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Thread: House GOP Seeks Quick Veto Of Iraq Pullout

  1. #1
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    House GOP Seeks Quick Veto Of Iraq Pullout

    House GOP seeks quick veto of Iraq pullout

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/24hour...11577199c.html

    By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer
    Last updated: November 18th, 2005 04:12 PM (PST)

    WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans maneuvered for swift rejection Friday of any notion of immediately pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, sparking a nasty, sometimes personal debate over the war and a Democratic lawmaker's own call for withdrawal.

    Furious Democrats accused the GOP of orchestrating a political stunt, leaving little time for debate and changing the meaning of a withdrawal resolution offered by Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania.

    For those reasons, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent word to rank-and-file Democrats to vote - with the Republicans - against immediate withdrawal of American troops.

    Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said of the nonbinding resolution, "We want to make sure that we support our troops that are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will not retreat."

    Democrats went to the floor to denounce the vote, being staged before Congress left Washington for a two week break. And they gave Murtha a standing ovation as he entered the chamber Friday during the Iraq debate and took his customary corner seat.

    "This is a personal attack on one of the best members, one of the most respected members of this House and it is outrageous," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

    Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, responded: "This is not a stunt. This is not an attack on an individual. This is a legitimate question."

    GOP leaders decided to act little more than 24 hours after Murtha, a hawkish Democrat with close ties to the military, said the time had come to pull out the troops.

    By forcing the issue to a vote, Republicans tried to place many Democrats in a politically unappealing position - whether to side with Murtha and expose themselves to criticism, or oppose him and risk angering the voters that polls show want an end to the conflict.

    But Democrats claimed the effort had backfired because their party members planned to vote against withdrawal - and the GOP version of Murtha's resolution.

    Murtha offered a resolution that would force the president to withdraw the nearly 160,000 troops in Iraq "at the earliest practicable date." It would establish a quick-reaction force and a nearby presence of Marines in the region. It also said the U.S. must pursue stability in Iraq through diplomacy.

    But House Republicans planned to put to a vote - and reject - their own symbolic alternative resolution that simply said: "It is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."

    With stinging rhetoric, Democrats criticized the GOP alternative. They said House Republican leaders killed Murtha's thoughtful approach.

    The fiery, emotional debate climaxed when Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, the most junior member of the House, told of a phone call she received from a Marine colonel.

    "He asked me to send Congress a message - stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message - that cowards cut and run, Marines never do," Schmidt said.

    Democrats booed and shouted her down - causing the House to come to a standstill.

    Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., charged across the chamber's center aisle screaming that it was an uncalled for personal attack. "You guys are pathetic. Pathetic," yelled Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.

    Most Republicans oppose Murtha's call for withdrawal, and some Democrats also have been reluctant to back his position.

    The House move comes just days after the GOP-controlled Senate defeated a Democratic push for Bush to lay out a timetable for withdrawal. Spotlighting questions from both parties about the war, though, the chamber then approved a statement that 2006 should be a significant year in which conditions are created for the phased withdrawal of U.S. forces.

    A growing number of House members and senators, looking ahead to off-year elections next November, are publicly worrying about a quagmire in Iraq. They have been staking out new positions on a war that is increasingly unpopular with the American public, has resulted in more than 2,000 U.S. military deaths and has cost more than $200 billion.

    "Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency," Murtha said Thursday. "They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion."

    A U.S. field commander in Iraq countered the position of the congressman who usually backs the Pentagon.

    "Here on the ground, our job is not done," said Col. James Brown, commander of the 56th Brigade Combat Team, when asked about Murtha's comments during a weekly briefing that American field commanders give to Pentagon reporters.

    Republicans chastised Murtha for advocating what they called a strategy of surrender and abandonment. Democrats defended him as a patriot, even as many declined to back his view.

    "I won't stand for the swift-boating of Jack Murtha," said Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004. Also a Vietnam veteran, Kerry was dogged during the campaign by a group called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth who challenged his war record.

    As a Vietnam veteran and top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, Murtha carries more credibility with his colleagues on the issue than a number of other Democrats who have opposed the war from the start.

    Originally published: November 18th, 2005 03:13 PM (PST)
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
    beltman713 Guest
    These bullshit motherfucking neocons are going after another decorated Vietnam veteran because he has the gall to go against their failed policies. Bastards!

  3. #3
    Ophie Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by beltman713
    These bullshit motherfucking neocons are going after another decorated Vietnam veteran because he has the gall to go against their failed policies. Bastards!
    That's their way. I find it very telling that the party who seems to think they have a monopoly on supporting the troops, are always the first to denigrate Veterans and soldiers whose beliefs they do not agree with. McCain, Cleland, Kerry, Murtha, I'm sure the list goes on.

  4. #4
    jetsetlemming Guest
    I saw a little of this vote last night. When I looked, one republican and two democrats voted to pull out. I can't help but wonder who that republican was.

  5. #5
    Partridge Guest
    A Pathetic Congress

    If It Walks Like a Withdrawal Resolution, and Talks Like One, Then Why Won't You Vote For It?

    By RON JACOBS

    To say the least, the debate in the US House of Representatives on the 18th of November was interesting, in a pathetic sort of way. Republicans took the floor vocalizing the desires of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld to stay in Iraq until it is truly conquered; and the Democrats whined, calling the GOP resolution demanding the immediate withdrawal of US forces from a Iraq a political ploy. Words and accusations flew and some members had to be restrained. A couple higher level military officers supposedly called their congresspeople asking that Congress continue to fund and support the imperial folly that is the Iraq war. Members who served in the last major US military folly in Vietnam had their patriotism called into question by other members who never wore combat fatigues in their lives unless it was in a paintball game. As usual, nobody asked the US voters or the men and women killing in dying in the war itself.

    As most any reader knows, this entire dramatic farce was brought on by the call for an immediate withdrawal of US forces from Iraq by decorated war veteran and Iraq war supporter John Murtha, who is a Democratic representative from Pennsylvania. Stating the obvious in a speech on Tuesday, Mr. Murtha said that it is the presence of US troops in Iraq that is fueling the insurgency and that these troops should be withdrawn within six months. This speech, being made by a certified member of the prowar band in Congress, received more attention from the press than any antiwar activity since the camp set up by Cindy Sheehan outside the Crawford White House this past August. The media always likes a good story and the fact that a staunch supporter of US military actions anywhere and at anytime was now calling for an immediate withdrawal was big news.

    Although Murtha's call angered some Republicans, it also made Democrats very nervous. Not only was it a member of the party's right wing that was demanding a withdrawal, he was calling for an immediate withdrawal--a demand made by the antiwar movement's more radical sections. This wasn't some nebulous demand for a withdrawal sometime in the future, nor was it a call for a talk about maybe withdrawing some troops some time in the future. It wasn't a call to replace US troops with NATO troops, either. It was a demand that a redeployment of US troops in Iraq begin immediately. Sure, there was a subsection of the resolution that would station a rapid reaction force "over the hill" just in case the client government in Baghdad needed US assistance to keep its tenuous grip on the country, but the words that mattered to the US media and the members of Congress were the words "immediate withdrawal."

    So, that was the setting for Friday's big showdown at the Capitol Building corral. In what Democrats called an attempt to call their bluff and, essentially, put them on record as being against the war, the GOP introduced its own resolution echoing Murtha's. This freaked out the Democrats. All of a sudden they were going to have to take a stand. Were they against the war or were they for the war? The vote would come before everyone went home for the US Thanksgiving holiday. How would it go? Well, let me put it this way: The Democrats didn't vote for immediate withdrawal. In what can only be labeled a classic exercise in Orwellian doublespeak and political chicanery, the Democratic leadership called the GOP resolution a "political stunt" and voted against the resolution demanding withdrawal.

    Now, excuse me if I don't get it, but it seems to me that if one is against the war and wants to see an immediate withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, then one votes for immediate withdrawal, no matter who sponsors the legislation. Only Cynthia McKinney (GA), Jose E. Serrano (N.Y.), Robert Wexler (Fla.) agreed with this approach and voted for the resolution (and for immediate withdrawal). Six other Congressional members voted present and the other 403 voted to continue the war in Iraq as is. This may have been a political trick by the GOP, who may have hoped to get some Democrats to vote for immediate withdrawal and thereby paint them into some corner with Saddam Hussein or the phantom al-Zarqawi come election time in the hope that a war-weary public might start supporting the war again. Instead, what the GOP got was an overwhelming vote for the war--a vote that they can also use to their advantage come election time when Democratic candidates attack the same war that they are to chickenshit to genuinely oppose.

    Even Mr. Murtha voted against the resolution, saying that it wasn't "what he envisioned," because it avoided a broader discussion of the war. While his sentiment may be true, it seems to me that we need to get the troops out of there first and then we can have that discussion. After all, Congress should have held that discussion before they gave anyone permission to wage war in the first place. Instead, both sides continue to support the troops by demanding that they remain in Iraq.

    As I watched the pathetic body we call Congress debate this resolution Friday night, I was reminded of the defense argument in the trial of the LA police accused of beating Rodney King back in 1991. In those trials, the jury was told to ignore what they (and much of the known world) saw on the videotapes of the beating. Instead of trusting their senses, they were told by the cops' defense team to believe what the cops were saying. On the night of November 18, 2005, the Democrats were like those cops' lawyers as they told the world that the resolution demanding a US withdrawal from Iraq wasn't what it said it was. Don't believe the words that are on the paper, they told us, believe what we want you to believe, no matter how much it doesn't jibe with what you see.

  6. #6
    Partridge Guest
    lemming: no republican voted for it,

    Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.), Robert Wexler (D-Fla.)

  7. #7
    Partridge Guest
    Stop Playing Politics, Get the Troops Out Now

    The Republicans Have Done a Heinous Thing

    By Rep. CYNTHIA McKINNEY

    [The following is the text of Rep. McKinney's floor remarks on the November 18 debate over the "Murtha" withdrawal resolution.]

    The Republicans in this House have done a heinous thing: they have insulted one of the deans of this House in an unthinkable and unconscionable way.

    They took his words and contorted them; they took his heartfelt sentiments and spun them. They took his resolution and deformed it: in a cheap effort to silence dissent in the House of Representatives.

    The Republicans should be roundly criticized for this reprehensible act. They have perpetrated a fraud on the House of Representatives just as they have defrauded the American people.

    By twisting the issue around, the Republicans are trying to set a trap for the Democrats. A "no" vote for this Resolution will obscure the fact that there is strong support for withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. I am voting "yes" on this Resolution for an orderly withdrawal of US forces from Iraq despite the convoluted motives behind the Republican Resolution. I am voting to support our troops by bringing them home now in an orderly withdrawal.

    Sadly, if we call for an end to the occupation, some say that we have no love for the Iraqi people, that we would abandon them to tyrants and thugs.

    Let us consider some history. The Republicans make great hay about Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons against the Iranians and the Kurds. But when that attack was made in 1988, it was Democrats who moved a resolution to condemn those attacks, and the Reagan White House quashed the bill in the Senate, because at that time the Republicans considered Saddam one of our own.

    So in 1988, who abandoned the Iraqi people to tyrants and a thugs?

    In voting for this bill, let me be perfectly clear that I am not saying the United States should exit Iraq without a plan. I agree with Mr. Murtha that security and stability in Iraq should be pursued through diplomacy. I simply want to vote yes to an orderly withdrawal from Iraq. And let me explain why.

    Prior to its invasion, Iraq had not one (not one!) instance of suicide attacks in its history. Research shows a 100% correlation between suicide attacks and the presence of foreign combat troops in a host country. And experience also shows that suicide attacks abate when foreign occupation troops are withdrawn. The US invasion and occupation has destabilized Iraq and Iraq will only return to stability once this occupation ends.

    We must be willing to face the fact that the presence of US combat troops is itself a major inspiration to the forces attacking our troops. Moreover, we must be willing to acknowledge that the forces attacking our troops are able to recruit suicide attackers because suicide attacks are largely motivated by revenge for the loss of loved ones. And Iraqis have lost so many loved ones as a result of America's two wars against Iraq.

    In 1996, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on CBS that the lives of 500,000 children dead from sanctions were "worth the price" of containing Saddam Hussein. When pressed to defend this reprehensible position she went on to explain that she did not want US Troops to have to fight the Gulf War again. Nor did I. But what happened? We fought a second gulf war. And now over 2,000 American soldiers lie dead. And I expect the voices of concern for Iraqi civilian casualties, whose deaths the Pentagon likes to brush aside as "collateral damage" are too few, indeed. A report from Johns Hopkins suggests that over 100,000 civilians have died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion, most of them violent deaths and most as "collateral damage" from US forces. The accuracy of the 100,000 can and should be debated. Yet our media, while quick to cover attacks on civilians by insurgent forces in Iraq, have given us a blackout on Iraqi civilian deaths at the hands of US combat forces.

    Yet let us remember that the United States and its allies imposed a severe policy of sanctions on the people of Iraq from 1990 to 2003. UNICEF and World Health Organization studies based on infant mortality studies showed a 500,000 increase in mortality of Iraqi children under 5 over trends that existed before sanctions. From this, it was widely assumed that over 1 million Iraqi deaths for all age groups could be attributed to sanctions between 1990 and 1998. And not only were there 5 more years of sanctions before the invasion, but the war since the invasion caused most aid groups to leave Iraq. So for areas not touched by reconstruction efforts, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated further. How many more Iraqi lives have been lost through hunger and deprivation since the occupation?

    And what kind of an occupier have we been? We have all seen the photos of victims of US torture in Abu Ghraib prison. That's where Saddam used to send his political enemies to be tortured, and now many Iraqis quietly, cautiously ask: "So what has changed?"

    A recent video documentary confirms that US forces used white phosphorous against civilian neighborhoods in the US attack on Fallujah. Civilians and insurgents were burned alive by these weapons. We also now know that US forces have used MK77, a napalm-like incendiary weapon, even though napalm has been outlawed by the United Nations.

    With the images of tortured detainees, and the images of Iraqi civilians burned alive by US incendiary weapons now circulating the globe, our reputation on the world stage has been severely damaged.

    If America wants to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, we as a people must be willing to face the pain and death and suffering we have brought to the Iraqi people with bombs, sanctions and occupation, even if we believe our actions were driven by the most altruistic of reasons. We must acknowledge our role in enforcing the policy of sanctions for 12 years after the extensive 1991 bombing in which we bombed infrastructure targets in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions.

    We must also be ready to face the fact that the United States once provided support for the tyrant we deposed in the name of liberating the Iraqi people. These are events that our soldiers are too young to remember. I believe our young men and women in uniform are very sincere in their belief that their sacrifice is made in the name of helping the Iraqi people. But it is not they who set the policy. They take orders from the Commander-in-Chief and the Congress. It is we who bear the responsibility of weighing our decisions in a historical context, and it is we who must consider the gravest decision of whether or not to go to war based upon the history, the facts, and the truth.

    Sadly, however, our country is at war in Iraq based on a lie told to the American people. The entire war was based premised on a sales pitch-that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction menacing the United States-that turned out to be a lie.

    I have too many dead soldiers in my district; too many from my home state. Too many homeless veterans on our streets and in our neighborhoods.

    America has sacrificed too many young soldiers' lives, too many young soldiers' mangled bodies, to the Bush war machine.

    I will not vote to give one more soldier to the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney war machine. I will not give one more dollar for a war riddled with conspicuous profiteering.

    Tonight I speak as one who has at times been the only Member of this Body at antiwar demonstrations calling for withdrawal. And I won't stop calling for withdrawal.

    I was opposed to this war before there was a war; I was opposed to the war during the war; and I am opposed to this war now--even though it's supposed to be over.

    A vote on war is the single most important vote we can make in this House. I understand the feelings of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who might be severely conflicted by the decision we have to make here tonight. But the facts of US occupation of Iraq are also very clear. The occupation is headed down a dead end because so long as US combat forces patrol Iraq, there will be an Iraqi insurgency against it

    I urge that we pursue an orderly withdrawal from Iraq and pursue, along with our allies, a diplomatic solution to the situation in Iraq, supporting the aspirations of the Iraqi people through support for democratic processes.

  8. #8
    Partridge Guest
    Vegetarian Between Meals

    This War Can't Be Stopped by a Loyal Opposition

    By JEREMY SCAHILL

    The refrain of the Democrats about being misled into supporting the invasion of Iraq has become really tired. And someone other than the White House smearmongers needs to say it: The Democrats cannot be allowed to use faulty intelligence as a crutch to hold up their unforgivable support for the Iraq invasion. What is DNC Chair Howard Dean's excuse? He wasn't in Congress and didn't have any access to Senate intelligence. Still, on March 9, 2003, just days before the invasion began, Dean told Tim Russert, on NBC's Meet The Press, "I don't want Saddam staying in power with control over those weapons of mass destruction. I want him to be disarmed."

    During the New Hampshire primary in January 2004, which I covered for Democracy Now!, I confronted Dean about that statement. I asked him on what intelligence he based that allegation. "Talks with people who were knowledgeable," Dean told me. "Including a series of folks that work in the Clinton administration."

    A series of folks that work in the Clinton administration.

    How does that jive with the official Democratic line that they were misled by the Bush administration? Sounds like Howard Dean, head of the Democratic Party, was misled by....the Democrats. Dean's candor offers us a rare glimpse into the painful truth of the matter. As unpopular as this is to say, when President Bush accuses the Democrats of "rewriting history" on Iraq, he is right.

    None of the horrors playing out in Iraq today would be possible without the Democratic Party. And no matter how hard some party leaders try to deny it, this is their war too and will remain so until every troop is withdrawn. There is no question that the Bush administration is one of the most corrupt, violent and brutal in the history of this country but that doesn't erase the serious responsibility the Democrats bears for the bloodletting in Iraq. As disingenuous as the Administration's claims that Iraq had WMDs is the flimsy claim by Democratic lawmakers that they were somehow duped into voting for the war. The fact is that Iraq posed no threat to the United States in 2003 any more than it did in 1998 when President Clinton bombed Baghdad. John Kerry and his colleagues knew that. The Democrats didn't need false intelligence to push them into overthrowing Saddam Hussein's regime. It was their policy; a policy made the law of the land not under George W. Bush, but under President Bill Clinton when he signed the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, formally initiating the process of regime change in Iraq.

    Manipulated intelligence is but a small part of a bigger, bipartisan 15-year assault on Iraq's people. If the Democrats really want to look at how America was led into this war, they need to go back further than the current president's inauguration.

    As bloody and deadly as the occupation has been, it was Bill Clinton who refined the art of killing innocent Iraqis following the Gulf War. One of his first acts as president was to bomb Iraq, following the alleged assassination plot against George HW Bush. Clinton's missiles killed the famed Iraqi painter Leila al Attar as they smashed into her home. Clinton presided enthusiastically over the most deadly and repressive regime of economic sanctions in history--his UN ambassador Madeline Albright calling the reported deaths of half a million children "worth the price." Clinton initiated the longest sustained bombing campaign since Vietnam with his illegal no-fly zone bombings, attacking Iraq once every three days for the final years of his presidency. It was under Clinton that Ahmed Chalabi was given tens of millions of dollars and made a key player in shaping Washington's Iraq policy. It was Clinton that mercilessly attacked Iraq in December of 1998, destroying dozens of Baghdad buildings and killing scores of civilians. It was Clinton that codified regime change in Iraq as US policy. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq but he could not have done it without the years of groundwork laid by Clinton and the Democrats. How ironic it was recently to hear Clinton call the war "a big mistake."

    It's easy to resist war with a president like Bush in the White House. Where were these Democrats when it was Clinton's bombs raining down on Iraq, when it was Clinton's economic sanctions targeting the most vulnerable? Many of them were right behind him and his deadly policies the same way they were behind Bush when he asked their consent to use force against Iraq. As the veteran Iraq activist and Nobel Prize nominee Kathy Kelly said often during the Clinton years, "It's easy to be a vegetarian between meals." The fact is that one of the great crimes of our times was committed by the Clinton administration with the support of many of the politicians now attacking Bush.

    Herein lies the real political crisis in this country: the Democrats are not an opposition party, nor are they an antiwar party-never were. At best, they are a loyal opposition. The Democrats ran a pro-war campaign in 2004 with Kerry struggling to convince people that Dems do occupation and war better. The current head of the DNC, Howard Dean, never met a war he didn't adore until he realized he could exploit the energy and sincere hopes of millions of peace-loving Americans. Dean wasn't ever antiwar. In fact, during the 2004 campaign he attacked Kerry for opposing the Gulf War while laying out his own pro-war record.

    "In 1991, I supported Gulf War. I supported the first President Bush," declared Dean. "Senator Kerry who criticizes my foreign policy, he voted against that war. I supported the Afghanistan war, because I felt it was about our national defense-- 3,000 of our people were killed. I supported President Clinton going into Bosnia and Kosovo."

    How can Howard Dean look people in the eye today and pretend to speak with any credibility as an antiwar voice?

    When the hawkish Democrat Rep. John Murtha bravely stepped forward to call for an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq this week, he was quickly blasted by the White House and simultaneously disowned by powerful Democrats like John Kerry. Occupation lovers together again. The bloody scandal of the Iraq occupation has opened a rare and clear window into the truth about this country: there is one party represented in Washington--one that supports preemptive war and regime change. The reality is that the Democrats could stop this war if the will was there. They could shut down the Senate every day, not just for a few hours one afternoon. They could disrupt business as usual and act as though the truth were true: this war should never have happened and it must end now. The country would be behind them if they did it. But they won't. They will hem and haw and call for more troops and throw out epic lies about the US becoming a stabilizing force in Iraq and blame the Republicans for their own complicity and enthusiasm in the 15 years of bipartisan crimes against Iraq. Why? Because they support war against Iraq.

    All of this begs for a multiparty system in this country and the emergence of a true opposition. The epic scale of the disaster in Iraq calls for epic lessons to be learned at home. Like the Bush White House, the Democrats have lost their credibility. They are undeserving of the blank check of "Anybody But Bush" and should never be allowed to cash it again. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who heads up the House Democrats election campaign, criticized Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal, saying, "At the right time, we will have a position." It is statements like that that should result in Emanuel and his colleagues losing theirs.

    Jeremy Scahill, an independent journalist who reports frequently for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now!, has spent extensive time reporting from Iraq and Yugoslavia.

  9. #9
    jetsetlemming Guest
    I thought for sure I saw one single "yea" in the republican votes column... Oh well. Never mind.

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