Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Iraq Escalation Resolution

The House is debating President Bush's plan to escalate the war in Iraq this week. Here's the Democratic resolution:

H. CON. RES. 63

Disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That--
      (1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and
      (2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.
    (Thanks to Nirmal at Capital Viewpoint)

    As Congressman John Conyers (MI-14) notes, this resolution, thanks to the rules of the House, will put everyone on record as either supporting or opposing President Bush's plans for escalation. None of this criticizing-the-plan-then-blocking-a-vote stuff we've seen from the Senate.

    Does the position this resolution takes have support? Yes, according to the latest polls (here and here, for example).

    Will Congressman Tim Walberg support it? So far, no public statements have been made relating directly to this resolution. But here's what he said after President Bush's State of the Union message:
    "I support the president's determination for victory and feel it is imperative we provide American men and women in combat with resources that will enable them to come home safe and victorious. The war on terrorism is the calling of our time, and we cannot shirk our obligation to protect our families and nation from the enemies of freedom."
    And, while he wouldn't comment specifically on any resolutions, here's what he told The Hill:
    Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) said he supports the president’s “determination for victory and [feels] it is imperative we provide American men and women in combat with resources that will enable them to come home safe and victorious.”
    And here's what he said when he got the question, "Do you support a withdrawal from Iraq? If not, what future course do you see?" at the Siena Heights University debate last year:
    - "We too easily forget 9/11" [Audience begins booing], "We too easily forget the bombing of the USS Cole"
    - Terrorism still an important issue
    - No cut and run, must stay in Iraq
    - The Iraqi army is working
    So, why isn't Walberg's position the best position for Iraq? Why shouldn't we just support President Bush's plans?
    The new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq starkly delineates the gulf that separates President Bush's illusions from the realities of the war. Victory, as the president sees it, requires a stable liberal democracy in Iraq that is pro-American. The NIE describes a war that has no chance of producing that result. In this critical respect, the NIE, the consensus judgment of all the U.S. intelligence agencies, is a declaration of defeat.
    (Emphasis added.)

    That's an op-ed in the Washington Post titled "Victory Is Not an Option" by Lt. Gen. William Odom, President Reagan's NSA Director. His is just the latest voice to speak against President Bush's-- and Congressman Walberg's-- plans for Iraq.

    Contact Tim Walberg, and encourage him to vote for H. Con. Res. 63, and against the wasteful, terrible strategy that the White House is about to embrace.

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    If you re-read all of the Walberg quotes, and every quote in any paper through either of his campaigns for Congress, you will find he never answers a question directly. He avoids the questions, invokes the memory of 9/11 and then spouts off about following Bush. He has never taken the time to think critically about the war, it is not one of his issues, and he evidently still does not have much in the way of an original thought.
    Here is the text of Walberg's speech on the floor:


    Washington, Feb 15 -

    U.S. Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) this morning delivered the following speech on the House floor concerning the debate on a troop increase in Iraq.

    “I rise today to honor America’s brave men and women currently serving in the name of freedom and oppose this resolution of retreat.

    “As Abraham Lincoln said famously in his Second Inaugural Address, ‘Fervently do we pray -- that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.’

    “As Americans we are reluctant warriors, but throughout our rich history, whenever our troops have been in harm’s way, America has supported the men and women in uniform and made certain our troops have the necessary resources to accomplish their mission.

    “Without a doubt, mistakes have been made, and these mistakes are important to acknowledge, but we must go forward with a new strategy in Iraq based on quantifiable goals and measurable results. We must not retreat.

    “At this critical time, the American people long for true leadership and resolve, and I urge my colleagues to put aside political posturing and partisanship and ensure our troops have the resources and support needed to complete their mission. Victory is the only option.” (End quote)

    Alright, his point is we cannot retreat. The resolution simply says we cannot escalate the troop levels. Again, its like he has not read the text of the resolution and is simply trying to invoke rhetoric which is irrelevant to the topic. When I boil his comments down, he is still saying that he will follow Bush into whatever strategy Bush wants. Reread the resolution, its two points:
    -we will continue to support the troops
    -we disagree with sending more troops to Iraq

    Walberg never even mentions additional troops and makes a logical leap that by not sending more troops (a strategy debated even by top military brass) we are retreating. This is more proof that he does not think critically about his role in Washington to represent our interests in war. He does not have an opinion on the war and is just going to follow the administration blindly wherever they lead him.
    Another thing to note, his official website lists a press release of his comments. It was posted this morning. Yet, Walberg is just now giving his speech at 2:10 pm. His actual speech is much longer, but he is more resolved that the simple reolution disapproving troop escalation is a "retreat."

    Whatever your opinion on the war is, you cannot argue that Walberg is avoiding the question of the resolution.

    He is not addressing the role of Congress as an institution of executive oversight. On the issue of WAR, Walberg has shown he is a RUBBER STAMP for the administration. Is that representative of the Michigan 7th?
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