Saturday, November 19, 2005

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a maneuver to strike at Iraq war critics, the Republican-led House of Representatives engineered a vote on Friday on a resolution to pull U.S. troops immediately from Iraq, which was defeated nearly unanimously.

Republicans, who introduced the surprise resolution hours before lawmakers were to start a Thanksgiving holiday recess, said the vote was intended to show support for U.S. forces.

Democrats denounced it as a political stunt and an attack on Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a leading Democratic military hawk who stunned his colleagues on Thursday by calling for troops to be withdrawn from Iraq as quickly as possible...

Unlike Murtha's proposal calling for troops to be withdrawn "as soon as practicable," which he expected would be about six months, the Republican resolution said deployment of the U.S. forces should be "terminated immediately."

There's not actually much of a difference here - picking either deadline would be waiving the white flag of surrender. A "smooth" withdrawal might take six months, but it would begin immediately - and an immediate withdrawal would probably take six months.

This was a smart move to resolve the conflicting messages coming from American politicians. War opponents have been abusing the idea of withdrawal timetables by pretending to take a non-existant middle ground. Changing the proposal from withdrawal in six months to immediate withdrawal illustrates the problems with all demanded timetables - any agreement to a timetable has immediate impact and is only superficially reasonable.
(AP) Democrats said they planned to counter by voting against the GOP provision en masse.
Voting with the Republicans isn't a counter-move, but abstaining might be. In the end, only six Democrats had the guts to do that.

Ultimately the House voted the resolution (H. Res. 571) down, 3-403. Oddly enough, even Dennis Kucinich voted No.

I enjoyed watching some of the House on CSPAN. At times the yells from the Representatives began to resemble the British House of Commons (but not the outright brawls of East Asian legislatures). Now that Democrats are on the record as opposing immediate withdrawal will they continue their demands for the real world equivalent?

1 comment:

April said...

Great Friday night entertainment. What would we do without CSPAN?