WASHINGTON — The Senate today rejected a call for the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq by year’s end as Congress erupted in impassioned, election-year debate over a conflict that now has claimed the lives of 2,500 American troops. The vote was 93-6 to shelve the proposal, which would have allowed “only forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces” to remain in 2007. The vote came alongside a daylong debate in the House, where Republicans defended the war as key to winning the global struggle against terrorism while Democrats excoriated President Bush and his policies.
I am shocked- SHOCKED! - that the Senate is playing politics with the war on Iraq. Man, for a moment there, I thought there might be some actual, honest-to-God debate taking place. Once the fog cleared, though, I realized that all yesterday’s debate on the House floor was about was giving Republicans campaign footage for their re-election campaigns. Now they can just use the C-SPAN footage instead of having to pay for an advertsing firm for a campaign commercial.
Did anyone with an IQ above the low double digits think for even a fleeting moment that the debate on the conduct of the Iraq war would be anything but bad political theater? Republicans got to trot out 9.11 and wave it under everyone’s nose as they beat the same old metaphor in a tired effort to justify a failed, costly war, while Democrats railed against the incompetence and the wastefulness of the war. Of course, Democrats have to walk a fine line here. They need to oppose the war in order to please their base, but they can’t be seen as doing or saying ANYTHING that can be perceived as unpatriotic and insufficiently supportive of our brave men and women in uniform. Were that to happen, you can bet the Republicans would be using those moments in negative campaign commercials this fall. (There! D’ya see what a cowardly, cut-and-run pansy Senator Doofus is? What kind of proud American talks and acts like that? That’s why we need Bull Dyke as our next Senator. He’s no panty-waisted Liberal, coddling terrorists and godless weenies who hate America! No, he’ll kill ‘em all…and let God sort ‘em out!)
And, of course, there is nothing a good, Red Meat Conservative Republican loves more than being able to use 9.11 to justify all manner of murder and mayhem in “Godless Parts of the World Where They Don’t Think, Act, or Believe Like We Do.” It’s an almost foolproof, irrefutable argument, really. Support for the war crumbling? 9.11!!
The Senior Medicare Drug Plan is a clusterf—k? 9.11!!
Our Glorious and Benevolent Leader is caught ridiculing a blind reporter? 9.11!!
Having trouble performing with your girlfriend? 9.11!!
“We must stand firm in our commitment to fight terrorism and the evil it inflicts throughout the world. We must renew our resolve that the actions of evildoers will not dictate American policy,” House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said in remarks laden with references to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Of course, Democrats can’t dream about refuting this argument, because employing the 9.11 any argument, no matter how hackneyed and self-serving, is undefeatable AND it’s been co-opted and practically copyrighted by Republicans. No, Democrats have to be much craftier in how their frame their argument. Hammering on this Administration’s world-class ineptitude and carelessness is a good start, but it’s not nearly as effective as using 9.11. SInce Republicans have effectively established 9.11 as a useful and effective political shield, Democrats are left to wander in the wilderness, exposed and vulnerable to surprise political assaults from the Right.
“Is it al-Qaida or is it America? Let the voters take note of this debate,” said Republican Rep. Charles Norwood of Georgia, attacking war critics as defeatists who do not deserve re-election.
Oooh…ouch; that’s one’s gonna leave a mark, eh? What better way to cement your image as a Reaganite, America-lovin’, terrorist-hatin’, kill-‘em-all-let-God-sort-‘em-out, fire breathing Conservative stalwart than by smacking down Democrats as the party of panty-waist Liberal weenie America-haters?
The administration was so determined to get its message out that the Pentagon distributed a highly unusual “debate prep book” filled with ready-made answers for criticism of the war.
The Senate voted unfolded unexpectedly as the second-ranking leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced legislation he said was taken from a proposal by Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat and war critic. It called for Bush to agree with the Iraqi government on a schedule for withdrawal of combat troops by Dec. 31, 2006.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said if the United States withdrew, “I am absolutely convinced the terrorists would see this as vindication.” He predicted terrorism would spread around the world, and eventually reach the United States.
Yep; a few carefully-crafted
propaganda talking points go a long ways, eh? Besides, the drawback with a free-flowing debate is that you run the risk of losing control to godless Liberals who would sell our sovereignty to foreigners, who would enslave our women, imprison our children, and install flaming homosexuals in positions of power. ARE WE GOING TO ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN? HELL, NO, WE ARE NOT!!! IT’S TIME FOR ALL GOOD, GOD-FEARING, RIGHTEOUS AMERICANS TO SEND THERE CHILDREN OFF TO DIE IN A SENSELESS WAR OF AGGRESSION AGAINST A SELF-CREATED TERRORIST ENEMY. Uh…wait a minute….
Bad political theater, indeed….
Excuse me, but I’m going to go off into the woods and puke.