Why Won't the Dems Show Some Leadership on Iraq?

Terry Michael, current head of the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism, former spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, and quite possibly the original self-described "libertarian Democrat," has a must-read op-ed on the Dems and the Iraq War in today Washington Times.

His piece starts with an attack Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), the tonsorially challenged plagiarist, who told viewers on last Sunday's yakfest shows that "there's not much" he could do about a troop surge in Iraq. To the contrary, says Michael, who writes a script for Biden and the Dems--and everyone fed up with the war:

You certainly can do something about it, Senator. It's called leadership. You rise on the Senate floor. You say you were out of your mind to write a blank check for this hideous misprojection of American military power. And then you propose immediate withdrawal, just slow enough to maximize the safety of the 135,000 mostly young men and women you helped put in harm's way by your collusion with this elective war. You do what Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon had the guts to do last month, stopping just short of accurately labeling this public policy obscenity a criminal enterprise.

Michael continues, directing his ire at an opposition party scarcely worthy of the term:

Like millions of other Americans, I can no longer contain the primal scream I want to direct at the members of my party who declined to engage a real debate in the run-up to this completely avoidable misjudgment of old men and women, willing to send boys and girls to die for their ideological hallucinations and political cowardice....

Democrats like Mr. Biden had an opportunity to stop this madness before it started. Some of them actually shared the neoconservative pretensions of a new American imperialism. But most just quaked in their permanent campaign boots, fearing being labeled Cold War-style liberal wimps. They averted their eyes and closed their mouths instead of acting like a responsible opposition party four years ago.

So, trying to finesse their way out of their Faustian bargain, Democrats now engage in a transparent antiwar vamp, with limp proposals to implement the September 11 commission report and half-measures opposing escalation. And they receive aid and comfort from misguided and timid editorial pages, like those of The Washington Post and The New York Times, which also colluded with power in the run-up to Iraq instead of challenging it, and which now circumscribe discourse with the narrow frame of how best to muddle on through rather than promote an honest debate about whether to stay or go.

Where are the Gordon Smith's in the Democratic Party?

God bless Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Oregon), but when someone is asking where your party's version of him is, you suck.

Read all of Michael's "primal scream" here.

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  • Guy Montag||

    Seems that the system is a bit late on revealing the author, but I suspect from the 'don't just surrender Iraq, surrender America' tone that it might be a Weigel story.

  • Guy Montag||

    OUCH!

  • ||

    OK, so Biden stands up and proposes a motion calling for withdrawal. Say his motion passes both houses. Then one of two things will happen.
    Bush could veto it - in which case it dies, because the Democrats don't have enough of a majority to override. Or to impeach, for that matter.
    Or Bush signs it and ignores it, probably via a signing statement ("I undertake to follow this bill inasmuch as it does not conflict with my constitutional rights as commander-in-chief", say).

    Then what?

  • Guy Montag||

    ajay,

    Point of technicality: motions don't go to the President for signature, bills do.

    Biden could introduce language into the several military appropriations bills preventing the funds from being spent on efforts in Iraq and I suspect the vote on that would be about the same as when the House voted on withdrawal before, or on the Rangel draft bill.

    Sorry for my first comment, I failed to notice the lack of snark in the story. Absence of snark usually means absence of Dave Weigel :)

  • grylliade||

    'don't just surrender Iraq, surrender America'



    I've never understood this particular bit of legerdemain. How, exactly, is withdrawing from an illegal war that we had no business prosecuting in the first place "surrendering America"? I personally believe quite strongly that the President has no business calling up reserve troops (either actual Reserve or National Guard units) for anything other than a threat to the very existence of the United States. This war has not only destroyed the international credibility of the United States, it has destroyed our ability to prosecute a war in another part of the globe that might actually be necessary. What would happen if, say, North Korea invaded tomorrow? Where would we get the troops?

    I'm neither an anti-war protester nor an isolationist. But this is a war that should never have been fought in the first place, for a myriad of reasons. "Surrendering" in Iraq is merely recognizing what we should have known from the first, and it sure as hell isn't anything like surrendering America.

    OK, so Biden stands up and proposes a motion calling for withdrawal. Say his motion passes both houses. Then one of two things will happen.Bush could veto it - in which case it dies, because the Democrats don't have enough of a majority to override. Or to impeach, for that matter.
    Or Bush signs it and ignores it, probably via a signing statement ("I undertake to follow this bill inasmuch as it does not conflict with my constitutional rights as commander-in-chief", say).

    Then what?



    Or Congress could, y'know, cut the funding for the war. Or it could, ideally, impeach Bush for his extraconstitutional behavior, and remove him from office. If the Republicans had any balls, they'd have done it long ago. These "signing statements" have far too much of the stench of dictatorship about them. If refusing to execute the office that you swore to execute isn't grounds for removal from office, I don't know what is.

    But politically, the only thing the Democrats can do at this point is cut the war funding. Maybe Bush will cut other programs to pay for his "splendid little war," but Congress doesn't have to play along with his little games. Bush needs to learn that he's not some petty third-world dictator; there are limits on his power, and he needs to be a grown-up and learn them.

  • ||

    Guy,

    No, Weigel's redundant piece of tripe is about 4 posts up. This one actually has some thought behind it, which should have tipped you off that it wasn't him.

  • Eric Dondero||

    They are showing leadership. They're starting to support the President. While I would have never believed that Democrats could be Pro-America too, some of them are really starting to show that they realize the threat of Islamo-Fascism.

    Of course, Joe Lieberman has always been great on the War on Islamo-Fascism. Let's hope other Dems start following his lead.

  • ||

    "Like millions of other Americans, I can no longer contain the primal scream I want to direct at the members of my party who declined to engage a real debate in the run-up to this completely avoidable misjudgment of old men and women, willing to send boys and girls to die for their ideological hallucinations and political cowardice...."

    Opponents of the war never seem to have problems with patronizing our troops to score rhetorical points. Being for the war seems a lot worse if we're sending "boys and girls" to fight than if we're sending young men and women. Granted, some of our troops are quite young, but many are not, and even at 18 or 19 is not one grown?

    I'm not supportive of the war, mind you, I just hate this condescending attitude towards our troops.

  • ||

    We just bombed (real!) terrorists in Somalia no problem. Leave Iraq, the worst it could turn into is another Somalia, then why not bomb terrorists at will in Iraq then? There is not much opposition to hitting Al-Qaeda.

  • ||

    From the cacophony of Hindsight Visionary voices in the halls of power (elected by the massively distracted), it seems to me the only Weapons of Mass Destruction we have ever had to fear is US. Osama provided a little activation energy, that's all.

    Or maybe this is all somehow healthy? War Crimes trials anyone?

    Also, to Andy's point, I thought this was the oldest (average age) military in history?

  • Sam Franklin||

    Yup. There are a lot of angry anti-war people out there and their time is finally here. Eat it Red State America. Choke on it.

    Can't wait to move back to the States now that Hannity is out and sanity is in.

  • Sam Franklin||

    We just bombed (real!) terrorists in Somalia no problem. Leave Iraq, the worst it could turn into is another Somalia, then why not bomb terrorists at will in Iraq then? There is not much opposition to hitting Al-Qaeda.

    Collateral damage. That's why.

  • ||

    Just for the record, I am not pro-War, nor Red, nor Blue just disappointed with the internal strife we've gotten from all this...

  • ||

    "this completely avoidable misjudgment of old men and women, willing to send boys and girls to die for their ideological hallucinations and political cowardice"

    I stopped reading at that point. If the best thing you have to say is "old people sending young people to die", you are an idiot.

    This guy screams for a debate and then proceeds to spend collumn inch after collumn inch not having one. There is a lot of honest debate going on, there just are not easy sollutions. Basically in this guy's view, anyone who doesn't engage in a primal scream of hyperbole about criminality is not engaging in honest debate. There are more reasoned positions on Daily Kos.

  • ||

    This guy screams for a debate and then proceeds to spend collumn inch after collumn inch not having one.

    Incorrect. He excoriates Democrats who in reality did not agree with the war to begin with for NOT having the debate when it mattered. For Michael, the time for debate is long passed.

    His primary criticism in this piece is against Democrats poor leadership on the very issue that got them elected in the firstplace who are rolling over and saying "there's nothing we can do.

    While I agree, John, that the "old people sending young people to die" sentiment is a bit lame, the followup phrase "ideological hallucinations and political cowardice" kept me going.

    No matter which side of the fence you're on, one can't deny that Democrats are caving in on the issue they won on and are showing themselves to be the venal scumbags we always knew they were.

    Their duplicity on this issue is one of the most sickening things I've witnessed our elected officials do. If I didn't hate and despise politicians before, I do now.

  • Guy Montag||

    jf,

    No, Weigel's redundant piece of tripe is about 4 posts up. This one actually has some thought behind it, which should have tipped you off that it wasn't him.

    Agreed, but I usually look for snark. My snark detector was inop this AM as I was gathering myself for work. When the day star is up, I am an Evil Goon* but by night I am a celebrity Hybrid Driving** Time Person of the Year.

    Will leave the cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys to debate with themselves on this one.

    *Evel Goon certified by Sam Franklin
    **Hybrid Driver certified by Eve Fairbanks

  • ||

    "If I didn't hate and despise politicians before, I do now."

    Welcome to the club, madpad.

    There is no reason whatsoever to expect professional career politicians (of any party) to behave in a principled manner. They are lying, self-aggrandizing sociopaths who believe in nothing but than their own ascension to power.

  • :-||

    an illegal war...This war has destroyed the international credibility of the United States...Congress could impeach Bush for his extraconstitutional behavior...Bush needs to be a grown-up...

    My, my, my. That little tantrum has earned you a time-out in the corner, grylliade.

  • Guy Montag||

    Style suggestion:

    I propose that when using the word "reason" or variants, in this forum that it be bolded, sort of like how USA Today uses USA for anything remotely referring to the United States.

    Sound Reasonable?

    Unrelated: My, my, my. That little tantrum has earned you a time-out in the corner, grylliade.

    I doubt that that user reads The Corner much, unless one of the writers here is picking on Mr. Goldberg.

  • Sam Franklin||

    Guy, you seem to be stuck on this evil goon thing. I did not certify that you are an evil goon. Lets go back over what I did say so that we can determine whether you, specifically, are a certified evil goon or not.

    This thing started when somebody on another thread said:

    If someone claims to be a member of Al Qaida, I think that they are fair game for the US military wherever they are.

    Tell me where I am wrong.


    So I replied:

    Correction: if you can prove that someone claims to be an Al Queda member, then they are fair game.

    The US military and their contractors often skip the proof part, do their killing, end up killing non-Al Queda brown people and then simply excuse themselves with a selfserving invocation of "collateral damage." Skipping the proof like they do is evil and it is why US military cointractors [sic] are, for the most part, evil goons. Cuz they help accomplish the evil.


    Now I can't certify that you, personally, Guy, do any of these things. If you want to get certified, then that info needs to come from Guy himself.

    Do you understand that some large, but undisclosed number of brown civilians get killed by the US military in its current foreign adventures?

    Do you believe in skipping the proof part when strafing alleged AQ's or renditioning them extraordinarily? Do you support others who would have us skip the proof part?

    When people skip the proof and cause innocents to be killed, do you excuse this kind of conduct with selfserving invocations of "collateral damage?" Be honest.

    Does the financial health of your employer improve when there is more US involvement in war, rather than less?

    Once we have answers to these important questions we will know much better whether you, Guy, are an evil goon or not.

  • Guy Montag||

    If I really don't care what color their skin is can I have my title back?

  • Sam Franklin||

    If I really don't care what color their skin is can I have my title back?

    now we really won't know the answer to this until the powers that be decide to strafe some white people. I'll let you know if that happens and then you can tell us what you think about it.

  • Guy Montag||

    Sam Franklin,

    now we really won't know the answer to this until the powers that be decide to strafe some white people. I'll let you know if that happens and then you can tell us what you think about it.

    I believe that was done in enough volume during WWI and WWII to have the current strafeing lost in the rounding.

    Now, go back to whining at others.

  • Sam Franklin||

    they strafed civilians in WWI and WWII. that is news to me, but if you say it happened, I guess it happened. How did you feel about the Japs strafing white US civilians when that happened? Just a touch of collateral damage? Nothing to see here? All is fair in love and war?

  • Guy Montag||

    Man, you need some help from another thread. Perhaps you should check out Dr. Szasz?

  • ||

    Why won't the Dems show some leadership on Iraq? Because they're pussies. Having integrity and being strong doesn't mean being a hawk, it means standing up for your beliefs and your principles. They're not doing that; they're playing dead to this clown of a President. They have the support of overwhelming majority of the American people in being opposed to the surge and they STILL play dead. Pussies.

    So what that they don't have enough of a majority to override a veto? Since when do you act only when it's guaranteed to succeed? Since when do you voice your beliefs only when you're guaranteed to convince enough to get a bill passed? That's what pussies do. Acting only when it's safe.

  • Guy Montag||

    Why won't the Dems show some leadership on Iraq?

    Because they are hyper political beings. The wrong thing to do in Iraq is to leave before it is stable, but the political thing to do is carp at those of us who wish for a peaceful (okay, more peaceful than Los Angeles is fine) Iraq. Just like you.

  • ||

    Guy, you're an idiot. Only an idiot assumes that those who advocate withdrawal wishes nonpeaceful Iraq.

  • ||

    "Where are the Gordon Smith's in the Democratic Party?"

    Yes, where are the Democrats who initially supported the war but have turned against it?

    Well, there's John Kerry. And John Edwards. You know - the most recent Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, who did exactly that OVER TWO YEARS AGO.

    But they are a minority of their party. The majority having opposed the war from beginning.

  • ||

    Reading Guy, John, and the like reminds me of watching a Wile E. Coyote cartoon.

    They haven't noticed that they've walked over the cliff yet, but we all have.

    The only thing funnier than that is the little puff of dust when they hit bottom in two weeks.

    "Surrendering America" "tantrum" "surrender monkeys"

    It's funny, because you think you're just about to grab the roadrunner, and you're the only ones who don't see what's about to happen.

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