Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 7, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CONFIDENCE MAN....Mr. Straight Talk on the surge:

John McCain just told Harry Reid and Dick Durbin that it's impossible to support the troops unless you support the mission. "A vote of no confidence is a vote of no confidence in the men and women who are serving in the military."

So I guess this means Congress can never try to wind down any military conflict. Because that would demonstrate a lack of confidence in our troops.

Unless they happen to be in Somalia, of course.

UPDATE: Or in Vietnam! Or Beirut!

Kevin Drum 3:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (100)

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Comments

And the mission includes torture. So where does Sen. McCain stand on that?

Posted by: ac on February 7, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Lying now or lying then?

Posted by: Tigershark on February 7, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is truly a man of principle.

Anything Bush does must be supported, or you HATE THE TROOPS!

Gotta hand it to them, that was a brilliant scam they came up with for Gulf War I.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on February 7, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

A tired old man disintegrating with every public utterance on the Iraq war.

One by one all the supporters of Bush seem to be walking towards the same fate.

Posted by: gregor on February 7, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Straight Talking Maverick is an idiot, just like most of our leaders. We are all doomed.

Posted by: The Optimist on February 7, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

He was right the first time.

Posted by: keptsimple on February 7, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

For so long as our volunteer (professional?) army will only fight if it's cheered on by little men with American flag pins stuck in their lapels, McCain's right.

Support the Troops? One more cowardly Democratic avoidance of responsibility.

Posted by: Ellen1910 on February 7, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Bush was right about somthing,Mcain may just be a little waco from his days in Nam.

Posted by: john john on February 7, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

And what does this tell you about a man, When this is about the lack of Confidence in Bush and Cheney,To take that and turn it against the troops.Just like they did to Kerry's joke.These are the most disgusting people in the world.HOW DO YOU SUPPORT THE TROOPS, TROLLS.

Posted by: john john on February 7, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

I support the troops,Ijust bought 6 yellow stickers to put on my SUV. $7.99 what a deal!

Posted by: Mr. RIGHTwing on February 7, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

I support the troops,Ijust bought 6 yellow stickers to put on my SUV. $7.99 what a deal!

That's because they are made in China.

Real Americans don't buy Chinese.
Real Americans buy Halliburton stock.

Just ask Cheney, McVain, and Liarman.

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on February 7, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain just told Harry Reid and Dick Durbin that it's impossible to support the troops unless you support the mission.

Support the mission, even when it can't be accomplished? Even when the policies of the administration that created the mission continue to get our troops killed, needlessly, on a daily basis? Yeah, that's supporting the troops. Not.

It's too late. The American people see through the GOP's desperate and coawardly attempt to shield the political leadership -- many of whom, of course, conspicuously declined to serve when their number was up -- from accountability by hiding behind the honor of the troops.

The American people are sick of sacrificing American blood and treasure on the altar of Bush's political ambitions. Let McCain yammer all he likes -- all he's doing is standing next to Bush on the bridge of his foundering Presidency, which is bound to take the myth of Republican competence at natinal defense down along with it.

Posted by: Gregory on February 7, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Buy a hundred yellow stickers, and give 'em to the troops to put on the sides of their Hummers. Not as good as armor, but they will feel supported!

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

That's odd - if we had "supported the mission" in Viet Nam and stayed there until we won, John McCain would have died in a POW camp. I wonder, if, when he was help prisoner in Hanoi, the young John McCain was hoping we'd stay there another 5,10,15 years to finish the job, or whether he was just relieved to come home when he did.

Posted by: Jersey Tomato on February 7, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder where Bush will poll this week 25%. Some real hardcore deadenders out there.OT I wish Fritz would hurry up and nail cheney already.

Posted by: john john on February 7, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Who's going to go down on the record as supporting the surge, which will have proven to be a complete failure by the next election?

Stall, and throw feces is their only recourse.

Posted by: Absent Observer on February 7, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

You know, it's interesting that I have no problem seeing the difference between the troops in the field and the politicians back home who sent them there. Why does McCain think our troops are too stupid to understand this distinction?

Posted by: PaulB on February 7, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

"it's impossible to support the troops unless you support the mission."

By a curious coincidence, these are Gen. Custer's last reported words at Little Big Horn . . .

Posted by: rea on February 7, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

mccain: "A vote of no confidence is a vote of no confidence in the men and women who are serving in the military."


but that's only for republican president's..

right?

"You can support the troops and not the president." - Tom DeLay (R-TX) 1999

Posted by: mr. irony on February 7, 2007 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Mr.irony. I wonder if there is a video of that somwhere ?

Posted by: john john on February 7, 2007 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Absent Observer:

Who's going to go down on the record as supporting the surge, which will have proven to be a complete failure by the next election?

Do you really think it will take that long?

Not me.

Bush's appears to be surging towards failure with ever increasing alacrity.

It is the one thing he is good at.
And... he is improving with age.

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on February 7, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. John McCain: "A vote of no confidence is a vote of no confidence in the men and women who are serving in the military."

Anyone -- be they the president, vice president or any of their political allies herein -- who rhetorically hides behind our own troops in this cowardly manner, is not clearly worthy of debating.

The plain and simple fact is that people like Bush, McCain, and Lieberman are clearly not interested in having this particular debate. They are far more interested in reaping short-term political capital from their base by continuing to demagogue the issue.

Clearly, the larger debate concerning the current direction our country needs to be carried beyond the confines of the Beltway into our communities. That's where this argument will ultimately be won or lost.

The last request Molly Ivins made to each of her readers was to do something, anything today to advance the cause of peace and stop this war.

It's not enough to continue being a passive observer of politics who doesn't have time to communicate with elected officials, but is somehow almost never shy of expressing his or her personal opinion to their own friends and family.

Most posters here understand the gravity of the situation, but we must also understand that if we want this insanity to stop, we now have to be personally pro-active. As someone who worked for years in both Congress and state legislatures, I can assure you that your elected representatives will now be paying particularly close attention to how their own constituents feel about our continued involvement in Iraq.

Please, when you log off this blog this afternoon or eveing, take the time to call your respective congressional representatives and make your voice heard on this salient issue of our time. They don't need to hear any more B.S. from McCain or Bush -- they now need to hear you.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 7, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK
Who's going to go down on the record as supporting the surge, which will have proven to be a complete failure by the next election?

A lot sooner than that, especially if the insurgents keep up their newfound proficiency at swatting helicopters out of the sky. And its not reassuring that the military claims they are being shot down with smallarms rather than missiles.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, every mission is a success, just by virtue of our military being there. Therefore, McCain's torture was a sign of victory, and that whole Vietnam thing worked out really well, didn't it?

Posted by: Kenji on February 7, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

At the beginning of the war some hard core Republican friends of mine used the "you can't support the troops unless you support the mission" line on me. As time has worn on and one by one each has changed his position on the war, and each has found some way in his heart to support the troops while opposing the war.

I thought years ago the argument was both anti-democratic and a crock of shit. I still do.

I guess resort to that worn out argument demonstrates just how far McCain has fallen.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 7, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't the Democrats read all those Republican statements back to the Republicans who made them?Even the statements by Republicans who are no longer there (Thurmond, Gramm, Dole) can usefully be read back into the current record.

Bin Laden has claimed that the Mogadishu withdrawal shows that the Americans will always quit. That may add something to today's debate that wasn't known back in 1993.

Posted by: spider on February 7, 2007 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Will Republicans ever tire of hiding behind the troops?

Posted by: cld on February 7, 2007 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

So, if you want to fire the coach of a football team because his game plans suck, you are dissing the entire team, not just the coach and not just his game plans?

Riiiiiight.

Now, where were other GOP figures when Clinton was fighting against the Yugoslav genocide?

Oh, yeah, now I remember:

However, Dole held that the resolution he and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, drafted in consultation with the White House "does not endorse the president's decision . . . This resolution does support our men and women in uniform."

. . . and . . .

Now, seven months later, the House of Representatives has finally voted to cut off funding for U.S. troops serving in Bosnia. The House measure is purposely designed not to undercut the president's revised plan. The spending cutoff would not take effect until the president's own self-imposed deadline of June 1998. The Senate has just expressed its own sentiment on the Bosnia mission by passing a nonbinding resolution that calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops within one year.

. . . and . . .

And when the House ultimately passed a nonbinding resolution expressing "serious concerns and opposition" to the commitment of troops to enforce the Bosnian peace treaty, lawmakers were careful to declare their confidence that U.S. troops "will perform their responsibilities with professional excellence."

Posted by: Google_This on February 7, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

McCain, "A vote of no confidence is a vote of no confidence in the men and women who are serving in the military."


This would be true if those men and women had thought of the thing themselves and we had all agreed with them and what they were doing was actually reasonable.

But McCain is simply a fraud.

Posted by: cld on February 7, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

McCain: "A vote of no confidence is a vote of no confidence in the men and women who are serving in the military."

So, if the president told our men and women in the armed forces that he was going to send 5 of them to rescue a single American hostage from 500,000 Iranians and that they would have to do it in the daylight, with advance notice of their coming, naked and without any weapons other than one pocketknife apiece, it would be wrong to express a no-confidence opinion of the likelihood of success of such a mission and whether such a futile operation should even take place?

Riiiiight.

Posted by: Google_This on February 7, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Google, you don't need to make up examples. The whole Iraq cock-up is already illustration enough—unfortunately.

Posted by: Kenji on February 7, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

I turn here to the words of that great American and greater Republican, former Rep. Tom DeLay, who said, when speaking in 1999 of Republican efforts to undermine America's fighting men and women in Kosovo, that "You can support the troops but not the president."

Posted by: Stefan on February 7, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

The geriatric leper McCain gets more senile every day. Soon his nose will fall off in a press conference and people will finally realize how decrepit the old fuck is. Go retire at old Vets home, John.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 7, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

McCain intends to continue the Republicun Plan for Endless War if he becomes president. Endless War is a main plank of the Republicun Party Platform.

Posted by: CT on February 7, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Keven, Kevin, Kevin....have you not learned? Listen to what I say, not what I do. Every tool in the country knows that. I mean really. Is it any wonder you Democrat types can't be trusted to do anything? I'm sorry I've been told I have to go and cut a commercial that calls Rudy a pinko loving baby killer. It is due to run in South Carolina soon.
Remember. What I say. Not, what I do.
JM

Posted by: SlickJohnny on February 7, 2007 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

That's the story now? That Republicans forced Clinton out of Somalia? And this was somehow a bad thing back then? I noticed all the Democratic speeches on how leaving a war on an enemy (one that had no WMD and had never threatened the U.S. in any way) would encourage our enemies.

Would we still have been in Somalia by the end of 2000 if Clinton had had his way? How many U.S. casualties would there have been by then? What was Clinton's definition of "victory?"

Were Democrats and liberals standing up back then and saying that the only way to stop the fighting would be to get America out of there? That it was our presence encouraging the violence?

If Clinton had had his way, who would have been the last one to die for a mistake in Somalia?

Another way to look at it: The Democrats have given Bush ten times the crap on Iraq that the Republicans gave Clinton on Somalia. Both of these two presidents thought staying the course was the right decision. Only one of them backed down.

All that aside, Clinton held a national security policy review session on October 6th of 1993, about two days after the Battle of Mogadishu, and decided to bail. I wonder how much Republican politicians actually had to do with that.

You can focus only on the war powers issue, but others might look at some odd changes in attitudes here. You'd almost think it was politics, not principles.

Posted by: elmendorf on February 7, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

let me also turn to the words of the former Senate Majority Leader and current Minority Whip Trent Lott, who also explained in 1999 that "My job as majority leader is be supportive of our troops, try to have input as decisions are made and to look at those decisions after they're made ... not to march in lock step with everything the president decides to do."

Posted by: Stefan on February 7, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, elmendorf, we were already supposed to be gone from Somalia before then. We were still there because the UN could not get its act together and relieve our troops. Clinton refused to leave before the UN was in position.

Posted by: Th on February 7, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Another way to look at it: The Democrats have given Bush ten times the crap on Iraq that the Republicans gave Clinton on Somalia.

American deaths in Somalia: 43.

American deaths in Iraq War: 3,000 and counting.

Frankly, ten times the crap doesn't seem nearly enough....

Posted by: Stefan on February 7, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

I'll wake up when the Democrats schedule a vote on defunding. Until then, it is all posturing and cowardice. You guys say 67% or 77% or 87% of the public opposes the war. OK. Time for some profiles in courage.

HaHaHaHa

That'll be the day.

You are attacking the troops like you did in Vietnam because you can't stand the heat of actually trying to get your wish the old fashioned way. By trying instead of whining.

Let's see Pelosi move a vote to defund. She can do it.

Posted by: Mike K on February 7, 2007 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

I was outraged when I heard McCain say this on the floor yesterday. I immediately sent off an e-mail to him. I'm beginning to think that the major problem with Repubicans is that they are just plain stupid, incapable of logic or critical thinking.

Posted by: nepeta on February 7, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, elmendorf, we were already supposed to be gone from Somalia before then. We were still there because the UN could not get its act together and relieve our troops. Clinton refused to leave before the UN was in position.

Then it would have been quite a while. The U.N. never actually gets into position. At least not in any useful sense.

But don't let me get in the way of the Clinton Rehabilitation Squad. Maybe we can do Desert Fox next, the one where only Bill Clinton saw what a deadly threat Saddam Hussein was.

Posted by: elmendorf on February 7, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

But wasn't it nice of Bush Sr. to leave Clinton with Somalia as a little poison pill, anyway?

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton Rehabilitation Squad
What the hell are you talking about? A few books by a few right-wing tools, and suddenly Clinton needs rehabilitating?

And how much work will there be for the Bush Jr. Rehab Squad? Assuming, of course, we survive his reign which seems at times doubtful.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Mr. Straight Talk..."

Ah shouldn't that be, "Senator Gumby"?

Posted by: Keith G on February 7, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

So over 60% of the public who oppose the surge are no long supporting the troops?

What has happened to McCain? He seems to be wandering in the desert somewhere.

Posted by: kimster on February 7, 2007 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

"A vote of no confidence is a vote of no confidence in the men and women who are serving in the military."

Whoa! The sawdust is really starting to pour out of his cranial orifices, innit? He's sunk to Lieberman levels.

Posted by: BroD on February 7, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K,
Senate Republicans block debate on Iraq and you label the Dems as the cowards? Wow, up really is down in your world. By all means sleep, your brain could use the rest.

Posted by: ckelly on February 7, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

The concept of "winding down a war" is a relatively recent invention in America.

Used to be we won them.

Posted by: harry on February 7, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

wefwew

NASA Astronaut Lisa Nowak Charged With Attempted Murder in Bizarre Love Triangle

Posted by: weqeq on February 7, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

We won them when we knew how to fight them.And a leader who gave his troops clear and precise direction and define Victory.

Posted by: john john on February 7, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is just wishing Bush had kissed him instead of Lieberman.

If only Arizona had a Carl Levin - instead of empty-headed "France is Foe" McCain. Stupid, stupid, stupid man.

I'm really beginning to tyo strongly dislike McCain, he is just another Bush/Cheney by evert standard in book, cheap and nasty to the core.

Posted by: Cheryl on February 7, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

ckelly, do I need to explain Senate rules to you ? A vote for cloture, the Democrats' motion, is to CUT OFF DEBATE. The Republicans voted NO! I guess up is down and down is up to you guys. You come by it honestly because the MSM all used the same spin. It was Democrats who cut off debate.

Posted by: Mike K on February 7, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

elmendorf: I noticed all the Democratic speeches on how leaving a war on an enemy (one that had no WMD and had never threatened the U.S. in any way) would encourage our enemies.

Bullshit. There is no statement, or implication, that withdrawal from Somalia would "encourage our enemies" in your (Greenwald's) reference. Somalia was a humanitarian mission; the "enemy" were those who were killing Somalis.

Would we still have been in Somalia by the end of 2000 if Clinton had had his way? How many U.S. casualties would there have been by then? What was Clinton's definition of "victory?"

No, we would not have been "in Somalia by the end of 2000". The debate was over Congressional demands for immediate withdrawal vs. withdrawal in approximately six months--time for the UN or allies to take over--and to ensure that we didn't leave a complete vaccum.

You can focus only on the war powers issue, but others might look at some odd changes in attitudes here. You'd almost think it was politics, not principles.

This is not a "war powers" issue (WTF did that come from?), and the "odd changes in attitudes" in question are of one John McCain; if it isn't obvious, McCain is obviously more interested in "politics, not principles".

Posted by: has407 on February 7, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

The concept of "winding down a war" is a relatively recent invention in America.

Not entirely true, but to the extent it is, not coincidentally, are occupations that pretend not to be occupation.

Used to be we won them.

Well, no. It used to be we ended them with peace treaties, even where unequivocal victory was certainly missing (as in the War of 1812); of course, that's less viable in wars where the enemy is no longer a particular regime, as there is no one to make a peace treaty with.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Let's all hope that this story somehow gets into the mainstream and that the issue of bogus intelligence coming from the Pentagon's OSP is finally brought to light.

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2007/Pentagon_Inspector_General_to_release_investigation_0207.html

Posted by: jman_nyc on February 7, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK
ckelly, do I need to explain Senate rules to you ? A vote for cloture, the Democrats' motion, is to CUT OFF DEBATE.

In theory, that's true; in practice, its often (as in this case) a vote to cut off a filibuster, which is not actually debate, but in fact, the absence of debate and simply a block to doing anything—either substantive debate or action—on the particular issue.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2007 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

yeah Mike K, you incredible dumbass, the Republicans were "debating" everything but the resolution the majority wanted to debate.
That's called a filibuster. But you knew that, since you're the expert on Senate rules.

Posted by: haha on February 7, 2007 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: "It was Democrats who cut off debate."

Whatever, putz. Whenever you get tired of the view from up there, just remember to put your hands firmly at the back of your knees, and simultaneously push out from the hips while pulling your head out.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 7, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

What part of "cut off debate" do you not recognize ? Once you lose the argument, out comes the lefty vocabulary. Filibusters are debate. Did you get that ? Debate. The Democrats could participate but chose not to. My point, which you have conveniently ignored, is why don't they propse LEGISLATION to cut off funding and see if the country agrees ? As you so cleverly pointed out, they are the majority.

Hey, Donald. Were you in the U of Hawaii debating team ? Just asking. Your technique is so sophisticated. No wonder Edwards can't find a web master who can type a sentence that can make it on prime time TV.

Posted by: Mike K on February 7, 2007 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP: against filibusters before they were for them.

Mike K: You are attacking the troops like you did in Vietnam . . .

Uh, nope.

But you are lying about Vietnam, just like you've been about Iraq, and belittling the lives of our troops by being willing to sacrifice them for purely partisan reasons and using lies to justify that sacrifice.

elmendoof: The Democrats have given Bush ten times the crap on Iraq that the Republicans gave Clinton on Somalia.

Did Clinton lie about WMDs in Somalia?

I must have a bad memory, because I don't recall that.

Did Clinton lie about terrorist ties in Somalia?

Gee, there goes that memory again. Not a single recollection of any such lie.

Did Clinton's staff claim on his behalf that the Somalis we're going to welcome us with parades and open arms and that we'd be done in six weeks?

Hmmmmmm.

Did Clinton stand in front of a "Mission Accomplished" sign after sending troops to Somalia?

Nope.

Did Clinton divert critical resources to Somalia while allowing terrorists who'd killed 3000 Americans roamed free elsewhere?

Not even close.

Did Clinton say the commitment in Somalia was not open-ended, then go on to describe a policy that necessarily meant that the commitment would be open-ended?

No.

Did Clinton fail to secure alleged WMD sites and weapons caches in Somalia?

Again, no.

Did Clinton engage in the imprisonment and torture of innocents in connection with Somalia?

No.

Did Clinton or his staff accuse Republicans opposing our involvement in Somalia of being traitors and of being against the troops?

Never.

Posted by: Google_This on February 7, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: Filibusters are debate.

A bold lie.

But a lie nevertheless.

Posted by: Google_This on February 7, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

filibuster: The use of obstructionist tactics, especially prolonged speechmaking, for the purpose of delaying legislative action.

debate: To engage in argument by discussing opposing points.

Hmmmmm . . .

The word "debate" is nowhere to be found in the definition of "filibuster."

Posted by: Google_This on February 7, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: My point, which you have conveniently ignored, is why don't they propse [sic] LEGISLATION to cut off funding and see if the country agrees ?

They don't cut off funding because they know Bush will leave the troops out in the cold without equipment or pay, just like he left them without body and vehicle armor, rather than admit his failures as a commander-in-chief and president.

You don't put the troops in the hands of a madman unprotected from his madness.

Posted by: Google_This on February 7, 2007 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Once Mike K loses the argument, he starts lying.

No, that's not right.

He starts lying when he starts typing.

Just about the time he starts losing the argument.

Posted by: Google_This on February 7, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Here's some righty (Mikey) vocabulary:

"last legs" = "the enemy is solidifying its opposition, increasing its ability to oppose our forces, and gaining in strength"

"filibuster" = "a constitutional Senate procedure when Republicans do it and an unconstitutional procedure when Democrats do it"

"not open-ended" = "open-ended"

"debate" = "endless speaking by one person on a topic quite different from the legislation being proposed"

"desperate" = "not desperate"

"torture" = "water-boarding if done by Muslims, but not water-boarding if done by the US military or their mercenaries from the private sector"

"supporting the troops" = (1) "supporting the president and his plan if he is Republican, but opposing the president and his plan if he is Democrat"

"supporting the troops" = (2) "not giving them necessary body and vehicle armor"

"supporting the troops" = (3) "using them for emotional blackmail or hiding behind them in order to protect a GOP president and his supporters from the consequences of their lies, corruption, and incompetence"

Posted by: Google_This on February 7, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Some decades ago, northern civil rights workers took risks by going to the South and opposing Jim Crow. Suppose some Southerner said he "supported the civil rights workers," suggesting that they all go home, so they would be out of danger. You would not have taken his alleged concern for the welfare of the civil rights workers seriously.

A similar principle applies to "supporting the troops" while opposing what they're doing.

If the decision were to withdraw the troops, I suppose that wouldn't be seen as not supporting the troops. But, if the Senate votes to leave the troops in place while giving a vote of No Confidence in the mission, that action cannot in any way be seen as supporting the troops, IMHO.

A non-binding resolution is just a way to pacify the extreme anti-war fringe. It shows no concern for supporting the troops. Furthermore, the anti-war folks are pussy cats if they're satisfied by a mere non-binding resolution.

Posted by: ex-liberal on February 7, 2007 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty funny stuff. You don't even know enough civics to know what a filibuster is. It is a long debate that is allowed by Senate rules. It used to be that there was no limit to debate and the Democrats like Robert KKK Byrd spent hours with cots on the Senate floor so they could hold out and block civil rights bills. Then, when Republicans began to use the tactic, Byrd as majority leader got limits passed, first a 2/3 majority to vote for cloture, then a 60 vote majority for cloture.

If you are going to get into an argument about Senate rules, you might try learning about them.

I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man. It is pretty cute to put a "[sic]" for a typo, as if you caught some big error.

Just pathetic.

Posted by: Mike K on February 7, 2007 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Then, when Republicans began to use the tactic, Byrd as majority leader got limits passed, first a 2/3 majority to vote for cloture, then a 60 vote majority for cloture.

Um, no.

From wiki:

In 1917 a rule allowing for the cloture of debate (ending a filibuster) was adopted by the Democrat-controlled Senate [3] at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson[4]. From 1917 to 1949, the requirement for cloture was two-thirds of those voting.

In 1917 Robert Byrd was less than a year old.

It's official: you are as uninformed as you are ridiculous.

Take a hike, you idiot.

Posted by: name withheld due to a troll migraine on February 7, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Since a majority of the troops want out of the hellhole that is Iraq, a vote to start bringing them home would be a major boost to morale.

Support the troops, bring them home...

Posted by: AkaDad on February 7, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain is well situated in the Senate where tired, unstable old men like himself, plodding about in their houseslippers, are greatly tolerated.

Posted by: bert on February 7, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

There is no statement, or implication, that withdrawal from Somalia would "encourage our enemies" in your (Greenwald's) reference.

Click the link I gave again. Read the statements yourself. Start with John Kerry's. If his principles were any more fluid, he'd soak into the rug and vanish.

No, we would not have been "in Somalia by the end of 2000". The debate was over Congressional demands for immediate withdrawal vs. withdrawal in approximately six months--time for the UN or allies to take over--and to ensure that we didn't leave a complete vaccum.

The hallucination that the U.N. can do jack seems to be immune to decades of experience. How'd that work out, with the U.N. in charge? How's Somalia been doing lately?

This is not a "war powers" issue (WTF did that come from?)

The first Greenwald link Kevin gave. Did you click on ANY of them?

Posted by: elmendorf on February 7, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Very good, name withheld. The Rule 22 was instituted in 1917 and used in 1919. It required 2/3 of those present. In 1949, anticipating the civil rights battles, it was increased to 2/3 of all Senators.

In 1964 Byrd used a filibuster to try to stop the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Here is the denoument:

"Never in history had the Senate been able to muster enough votes to cut off a filibuster on a civil rights bill. And only once in the 37 years since 1927 had it agreed to cloture for any measure.
The clerk proceeded to call the roll. When he reached "Mr. Engle," there was no response. A brain tumor had robbed California's mortally ill Clair Engle of his ability to speak. Slowly lifting a crippled arm, he pointed to his eye, thereby signaling his affirmative vote. Few of those who witnessed this heroic gesture ever forgot it. When Delaware's John Williams provided the decisive 67th vote, Majority Leader Mike Mansfield exclaimed, "That's it!"; Richard Russell slumped; and Hubert Humphrey beamed. With six wavering senators providing a four-vote victory margin, the final tally stood at 71 to 29. Nine days later the Senate approved the act itself—producing one of the 20th century's towering legislative achievements."

Byrd later had the rule changed to 2/3 of those present again once the civil rights battles were over, weakening the rule, then 60% of the Senators present.

You still didn't get the matter of who ended debate correct.

Posted by: Mike K on February 7, 2007 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK
You don't even know enough civics to know what a filibuster is. It is a long debate that is allowed by Senate rules.

Wrong. A long debate is just a long debate. A "filibuster" is use of the tradition of unlimited debate to, instead of actually debating, obstruct action by simply holding a piece of business up, preventing either actual debate on the issue or action on it.

You are either a complete moron or a really, really bad liar.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

elmendorf: Click the link I gave again. Read the statements yourself. Start with John Kerry's.:

Ok:

Sen. John Kerry, Senate floor speech, 10/7/93, supporting Clinton's anti-withdrawal position.

Mr. President, we are in a situation now where withdrawal would send the wrong signal to Aidid and his supporters. It would encourage other nations to withdraw from the U.N. effort in Somalia and no doubt would result in the total breakdown of the operation and possibly the resumption of the cycle of famine and war which brought the United States and other members of the international community to Somalia in the first place.

What--other than the ludicrous implication that there is some equivalence between Adid and insurgents/terrorosts in Iraq--is your point?

The first Greenwald link Kevin gave.

That was not the "focus" (as you put it) of Kevin's post. McCain's dissembling on supporting the troops was the focus of the post--in your own words, his "poltics, not principles".

Posted by: has407 on February 7, 2007 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

What--other than the ludicrous implication that there is some equivalence between Adid and insurgents/terrorosts in Iraq--is your point?

Yeah, what could a warlord like Mohamed Farrah Aidid possibly have in common with militia leaders and insurgents in Iraq? Obviously, the theory is that Aidid would indeed have been encouraged by a withdrawal of American forces, but there is NO WAY our enemies in Iraq would be.

You must have realized how ridiculous your statement was the second you hit the "post" button.

Incidentally, Aidid tossed the mighty U.N. out on its ear about a year after we left. So much for that plan.

My point was that Democrats were making the same points Republicans are now about not leaving a war until you've achieved your goal.

Where Clinton differs from Bush is that he was apparently perfectly happy with pretending everything would be fine when the U.S. left Somalia in the hands of the United Nations. Or more accurately, in the hands of those who would kick the U.N.'s ass around the block almost the moment the Marines went somewhere else.

Posted by: elmendorf on February 7, 2007 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

elmendorf: Yeah, what could a warlord like Mohamed Farrah Aidid possibly have in common with militia leaders and insurgents in Iraq?

Absolutely nothing. Unlike our purported reason for staying in Iraq, our presence or absence in Somalia, and Aidid's ascent to power or not, was not presented by anyone as a substantive threat to the US--unlike the administration's current position on Iraq.

You may ridicule Kerry for supporting a humanitarian mission in Somalia, but to suggest that his remarks indicate a change of principles vis-a-vis Iraq, or that the situation on the ground and the players in Somalia then, and Iraq now, are in any way comparable, is ludicrous.

Posted by: has407 on February 8, 2007 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Unlike our purported reason for staying in Iraq, our presence or absence in Somalia, and Aidid's ascent to power or not, was not presented by anyone as a substantive threat to the US--unlike the administration's current position on Iraq.

That sentence has absolutely nothing to do with the point being argued. Quit while you're behind.

Kerry believed--or claimed he believed--that abandoning the field during a war would encourage our enemies. It's that simple, and no matter how many times you repeat the word "ludicrous," it still stands.

Posted by: elmendorf on February 8, 2007 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

"Wrong. A long debate is just a long debate. A "filibuster" is use of the tradition of unlimited debate to, instead of actually debating, obstruct action by simply holding a piece of business up, preventing either actual debate on the issue or action on it.

You are either a complete moron or a really, really bad liar.

Posted by: cmdicely"

And you are unteachable. You really should do some reading other than firedoglake.

Posted by: Mike K on February 8, 2007 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Oh really?

So the troops are the ones who ordered themselves to Iraq? In this case, I guess Lieberman et al are right.

However, as I suspect, if it's the asshole civilian politicians back home who concocted this harebrained scheme of invading an oil-rich country that never attacked us (and expecting the native population not to resist us), then scrutinizing the people who sent them there can ONLY be supportive of the troops.

Posted by: chuck on February 8, 2007 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

elmendorf
Help me here. In what way is an indefinite occupation ( and confiscation of resources ) the same as a war defending the United States ? Indeed, there is a fair sized puddle between Iraq and the U.S. ( two, actually ). Encouraging the enemies of the U.S. is becoming difficult to define where the U.S. is so far beyond the horizon.

Posted by: opit on February 8, 2007 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

This is something I wrote to my local SoCal paper back in July :
I’m a Chargers fan, backing my team all the way. I’ve watched as management strung out the players, failing to fill out or augment the troops, OOPS! I mean the players, when weak spots were evident. I’ve watched the injuries pile up as the team remained uncompleted. The horrible trades and drafts have undermined the troops, I mean players. Rumsfeld as coach : You got to play the game with the team you have. I’ve cheered the team while management attempted to extort taxpayer money, changing the story or excuses repeatedly, move the franchise, making secret plans with Carson, or Los Angeles, or Vegas.

I’ve supported the Chargers while being deeply suspicious of their management, even hating management and feeling that everything they do is wrong.

While I watch Bush & Rumsfeld project our troops into danger without proper support, I can support our troops and strongly dislike Bush & Rummy’s motives and actions. When I see our troops repeatedly run through multiple assignments without proper support during and after, there and here, when I see their policies denigrate enlistment quality and quantity, I mourn. I love our troops, I support our troops, yet despise the mission and our administration.

Posted by: Richard W. Crews on February 8, 2007 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K, the pea-brained wingnut: And you are unteachable.

A simple dictionary.com definition proves that Mike K is a moron as cmdicely correctly pointed out.

filibuster:
1. U.S. Politics.
a. the use of irregular or obstructive tactics by a member of a legislative assembly to prevent the adoption of a measure generally favored or to force a decision against the will of the majority.
b. an exceptionally long speech, as one lasting for a day or days, or a series of such speeches to accomplish this purpose.
c. a member of a legislature who makes such a speech.

IOW, a filibuster involves no debate.

You really ought to read something other than My Pet Goat.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 8, 2007 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

"Kerry believed--or claimed he believed--that abandoning the field during a war would encourage our enemies."

It's a curious notion, that consistancy requires one to urge adoption of the same solution to every problem, no matter what.

Posted by: rea on February 8, 2007 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK

I don't see why there isn't alot of fuss about the trial of the lieutenant out in Washington state who was being court-martialed for refusing to go to Iraq and his defense was that it was an illegal order. They tried to disallow that defense, but had to declare a mistrial when it became apparent that wouldn't work. You can't summarily declare major sections of established law non-applicable. If they can't find a way to railroad this guy quickly, then everyone who did go to Iraq was following illegal orders. Wasn't that one of the charges the guards at Abu Graib were found guilty of? They may as well just start impeachment proceedings now.

Posted by: brodix on February 8, 2007 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin,

Why do you liberals hate the country that has raised you in freedom and justice? Why do you always give your support to the socialistic tyrannys that are its foresworn enemys? Throughout the history of our great nation, our valiant troops have held aloft the banners of democracy and human dignity, and always there have been a treasonus and pusillanimus rabble of liberals sapping the will of the American pubic and so securing the failure of our forces in their noble enterprize. Why we were unable to secure victory and freedom in Vietnam was because of the back-stabbing actions of the long-haired druggies back home pushing for defeat. This time, in Iraq, you must not be allowed to succede.

Posted by: Egfroth on February 8, 2007 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Support Mary Cheney: Screw the Mission?

Amoral Mary recently op-eded the GOP mantra that you can't support the troops unless you support the mission. Yet here we have evil Dick and her venomous Mom supporting her in opposition to primo Republican hate propaganda.
That Mom and Dad are clearly right to support their child even while they all three embody pornographic moral values on a global scale sorta twists my brain a little.

Posted by: Craig Johnson on February 8, 2007 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Apollo, the links I posted were the US Senate. If you choose internet sites that match your own prejudices, I can't help you. I suspect no one can. Believe what you like.

The filibuster argument is a side issue anyway. Democrats were trying to use Senate rules to maneuver Republicans into voting on a resolution solely designed to embarrass Bush. They got outmaneuvered by the same rules. If Democrats want to stop the war and surrender, they have a majority in the House and can defund the troops like they did in 1975. The rest is smoke.

Posted by: Mike K on February 8, 2007 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, Gen. Custer, because I support the 7th cavalry, I support your decision to attack that Indian village on the Little Bighorn River. RIGHT?

Posted by: Ray Waldren on February 8, 2007 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

No one would accuse Israelis of being soft on national security, so why is it acceptable for those citizens to vigorously debate national security policy, even to the point of calling for no confidence votes almost immediately after the Lebanon campaign that was widely believed to have been mismanaged by Olmert's government? No one there whines that it hurts the IDF's morale when elected civilian officials are called to account for failed decisions. I guess some democracies are more mature than others....

Posted by: Terry Young on February 8, 2007 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Arguing that you can't support the troops without supporting their mission is based on the assumption that:

Support troops = Support mission

Why is that true?

Suppporting their mission means that you agree that they have been given orders with at least three qualities:
1) The goal of the orders is good
2) The orders are effective in reaching that goal
3) The orders are lawful

Supporting the troops means that you give them good, effective and lawful orders. It also means giving them what they need to carry out the orders.

Now, what do you do if you believe that the orders aren't good, or that they are ineffective, or that they aren't lawful? How can you support the troops while in the process of ending or revising their mission? There has to be a way to do this, or, as posters above observed, it would be impossible to ever end any military mission, without BY DEFINITION failing to support the troops originally sent there.

The best solution is to persuade the CIC to change the orders. Is the next best solution to take away what the troops need to carry out their orders? Or is it better to try to force the CIC giving the orders to change them? Another, and very tough to achieve option, is to remove the CIC from a position where he has the power to issue orders.

The Iraq Study Group was the attempt at persuasion. The Democratic Congress was right to use politics to try to force the CIC to change orders first. However, now that Republicans have proven that this is not a bipartisan effort, the Democratic Congress must move on. It's crystal clear that Bush will not hesitate to sacrifice thousands of lives and billions of dollars to preserve his self-esteem. His take is that no price is too high for the rest of the world to pay to avoid his having to experience the failure that is Iraq during his term of office.

Congress must use the purse to force Bush to change the mission. I hope they can take away the resources the troops need to carry out their mission in such a way that it does not jeapordize their welfare further.

If that doesn't work, then they must impeach.

This is what they are required to do to support the troops. They must get good, effective and lawful orders for them. They must provide them with a worthy mission.



Posted by: cowalker on February 8, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

...rode the six hundred.

Posted by: pbg on February 8, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

So, Crooked Talk's vote this morning against the confirmation of the 4th star and promotion to Chief of Staff for Gen Casey, is supporting the troops?, er supporting the mission?, supporting his run for President? - Said he was more interested in how history will view himself, rather than having more medals.

Does John wake up in a different world each morning and following his afternoon naps?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 8, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

"can defund the troops like they did in 1975."

That's a reference to the mistaken belief that during the Vietnam era Democrats defunded troops in 1975 (not American troops who, by the way, had left in March 1973, but South Vietnamese defending a surrounded Saigon in the true death throes of the conflict). The proposal alluded to was Ford's April 1975 request for emergency aid to South Vietnam, including nearly $725 billion in military assistance (but no American troops). The military aid proposals never made it out of either House or Senate Armed Services committee, with repeated Senate committee votes on lesser amounts of military aid failing. In all of this, in close votes in both House and Senate committees, Democrats and Republicans united to vote down the proposals, just as Democrats and Republicans voted, unsuccessfully, to approve the measure for floor vote.

This story continues to be spread around despite the facts. There was no vote engineered by Democrats to "defund the troops" in 1975.

Posted by: Enough Already on February 8, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure. If today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us' but he will say to you, 'Be silent; I see it, if you don't.'

Abraham Lincoln

Posted by: Ed Drone on February 8, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

"including nearly $725 billion in military assistance . . ."

Whoops! That 725 "Billion" I wrote above should be 725 "Million" . . . at the former price tag who could've blamed them for voting it down -- that amount in billions would've been about 8 times the total defense budget for 1975 . . .

Posted by: Enough Already on February 8, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: It is a long debate that is allowed by Senate rules.

More dishonest crap from an expert in partisan hackery.

Mike K: And you are unteachable.

Were you looking in the mirror and speaking to yourself?

It would appear so.

Mike K: It is pretty cute to put a "[sic]" for a typo, as if you caught some big error.

No, it is a standard grammatical indication that the typo is in the original quote and not the fault of the person reproducing the quote.

We wouldn't want anyone to think I had deliberately misquoted you, by inserting typos not in the original quote, in order to make you look like even more of an idiot than you make yourself look without any help at all.

Remove that grammatical chip off your shoulder and learn some ethics and morals and quit lying.

BTW, if "filibuster" meant the same as "debate," or even "long debate," then every debate beyond a few minutes on any bill (or whatever arbitrary definition of "long" anyone wants to adopt) would be a filibuster, since the definition of filibuster (I know you don't actually read definitions because they get in the way of your own self-serving misunderstanding of terms) does not refer to a particular time period nor does practice provide us with any guidelines as to just how long a "debate" must run before it becomes a filibuster.

You are a very angry and very dishonest man, Mike K.

US Senate: filibuster - Informal term for any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by debating it at length, by offering numerous procedural motions, or by any other delaying or obstructive actions[, including refusing to vote to allow the matter to be voted upon].

Thus, by the Senate's own definition, 'debate' is only one method of accomplishing a filibuster and it must include the intent to "block or delay legislation," not just be "long."

Moreover, "[f]ilibusters are debate" is no more accurate or correct than saying "fruits are apple."

And by virtue of what the Republicans actually did, which was not to "debate" or even to continuously speak on the resolution, but to simply refuse to vote yes on allowing the resolution to be brought up for a vote, clearly there is no ongoing, lengthy debate preventing the resolution from being voted on, but the imposition of a procedural tactic, another form of filibuster that is not "debate."

No Republican is delaying or preventing the resolution from being voted on by actually speaking (debating) about the matter.

Posted by: Google_This on February 8, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Enough Already: There was no vote engineered by Democrats to "defund the troops" in 1975.

You really didn't expect the truth to come from Mike K's keyboard, did you?

Mike K: Democrats were trying to use Senate rules to maneuver Republicans into voting on a resolution solely designed to embarrass Bush.

See, yet another lie.

ex-liberal: But, if the Senate votes to leave the troops in place while giving a vote of No Confidence in the mission, that action cannot in any way be seen as supporting the troops, IMHO.

So, I'll repeat my hypothetical: if the president presented a plan whereby five soldiers were to attack 500,000 Iranians in order to free a single American hostage held in the middle of Tehran and to do so in the middle of the day, naked and armed only with pocketknives, no military support from any other source, the US Congress should praise the mission so the troops would feel supported - that would be the responsible thing to do, IYHO, eh?

Which pretty much shows just what an idiot, or intellectually dishonest maggot, you are.

Posted by: Google_This on February 8, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK


mr. straight talk?

"I think I'd just commit suicide," McCain said on the prospects of the Democrats taking control of the Congress in the mid-term elections.

well....he's still talking anyway..

Posted by: mr. irony on February 8, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

mhr: He's the guy who called US troops in Iraq, "Nazis."

Liar.

You're probably also still passing around the lie about "Pelosi's Plane."

And Obama's "madrassa upbringing."

This is why the American public no longer trusts conservatives and why the Democratic Party keeps increasing its lead in party-identification polls.

The public sees you lie; the public rejects your politics.

Posted by: Google_This on February 9, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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