(b) If the President fails to make any of the determinations specified in subsection (a), the Secretary of Defense shall commence the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq no later than July 1, 2007, with a goal of completing such redeployment within 180 days.

(c) If the President makes the determinations specified in subsection (a), the Secretary of Defense shall commence the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq not later than October 1, 2007, with a goal of completing such redeployment within 180 days.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds appropriated or otherwise made
available in this or any other Act are immediately available for obligation and expenditure to plan and execute a safe and orderly redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq, as specified in subsections (b) and (c).

(e) After the conclusion of the redeployment specified in subsections (b) and (c), the Secretary of Defense may not deploy or maintain members of the Armed Forces in Iraq for any purpose other than the following:

(1) Protecting American diplomatic facilities and American citizens, including members of the U.S. armed forces;

(2) Serving in roles consistent with customary diplomatic positions;

(3) Engaging in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach; and

(4) Training and equipping members of the Iraqi Security Forces.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 50 percent of the funds appropriated by title I of this Act for assistance to Iraq under each of the headings "Economic Support Fund" and "International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement" shall be withheld from obligation until the President has made a certification to Congress that the Government of Iraq has enacted a broadly accepted hydro-carbon law that equitably shares oil revenues among all Iraqis; adopted legislation necessary for the conduct of provincial and local elections, taken steps to implement such legislation, and set a schedule to conduct provincial and local elections; reformed current laws governing the de-Baathification process to allow for more equitable treatment of individuals affected by such laws; amended the Constitution of Iraq consistent with the principles contained in Article 137 of such constitution; and allocated and begun expenditure of $10,000,000,000 in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects, including delivery of essential services, on an equitable basis.

(g) The requirement to withhold funds from obligation pursuant to subsection (f) shall not apply with respect to funds made available under the heading "Economic Support Fund" for continued support for the Community Action Program and Community Stabilization Program in Iraq administered by the United States Agency for International Development or for programs and activities to promote democracy in Iraq.

(h) Beginning on September 1, 2007, and every 60 days thereafter, the Commander, Multi-National Forces—Iraq and the United States Ambassador to Iraq shall jointly submit to Congress a report describing and assessing in detail the current progress being made by the Government of Iraq regarding the criteria set forth in subsection
(a).

Comments:

Yes, but does the legislature actually have the power to direct these troop redeployments, limited and contingent as they are?

Isn't congress with this bill effectively sending the money, with strings they lack any constitution basis to pull?
 

Nona Nym,

Even President Bush acknowledges that Congress is acting within its constitutional authority. He simply disagrees with the policy articulated in the bill.
 

The Constitution is a design for legislative supremacy, it gives Congress all the tools they need to dominate a President, if they're willing to use them. Congress has the power, denied the President, to declare war. They authorized the war in Iraq, they can unauthorize it. And in the same bill, declare that continuing to fight an unauthorized war is a "high crime".

They won't, because if there's one thing both sides of the aisle agree on, it's the importance of making sure that Congress isn't blamed if Iraq falls into bloody civil war, and loses it's democratic government, after we leave. And so they're trying to pressure the President into making the decision, instead of making it themselves.
 

brett,

"...if Iraq falls into bloody civil war, and loses it's democratic government..."? Too late, man. Way too late

ness
 

"Why the President Would Deny Our Troops the Resources They Need"

Ah, the resources they need to to what?

The purpose of war funding is to provide the resources to fight the war. This bill would set a date certain (actually multiple dates) for retreat from and the surrender of Iraq to the enemy.

This is the equivalent of Congress in 1944 "fully funding" the WWII, but requiring the troops to be out of France in 6 months.

In other words, it is a bald faced lie to call this legislation a war funding bill. In effect, it is a bill to fund a retreat from and surrender of Iraq to the enemy.

The President also complains that:

[T]he Democratic leadership's proposal is aimed at restricting the ability of our generals to direct the fight in Iraq. They've imposed legislative mandates, they passed legislative mandates telling them which enemies they can engage and which they cannot. That means our commanders in the middle of a combat zone would have to take fighting directions from legislators 6,000 miles away on Capitol Hill. The result would be a marked advantage for our enemies and a greater danger for our troops.

Presumably here the President is referring to subsection 1904(e), which would limit the functions of U.S. forces in Iraq to the four specified functions if and when the Secretary actually completes the redeployment. And one of those permitted residual functions would be to "engag[e] in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach" -- hardly an unreasonable limitation after redeployment has been completed, and a far cry from "tak[ing] fighting directions from legislators 6,000 miles away on Capitol Hill."

Thus, it's hard to take this objection seriously, either.


Do you have any idea what is involved in a counter terror campaign?

Counter terrorism is not simply sending in Rambo to surgically take out a terrorist leader and then quickly bugging out again so we can turn the channel and watch American Idol. We tried that during the last Administration and almost 4000 Americans were murdered between 1993 and 9/11.

Rather, counter terrorism is about denying the enemy bases of operation and sources of new recruits. The military has had great success over the past year allying with Iraqi Sunni by extending US control into formerly al Qaeda dominated areas in Anbar
province and now Diyala province.

If Mr. Bush was inept enough to actually follow the inane restrictions in this bill, all of these gains would be reversed and Congress would give al Qaeda a decisive victory in Iraq which it could not win on its own against our military.

The Key Compromise Language in H.R. 1591:
SEC. 1901. (a) Congress finds that it is Defense Department policy that units should not be deployed for combat unless they are rated "fully mission capable".

(b) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this or any other Act may be used to deploy any unit of the Armed Forces to Iraq unless the chief of the military department concerned has certified in writing to the Committees on Appropriations and the Committees on Armed Services at least 15 days in advance of the deployment that the unit is fully mission capable...


Ah, the Murtha plan for surrender rears its head again.

Units in wartime never meet peacetime manning and training standards because they spend their time at the front actually fighting the war and take casualties in doing so.

To use the WWII analogy again, if Congress in 1944 passed these requirements, the US Army would have had to withdraw from Europe 6 months short of winning the war and have surrendered Europe to the Nazis by default.

This bill is nothing short of a betrayal of our military while on the field of battle and a clear provision of aid and comfort to the enemy.
 

jao: Even President Bush acknowledges that Congress is acting within its constitutional authority. He simply disagrees with the policy articulated in the bill.

Show me a quote.

I very much doubt that Bush has anywhere conceded that Congress, short of declaring the war 'unauthorized,' ending its funding, and revoking the previously-passed authorizations, has the power to direct any of the redeployments or require any of the benchmarks contained in this bill.

Bush's (apparent) plan to veto the bill hardly constitutes such a concession. I have heard the President say that he hates pork in the bill. I have heard him say that the idea of stating a date for withdrawal is a bad idea (which is not the same thing as agreeing that he thinks Congress has the power to enforce a withdrawal.)

Seriously, show me where the Executive has agreed that the Legislature has the power to enforce the proscriptions on his commander-in-chief powers that this bill seems to contain.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

The purpose of war funding is to provide the resources to fight the war. This bill would set a date certain (actually multiple dates) for retreat from and the surrender of Iraq to the enemy.

The enemy being the (U.S.-installed) gummint of Iraq?

This is the equivalent of Congress in 1944 "fully funding" the WWII, but requiring the troops to be out of France in 6 months.

No. More like this (and similar antics of the other Republicans at the time [as they did in Somalia as well, I'd note]).


...

Rather, counter terrorism is about denying the enemy bases of operation and sources of new recruits. The military has had great success over the past year allying with Iraqi Sunni by extending US control into formerly al Qaeda dominated areas in Anbar
province and now Diyala province.


"Bart" ignores the fact that there was no "al Qaeda in Iraq" prior to the horrifically stoopid Dubya invasion of Iraq. And pretends that the problems in Iraq are due to foreign influence. When Petraeus was asked how many foreigners were in Iraq in his presser, he said "a couple dozen [at any time]".

Both the Shia and the Sunni want the U.S. to leave. As does the majority of the American people.

If Mr. Bush was inept enough to actually follow the inane restrictions in this bill, all of these gains would be reversed and Congress would give al Qaeda a decisive victory in Iraq which it could not win on its own against our military.

al Qaeda won't "win" in Iraq. We may not like the folks that "win" all that much, but it would be native Iraqis. If that's not what Dubya wanted, he should have stayed the f*ck out....

Cheers,
 

Me: Even President Bush acknowledges that Congress is acting within its constitutional authority. He simply disagrees with the policy articulated in the bill.

Nona Nym: Show me a quote.

No problem. Bush addressed that point specifically in a press conference on this very subject April 3:

Q: When Congress has linked war funding with a timetable you have argued micromanagement. When they've linked it to unrelated spending, you've argued pork barrel. But now there's talk from Harry Reid and others that if you veto this bill, they may come back and just simply cut off funding. Wouldn't that be a legitimate exercise of a congressional authority, which is the power of the purse?

THE PRESIDENT: The Congress is exercising its legitimate authority as it sees fit right now. I just disagree with their decisions. I think setting an artificial timetable for withdrawal is a significant mistake. It is a -- it sends mixed signals and bad signals to the region, and to the Iraqi citizens.


And a few weeks earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported this after an on-the-record meeting of its editorial board with Bush:

The President was also notably accommodative in conceding Congress's power of the purse to influence war decisions, even such things as where troops can be deployed. "I think they have the authority to defund, use their funding power," he said, even to influence "total deployments in Iraq."

What is truly hilarious is that even in the face of such a position actually articulated by the President (not to mention the clear constitutional merits of congressional power, and ample precedent in Vietnam, Somalia, etc. Browse this blog for details), persons such as you continue to repeat the fairy-tale meme that Congress lacks authority to legislate in this field.
 

since there are referance to WWII, remember that we were attack and had war declared on us, and guess what, the whole country was involved in this struggle, not so now.
 

Bart De Palma says:

"Counter terrorism is not simply sending in Rambo to surgically take out a terrorist leader and then quickly bugging out again so we can turn the channel and watch American Idol. We tried that during the last Administration and almost 4000 Americans were murdered between 1993 and 9/11."

IIRC, 9/11 occurred during the current administration, about 9 months after they took over the office. It also sounds like you are including incidents like the USS Cole et al. So to correct your numbers, the previous administration lost around 1100 american lives with their strategy, while the current one has lost over 6000 (included servicemen and contractors in Iraq).
 

FG: So to correct your numbers, the previous administration lost around 1100 american lives with their strategy, while the current one has lost over 6000 (included servicemen and contractors in Iraq).

Yes, but you fail to consider all of the things that we've gained through the invasion of Iraq. Think about the unshakable stability of the Iraqi nation, the security of the oil supply, and the scarcity of terrorist attacks involving airplanes in NYC.
 

Bart:

"This bill would set a date certain (actually multiple dates) for retreat from and the surrender of Iraq to the enemy."

Bart, coming from someone who seems to care a lot about the various legal categories that governmental actions during wartime fit into, this is an outrageous lie. You KNOW what a "surrender" is. A surrender is where troops lay down their arms and submit to capture.

So why do you mendaciously lie and use the term "surrender" for what is clearly a withdrawal, not a surrender?

Does all your vaunted concern for the laws of war go out the window when you can try to score a cheap political point against Democrats?
 

PMS Chicago:

You're right. I also forgot the strenghtening of our civil rights, our position of leadership in the free world, and the financial security of our economy.
 

Also, can we stop the insinuations of treason? "Aid and comfort to the enemy" is a phrase taken out of context-- it actually is adhering to the enemies, giving them aid and comfort, and it refers to people who explicitly take the side of the US' enemy during a war and aid the prosecution of a war against this country.

Again, for all Bart's concern about the laws of war, he shows total disregard for the actual law of treason when it gets in the way of smearing the Democrats.

The Democrats are not giving aid and comfort to this country's enemies (assuming we actually know who our enemies are and who our friends are in Iraq-- they seem to change every few months). The Democrats love their country and are trying to get it out of a war that they think is a really bad idea. You have the right to think it is a good idea-- but insinuating that the Democrats are favoring terrorists in a war is despicable and shows you to be a contemptible human being. You should apologize for saying such a thing, and figure out a way to make your points without implying that those who disagree with you are traitors.
 

I know we took some terrorists attacks during the Clinton Administration, but do not recall anything close to 1100 killed. When did that happen?
 

EL,

You'd have to ask Bart--I just took his number and subtracted 9/11, because it was well into the new admin. If he would like to support his numbers, that is up to him.
 

jao your quotes really don't do it.

if you veto this bill, they may come back and just simply cut off funding. Wouldn't that be a legitimate exercise of a congressional authority, which is the power of the purse?

But THIS BILL doesn't defund.

I think they have the authority to defund, use their funding power

But THIS BILL doesn't defund.
 

Dilan:

Also, can we stop the insinuations of treason? "Aid and comfort to the enemy" is a phrase taken out of context-- it actually is adhering to the enemies, giving them aid and comfort, and it refers to people who explicitly take the side of the US' enemy during a war and aid the prosecution of a war against this country.

Indeed. If "giving aid and comfort" is all treason is, then apple pie is guilty of treason.

Cheers,
 

Bart,

Pick a story. I've seen you claim repeatedly that we have delivered a comprehensive defeat to Al Qaeda during our time in Iraq. How is it then, that if, big if, this bill leads to redeployment, it would be a surrender?
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Nona Nym,

Your cherry-picking really doesn't do it. You pieced together fragments of two different questions and answers. The prospect that "they may come back and just simply cut off funding" referred to a possible future vote on a different bill.

Read the whole quotes in context. The bill Bush was talking about at that press conference -- which is essentially the bill before Congress today -- is the legislation about which he said, "The Congress is exercising its legitimate authority as it sees fit right now. I just disagree with their decisions."

And in the WSJ interview, Bush was not only talking about total defunding but also about deployments and troop ceilings.

Now, it's your turn to provide a quote where Bush explicitly asserts that Congress is exceeding its constitutional authority in this bill -- not just that he disagrees with the policy or asserts that Congress ought to defer as a political matter.

I know that is your position, and you would like the President to make it his own. But show me where George W. Bush actually takes that position about this bill.

So far, he has not done so. In fact, he has said he will veto it but has acknowledged congressional authority.
 

p.s. The White House issued an official statement after the House passed the supplemental appropriations bill, in which the President said he will veto it and why.

There was nary a hint that he asserts it is unconstitutional.
 

Fraud Guy said...

Bart De Palma says: "Counter terrorism is not simply sending in Rambo to surgically take out a terrorist leader and then quickly bugging out again so we can turn the channel and watch American Idol. We tried that during the last Administration and almost 4000 Americans were murdered between 1993 and 9/11."

IIRC, 9/11 occurred during the current administration, about 9 months after they took over the office.


That is true. The new Administration's foreign policy team just took over and had no opportunity to put anything in place. That being said, it does not appear that they took the threat any more seriously than the prior Administration until 9/11.

The question now is whether the Dems still take the threat seriously. This bill does not indicate that they do.

It also sounds like you are including incidents like the USS Cole et al. So to correct your numbers, the previous administration lost around 1100 american lives with their strategy, while the current one has lost over 6000 (included servicemen and contractors in Iraq).

Between 1993 and 9/11, al Qaeda and its allies murdered roughly 4000 of our people in our country and overseas. I am counting anyone of any nationality killed in our country by the enemy as our responsibility. During that time, we killed or captured a handful of the enemy.

Since 9/11, we have killed about 50,000 of the enemy and lost about 3,000 KIA. al Qaeda admitted to losing 4,000 in Iraq alone, which is probably low.

I prefer the latter ratio to the former.

As Mayor Guiliani correctly observes on the campaign trail, this is the difference between being on defense and offense.
 

Dilan said...

Bart: "This bill would set a date certain (actually multiple dates) for retreat from and the surrender of Iraq to the enemy."

[T]his is an outrageous lie. You KNOW what a "surrender" is. A surrender is where troops lay down their arms and submit to capture. So why do you mendaciously lie and use the term "surrender" for what is clearly a withdrawal, not a surrender?


No, "surrender" is the most accurate term I can think of.

"Defeat" would be generally correct, but implies that the enemy defeated our military, which is not the case. This is a partisan political result.

Surrender is the only term of which I can think which correctly states that the defeat intended by the Dems is self inflicted.

One can surrender territory as well as armed forces. The Dems are proposing the former.
 

Dilan:

Also, can we stop the insinuations of treason? "Aid and comfort to the enemy" is a phrase taken out of context-- it actually is adhering to the enemies, giving them aid and comfort, and it refers to people who explicitly take the side of the US' enemy during a war and aid the prosecution of a war against this country.

Providing aid and comfort to the enemy is only one element of treason. I am not accusing the Democrats of treason, I am accusing them of providing aid and comfort to the enemy.

Without proof to the contrary, I have to assume that the Dems are surrendering Iraq to the enemy because they are either cluless or they simply do not care about the results of their policies.
 

Mike said...

Bart, Pick a story. I've seen you claim repeatedly that we have delivered a comprehensive defeat to Al Qaeda during our time in Iraq. How is it then, that if, big if, this bill leads to redeployment, it would be a surrender?

No, I have repeatedly argued with support that we are winning in Iraq. I and the articles to which I have cited have not said the war is over. I am not as clueless as the Dems who claims that this is a "civil war" between Iraqis.
 

Bart, would you care to tell me where you get the 1,000 figure for Americans killed in terrorist attacks apart from 9/11. Because I don't remember anything close to that many.
 

Bart,

You are still including 9/11 in the totals for the Clinton administration, which would be the baseball equivalent of blaming today's loss on yesterday's pitcher. I can understand that you don't want your team to take the blame, but I believe that you are committing intellectual fraud by continuing to skew the numbers this way. You claim all of 1993 for Clinton, but exclude most of 2001 from Bush.

Also, as Enlightened Layperson pointed out, you have not provided other provenance for your numbers (I won't dignify them with the term statistics until you have your sources out).

You also claim that we have killed 50,000 of the "enemy" since 9/11. Does that include the Iraqi army--sitting ducks for an unneccesary war? Are you forgetting the 500K+ civilians who have died in Iraq due to direct and indirect effects of our invasion (statistically shown in the Lancet article)? That would increase your kill/kill ratio significantly.

And you keep repeating the mantra that leaving Iraq is surrendering. There are so many ways that this statement is in error, especially as you claim the same thing happened in Vietnam (on several previous threads). I know you believe that once we left there, the Vietcong and their Communist enablers were able to go on and overthrow our allies in SE Asia and the Pacific, and took the war back to the US--oops, sorry that's what you think will happen if we leave Iraq just like we left Vietnam. Your historical precedent does not correlate or impress.

We surrender territory--that is not ours. We surrender oil rights--that are not ours. We surrender prestige--that we already lost due to our sham reasons for the war. We will spend trillions of dollars for an unneccesary war and waste hundreds of thousands of lives.

The Decider has already said that what congress is doing is not unconstitutional, but that they had better not "test [his] will". Damn, I thought people stopped talking like that in grade school. The administration's rationalizations are dishonest (like the extension of tours of duty that were announced before it was announced that they would be necessary because Bush would veto the funding bill that had not yet been passed), have been shown to be such on numerous occasions, and yet you still keep trying to come up with sophistic rationalizations of your own to explain the discrepancies, or just ignore them.

If you my counsel in a DUI case, I would be grateful for your tenacity in the face of facts, but in the political realm, you keep crippling your case.
 

Sorry--if you "were" my counsel.
 

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