Stockholm Syndrome, by Way of Baghdad


This interview with three new Democratic congressfolk, conducted by ABC's Charles Gibson, is fascinating. Quizzing three members from Kansas, Pennsylvania and North Carolina on what they'll do if the commander-in-chief wants to escalate the war, Gibson is so taken aback by Kansan Nancy Boyda's response that he presses her even further.

Gibson: Would you vote in favor of money to support another 20,000 to 40,000 troops in Iraq?

Boyda: I think we're going to vote to support what the commander in chief and head of military asks to do. At least, I am certainly going to vote to support it.

Gibson: If he wants the surge, he'll get it.

Boyda: Yes.… He is the commander in chief, Charlie. We don't get that choice. Congress doesn't make that decision.

Gibson: But the polls would indicate, and indeed, so many voters when they came out of the ballot box, said, "We're voting because we want something done about the war and we want the troops home."

Boyda: They should have thought about that before they voted for President Bush not once, but twice.

What the hell? What did Boyda have to say about this when she was running her shocking upset campaign?

Out of respect for the Iraqi people and in honor of the American patriots who have already died, we have stayed for over three years and helped Iraq restore at least minimal government functions. But our assistance cannot be a blank check extending indefinitely. "Stay the course" is a political slogan, not a military strategy.

News flash: "surge and accelerate" isn't a military strategy, either. It's a political slogan. Not even the proponents of the surge like Fred "Whatever" Kagan think a short deployment of 20,000 more troops will change the course of the occupation.

Look, there's something wrong with this. Democrats must know that the idea of slaughtering more American troops for no end is one of the least popular policy proposals ever. They have said before that they are against it. Do they really think the 2002 Joint Resolution precludes the Congress from exercising its right to fund or not fund military operations? Or are they so knee-meltingly terrified at the prospect of being blamed across the media and political spectrum if they don't give the CIC whatever he wants? It's the Stockholm Syndrome, kind of—they're so used to being captive to this moronic policy that they want to help it work.

NEXT: Saddam's Brain

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  1. But I thought all these new Democrat Congressfolk were elected to get us out of Iraq? Don’t tell me we were sold a bill of goods by politicians!

  2. I don’t see anything in the quote to support the assertion that Boyda actually supports Bush’s ideas. She pretty obviously opposes them, but doesn’t think there’s anything Congress can do if the President won’t change course. Or, she’s aware that Congress can force the President’s hand, but is afraid of the political consequences.

    It’s not Stockholm Syndrome, it’s despair or cowardice.

  3. I’m not sure who’s stupider: people who buy into the neocons’ propaganda or the people who thought that voting for the Democrats would change things.

  4. You know, last fall at the campus of KU, the libertarian group got into with the camus democrats. The main dispute, our cliam that the democrats are a bunch of chicken shits and that a vote for a democrat is a vote for Bush…hmmmm…needless to say i am not hocked about Boyda. I can’t wait until classes start (and warms up) so we can get back to calling the democrats out.

  5. kc,

    Perhaps you should spend more time in a communications class and less time heckling people.

  6. David, I hate to break this to you, but the Democrats were lying about getting the troops out of Iraq (well, maybe not Kucinich). I predicted several times on H&R before the election that the Democrats (including the Sainted James Webb) would end up rubber-stamping whatever the president submitted to them. That way, they could bask in any success, or blame Bush for any failure.

    All that “No Blood For BusHitler’s Oil” rhetoric the Dems spouted before the election was just propaganda to keep the Left Wing of the party excited. They really didn’t mean it.

    I know, you’ve been used. It’s okay, I felt the same way when Bush pere reneged on his “No New Taxes” pledge.

  7. Um…she’s right. Congress doesn’t make that decision. Congress can influence the situation, certainly.

  8. Thomas Paine’s Goiter, you are mistaking my short summary of the incident last fall as a complete discription of what word were said and the style we used (which is partly my fault since I was the one describing the incedent). Believe me, we tend to be freindly. Though I will admit the debates get heated sometimes. Also, I a psy major with a minor in comm 🙂

  9. I should add this, KU, like most campuses, is very very liberal. So, while we do tend to be friendly and informative when talking with people about libertarian ideas, we do not apoligize for being very direct in our apporach.

  10. The congress does not have to appropriate funding for additional troops if they choose not to.

    I, for one, was under the impression that they wouldn’t if such a decision occurred. Oh well.

  11. The Democratic-led Congress was sworn in yesterday.

    Maybe it’s worth waiting, I don’t know, until lunchtime of Day 2 before drawing conclusions?

  12. These troops are being sent so that opposition to the war will increase within the US (especially the Southeast) and The Iraq War will truly end.

    The troops who die in the surge die for the most noble cause of all — the cause of getting red State America to cry uncle and get all the forces out of there.

    Ppl h8 admitting that, but I really don’t see why. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a few troops for the greater good — and the greater good here is US out of Iraq.

    If the DemonRATS opposed the war, then the Republicans would keep their voter base and the US would be in Iraq forever. It is the lives of the future US troops, the ones that would otherwise be in Iraq from 2009 until forever that will be saved by the brave sacrifices of those sent to do the surge.

    Neither side, nor the moderator, is being honest about what is really going on here.

  13. We elected them on a platform of end-Iraq, end-corruption, yet once in power it’s sos:
    getting something for nothing
    class envy
    race card

  14. So, the electorate brings in the Republicans because they are sick of the Democrats raiding their wallets,…only the Republicans do it worse (well, they didn’t exactly raid the wallets, they just ran up the credit cards, so to speak).

    Now, the electorate brings in the Democrats because they are sick of the Republicans treating the military like their own set of toy soldiers,…only the Democrats turn out to be in on that, too?

    So, what (if anything) will turn the tide back the other way again? (I am not under the impression that anything in the next decade will turn the electorate towards the LP.)

  15. As I understand it from some of the conservative thinkers, once congress voted for the war they agreed to support any military action the president suggests, up to and including invading the rest of the world and planets as yet unknown to us.
    They said “yes” and they can never, ever change their minds.

  16. I don’t see any mystery here. The Dems believe (rightly so) that Bush’s failed war was their key to electoral success. Naturally they want an even bigger failure in 08. The “He’s the CIC” is bulletproof. I mean if you are pissed at your Democratic Congressman for rubber-stamping Bush’s war, what are you going to do? Vote for the Republican challenger? This is a no-brainer for the Dems, the more blood on the streets of Baghdad the better.

  17. Is this when I should feel there is hope for a third party, any third party, to make any substantial gain. Wouldn’t one think that a chicken shit blue congress combined with a dumb ass red CIC would be a perfect opportunity to make serious inroads?

    Nah, I didn’t really think so either.

  18. Come on folks, “Bring the Troops HOME!” is a fabulous campaign slogan – and a lovely bumper sticker – but a weak legislative policy because once you vote to “Bring the Troops HOME!” you are forever one of the Congress-folk that voted to “Cut and Run!” (2008 Presidential campaign slogan).

    You people need to reassert your cynicism of politicians, particularly during campaign season.

  19. Democrats must know that the idea of slaughtering more American troops for no end is one of the least popular policy proposals ever.

    Here, Mr. President. Have some more rope. Take all you want.

  20. I doubt it’s all as cut and dry as that.

    Scenario 1:
    – Dems vote to cut funding in order to force the hand of the executive to bring troops home.
    – Executive frames the action as Dems being against the troops by cutting funding for their weapons, armor, food, whatever.

    Scenario 2:
    – Dems talk about bringing troops back home, but continue to lay it at the feet of the executive.
    – Dems use the presence of troops in Iraq in 2008 as a tool to get a Dem president elected in the promise of bringing troops home.

    I think Scenario 2 is the sure winner for them. Or am I giving them too much credit for thinking that far ahead?

  21. I don’t see what David finds so mistifying about the comments of a Democratic Congressional freshman who was elected from a largely rural district that has Fort Riley in it and is to the right of Genghis Khan. Democrats apparently realize that while the polls clearly show that a substantial majority believes that the war in Iraq was a mistake, there is little evidence that there is a majority who support immediate withdrawal. If that changes, Democratic policy will change accordingly. This is a cheap shot, David, and I’m no fan of the Democrats.

  22. Uh, that was “mystifying”.

  23. “Or am I giving them too much credit for thinking that far ahead?”


    “He is the commander in chief, Charlie. We don’t get that choice. Congress doesn’t make that decision.”

    Right. Just salute and do what the boss man says.

  24. Some Democrats will back away from cutting off the Iraq adventure because they perceive themselves to be too politically vulnerable to take such a risky step.

    If this is the case, then the more confident those Democrats are of their political position, the more likely they will be to stand firm.

    If your kid is stepping up to bat, and looks intimidated, do you call him a wuss, or do you clap for him and shout “Let’s get ’em?”

  25. “If your kid is stepping up to bat, and looks intimidated, do you call him a wuss, or do you clap for him and shout “Let’s get ’em?”

    If you were my kid, I’d tell you to step into the pitch. Preferably head first.

  26. Here are my two scenarios, with one given; any plan will fail in Iraq.

    Scenario 1:
    Bush calls for more troops
    Dems vote to not give them to him
    Irag fails
    Repubs can argue* it is the Dems fault

    Scenario 2:
    Bush calls for more troops
    Dems vote to give them to him
    Iraq fails
    Dems unarguably equally culpable

    The Dems are asking themselves if they want to accept the first scenario and risk being pigeon-holed in ’08 as not “having what it takes” to win the war, or accept the second scenario and battle ’08 on all other issues.

    *I’m not saying it is a good argument, I’m just saying they will argue it.

  27. You can tell Boyda is new. She actually thinks “separation of powers” means something.

  28. You can tell Boyda is a Democrat. She actually thinks “separation of powers” means something.

    There, I’ve fixed that for you.

  29. Congress can defund the war. Congress can rescind the authorization of force. The President gets to decide how to prosecute the war with available resources, but Congress is not obligated to continue the war or replenish/augment the resources.

    Watch the Demos do that great classic dance, the Backpedal. You may have THOUGHT that the public changed the congress, in great part, to end the war, but they’ll find a way to explain how that wasn’t what the public said/wanted at all. I’ve been saying this kind of thing all along — anybody who has lived through a few periods of war could see it coming a mile away.

    The only way to send Congress a message that will stick is to send people who aren’t beholden to the party machines and who actually stand for something that you want to see happen. I know, that’s an almost forelorn hope in the modern age. But if we continue to elect people who don’t run on a clear promise to do particular things, or if we keep re-electing them despite clear evidence that they have reneged on their campaign promises, then we’ll continue to get crap like this. More importantly, people will continue to die.

    And while we’re at it, let’s send some of these “new members” (and many of the old ones, too!) to remedial constitution class. Gad.

  30. Replay | January 5, 2007, 12:17pm | #
    Democrats must know that the idea of slaughtering more American troops for no end is one of the least popular policy proposals ever.

    Here, Mr. President. Have some more rope. Take all you want.

    I’d laugh, except that the “rope” will be made out of the dead bodies of American troops and many more Iraqi civilians. That’s as grisly a prospect as lampshades being made out of human skin, as perhaps apocryphal folklore told us had happened to some Jews under Hitler.

    How cynical, to allow more Americans to die, just to secure a Democrat party president in 2008. Because that’s what the “have some more rope” strategy amounts to, no?

  31. Cab,
    Sorry but the Dems are not “unarguably equally culpable”. Iraq is universally acknowledged as Bush’s baby. He gets all the credit and takes all the blame. As far as congress is concerned, it’s all about supporting the troops. If the CIC sends em, then they have to support them, even as they criticize the decision to send them. They’re Teflon coated.

    Bush is nowhere near smart enough to adopt the slogan “cut and run” as strategy (and blame it on the Dems). So this tactic is pretty much guaranteed to work for the Dems. I predict Iraq will be an even bigger millstone for the Reps in 08.

  32. “How cynical, to allow more Americans to die, just to secure a Democrat party president in 2008. Because that’s what the “have some more rope” strategy amounts to, no?”

    What if it’s being done as the only likely way to end the war, and to avoid even more deaths?

    “I predict Iraq will be an even bigger millstone for the Reps in 08.” Yup. The Republicans in Congress are already fleeing the ship, but for all of their sycophantic loyalty to Bush for the past six years, he’s going to screw them, leaving us just as stuck in Iraq in Nove 2008 as we are today, and leaving the nominee in the unenviable position of having had to stand by his side throughout the next two years.

    There are actual loyal Republicans out there, but Dubya isn’t one of them. George Bush is all about George Bush, and will happily leave his party to hang if it will save him from having to admit he was wrong about something.

  33. President George W. Bush
    The White House
    Washington, DC 20500

    Dear Mr. President:

    The start of the new Congress brings us opportunities to work together on the critical issues confronting our country. No issue is more important than finding an end to the war in Iraq. December was the deadliest month of the war in over two years, pushing U.S. fatality figures over the 3,000 mark.

    The American people demonstrated in the November elections that they do not believe your current Iraq policy will lead to success and that we need a change in direction for the sake of our troops and the Iraqi people. We understand that you are completing your post-election consultations on Iraq and are preparing to make a major address on your Iraq strategy to the American people next week.

    Clearly this address presents you with another opportunity to make a long overdue course correction. Despite the fact that our troops have been pushed to the breaking point and, in many cases, have already served multiple tours in Iraq, news reports suggest that you believe the solution to the civil war in Iraq is to require additional sacrifices from our troops and are therefore prepared to proceed with a substantial U.S. troop increase.

    Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried and that has already failed. Like many current and former military leaders, we believe that trying again would be a serious mistake. They, like us, believe there is no purely military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution. Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain. And it would undermine our efforts to get the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq.

    In a recent appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General John Abizaid, our top commander for Iraq and the region, said the following when asked about whether he thought more troops would contribute to our chances for success in Iraq:

    “I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the Corps commander, General Dempsey. We all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no. And the reason is, because we want the Iraqis to do more. It’s easy for the Iraqis to rely upon to us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future.”

    Rather than deploy additional forces to Iraq, we believe the way forward is to begin the phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months, while shifting the principal mission of our forces there from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counter-terror. A renewed diplomatic strategy, both within the region and beyond, is also required to help the Iraqis agree to a sustainable political settlement. In short, it is time to begin to move our forces out of Iraq and make the Iraqi political leadership aware that our commitment is not open ended, that we cannot resolve their sectarian problems, and that only they can find the political resolution required to stabilize Iraq.

    Our troops and the American people have already sacrificed a great deal for the future of Iraq. After nearly four years of combat, tens of thousands of U.S. casualties, and over $300 billion dollars, it is time to bring the war to a close. We, therefore, strongly encourage you to reject any plans that call for our getting our troops any deeper into Iraq. We want to do everything we can to help Iraq succeed in the future but, like many of our senior military leaders, we do not believe that adding more U.S. combat troops contributes to success.

    We appreciate you taking these views into consideration.


    Harry Reid
    Majority Leader

    Nancy Pelosi Speaker

  34. Honestly guys, do you know how Boyda got the seat in the first place?

    It was either her or Mr. I bought the house at its value, I swear!!! Jim Ryun.

    Boyda is known as a moderate Democrat and the reasons why she got elected in Kansas were because 1) She isn’t Jim Ryun 2) Howard Dean and 3) The education system in Kansas has been going down the pits, which is the reason why there is a Democrat Governor and now 2 Democrat House of Reps

    Boyda will more than likely take Jim Ryun’s place in Congress as the ‘just don’t listen to them’ seat.

    What’s most funny about her comment though is this:

    She’s obvious not in the ‘loop’ yet in DC.

    Frankly though, I would much rather have her in Congress than Ryun.

  35. If your kid is stepping up to bat, and looks intimidated, do you call him a wuss, or do you clap for him and shout “Let’s get ’em?”

    I’d prefer adults in Congress.

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