Ron Paul

Timetables of the Reconstruction

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The Democratic House passed their benchmark-setting Iraq supplemental just now by a 218-212 vote, with a few conservative Democrats, some left-wing Democrats, and all but two Republicans (Jim Gilchrist of Maryland and Walter Jones of North Carolina) voting no. (I assume Ron Paul voted no because he opposes war funding with or without strings.)

The House bill includes military funding beyond the level requested by Bush, adding money for health care for returning service members and veterans in the wake of a scandal over the treatment of wounded outpatient soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Dubbed the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans Health and Iraq Accountability Act, the bill requires the Pentagon to stick to its standards for training and equipping combat troops being sent abroad. It also enforces rules that limit the tours of deployed troops to no more than 13 months and stipulate that they have to stay home for at least a year between tours.

This sounds like Murtha's "death by a thousand cuts" plan of a month ago, which was torn up in the media but, well, not where it counts. Malkin lists the pork projects that allowed the bill to pass, and speculates about defeat for the Dems who voted for it. I think the pork will be more politically harmful than the withdrawal provisions—those are less politically popular than the Dems' minimum wage, but not by much. A fight between "end the war" Democrats and "more war forever!" Republicans is exactly what Pelosi wants.

UPDATE: Paul's office directs us to his Tuesday statement on the bill:

This $124 billion appropriation is only part of the nearly $1 trillion in military spending for this year's budget alone. We should be concerned about the coming bankruptcy and the crisis facing the U.S. dollar.

We have totally failed to adapt to modern warfare. We're dealing with a small, nearly invisible enemy–an enemy without a country, a government, an army, a navy, an air force, or missiles. Yet our enemy is armed with suicidal determination, and motivated by our meddling in their regional affairs, to destroy us.

And as we bleed financially, our men and women in Iraq die needlessly while the injured swell Walter Reed hospital. Our government systematically undermines the Constitution and the liberties it's supposed to protect– for which it is claimed our soldiers are dying in faraway places.

Only with the complicity of Congress have we become a nation of pre-emptive war, secret military tribunals, torture, rejection of habeas corpus, warrantless searches, undue government secrecy, extraordinary renditions, and uncontrollable spying on the American people. The greatest danger we face is ourselves: what we are doing in the name of providing security for a people made fearful by distortions of facts. Fighting over there has nothing to do with preserving freedoms here at home. More likely the opposite is true.

Surely we can do better than this supplemental authorization. I plan to vote no.

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  1. You would be correct that Paul voted “Nay”.

  2. but is David correct about the reason Paul voted no? that’s what’s in question.

  3. I’m still not clear on whose votes the pork was supposed to buy.

    Conservative Dems who don’t want to vote to end the war?

    Progressive Deams who don’t want to vote to fund the war?

  4. Ron Paul is way too sensible to be a congressman. How does he get re-elected? In Texas?

    Has Ms. Malkin (or is it Jesse?) listed the porky details of previous “emergency” Iraq / Afghan supplementals?

  5. d.s.,

    Flag waving, immigration enforcement, and abortion.

  6. Maps and Legends?

    nice title 🙂

  7. Joe-The pork buys the votes of the folks back home and ensures campaign contributions from the beneficiaries.

  8. Weigel sees what you can’t see, can’t you see that?

  9. My own Congressman, Sam Farr (author of H413, the “Repeal the Use of Force Resulution” bill and known for his previous votes against war funding) voted “Yea” this time around.

    Apparently, what got Farr’s vote was the chance to set limits on our occupation in Iraq, and to bring some pork back home to the nation’s salad bowl, which was hard-hit by the spinach e coli scandals of a few months ago.

    The whole thing makes me angry. Especially when major issues of life and death are on the table, these hodgepodge bills, which mix funding, policy, and unrelated pork in order to attract the largest number of votes, are very offensive to me.

    By coming out “strongly” against this bill, the White House guaranteed that the Demo partisans would fight all the harder to pass it. But of course, the bill itself contains MORE funding than the President requested, and also buys a lot of time for the White House to dig us in deeper, as it puts the Congress on record as supporting a timetable that guarantees we’ll be involved in Iraq for at least the next couple of years. If they “get their way,” over the President’s lame-duck body, the congress will be hard-pressed to cut funding back later, or switch to a more compressed timetable. And of course, the longer we stay in Iraq, the more chance there is that something could happen to make the public oppose a pullout, and perhaps even support an escalation. This all reminds me of old comedy movies, in which the con man would, during a back and forth shouting match, manipulate the demands of some aggrieved person until that person was — in his own loud voice — demanding that the con man do what benefitted the con man most. I think Bugs Bunny may have used that trick a time or two, as well.

    Yeah, keep telling yourselves that W is dumb. Right…. In the meantime, good, patriotic Americans will continue to die and billions of dollars — THE ENTIRE LIFETIME PRODUCTIVITY OF SMALL CITIES — will be flushed down the drain.

    After being so proud of Mr. Farr for introducing H413 (a real measure that actually could have made a difference, if anyone will ever pursue it seriously), I am disappointed and even saddened that he — like so many others who assert their opposition to this war — has let himself be used in this way.

    Once again, Mr. Paul is our compass needle.

  10. All but two Republicans voted “yes” for a plan to condition funding on bringing the troops home? The article says:
    Republicans assailed the inclusion of spending for what they called pork-barrel projects in the bill, charging that the Democrats were buying votes with sweeteners of special interest to individual lawmakers. Republicans also denounced the bill as an effort to “micromanage” the war in Iraq and said it would guarantee the failure of the U.S. military mission there.

    Don’t you mean the Republicans voted “no” as a block?

  11. Number 6,

    So you don’t think the pork was intended to get anti-resolution Congressmen to change their votes? It was just pork for pork’s sake?

    I disagree. This is too high-profile, and the pork too unrelated to the issue at hand. There was a serious political cost to the leadership for putting this pork is – they look like weasely porkers. No, porky weasels – and it distracts from their victory/execution of the public’s will. Why not just put those things in a later, lower-profile, guaranteed-to-pass bill?

  12. Dude, Paul is from Austin which is not exactly a notorious hotbed of hickoracist conservatism.

  13. Dubbed the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans Health and Iraq Accountability Act…

    What? Where’s the cute and oh-so-coincidentally related acronym (USA PATRIOT Act, No FEAR Act)? Someone forgot that you come up with the acronym FIRST.

  14. “”Has Ms. Malkin (or is it Jesse?) listed the porky details of previous “emergency” Iraq / Afghan supplementals?”””

    Probably not, the pork is a great meal when sitting on “their” dinner table. When it’s on someone elses, they hate it and act like it’s wrong. They view it as wrong simply because it’s NOT on their table.

    The house is just trying to show some clout, but it will not pass the Senate. Not a chance.

  15. Meet the new boss…

    same as the old boss…

    From Matt Taibbi’s “The Worst Congress Ever” (he was writing about the 109th, but the bass beat for the 110th seems about the same–except these guys work in the daylight hours):

    “Rather than seeking broad consensus, the leadership cooks up some hideously expensive, favor-laden boondoggle and then scales it back bit by bit. Once they’re in striking range, they send the fucker to the floor and beat in the brains of the fence-sitters with threats and favors until enough members cave in and pass the damn thing. It is, in essence, a legislative microcosm of the electoral strategy that Karl Rove has employed to such devastating effect.

    “A classic example was the vote for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the union-smashing, free-trade monstrosity passed in 2005. As has often been the case in the past six years, the vote was held late at night, away from the prying eyes of the public, who might be horrified by what they see. Thanks to such tactics, the 109th is known as the “Dracula” Congress: Twenty bills have been brought to a vote between midnight and 7 a.m.

    “CAFTA actually went to vote early — at 11:02 p.m. When the usual fifteen-minute voting period expired, the nays were up, 180 to 175. Republicans then held the vote open for another forty-seven minutes while GOP leaders cruised the aisles like the family elders from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, frantically chopping at the legs and arms of Republicans who opposed the measure. They even roused the president out of bed to help kick ass for the vote, passing a cell phone with Bush on the line around the House cloakroom like a bong. Rep. Robin Hayes of North Carolina was approached by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who told him, “Negotiations are open. Put on the table the things that your district and people need and we’ll get them.” After receiving assurances that the administration would help textile manufacturers in his home state by restricting the flow of cheap Chinese imports, Hayes switched his vote to yea. CAFTA ultimately passed by two votes at 12:03 a.m.”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/12055360/cover_story_time_to_go_inside_the_worst_congress_ever/1

    mmmmm…

    sausage…

  16. Timothy,

    I looked it up and he’s actually TX CD-14 which is mid-Gulf Coast. Galveston and such.

  17. Wow, except for the parts about threatening their members, holding the vote late at night, holding the vote open in violation of the rules, and the war funding bill being cooked up the Congressional leadership that comparison to the CAFTA bill is spot on.

  18. and all but two Republicans (Jim Gilchrist of Maryland and Walter Jones of North Carolina) voting yes. (I assume Ron Paul voted no because he opposes war funding with or without strings.)

    All but two Republicans voted no, not yes.

  19. I feel really dumb for having to ask this, but what’s the status of the Senate funding bill?

  20. there were no threats to limit anyone’s access to the gravy train if they didn’t vote right?

    you know this?

    it was all carrot, no stick?

    I guess I’m not paying enough attention…

    (to my navel)

    the vote passed by 6 votes and many were inspired to back it by porky favors doled out to the fence sitters

    I think the comparison to the 109th is close enough for government work

    it may not be a perfect repeat, but it certainly rhymes

  21. there were no threats to limit anyone’s access to the gravy train if they didn’t vote right?

    See here:
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3223.html

  22. Ron Pauls says:

    Fighting over there has nothing to do with preserving freedoms here at home.

    He’s right. Fighting over there is all about perserving our right to cheap oil.

  23. Snow says Veto, no doubt
    Such course not taken until now
    Temper tantrum Veto?

  24. haiku so last week
    armchair intellectuals
    argue warming trends

    high#:
    backatcha

    (maps and legends has been in my head all day)

  25. Frunobulax,

    I’d say this process was similar to those aspects of the 109th Congress that are common to all Congresses, but bears no resemblance to the features of the 109th that made it unique.

  26. Veto?

    You mean, cut off funding for da troops in da field?

    Because of political reasons?

    Look, Mr. President, whatever you thought about this war when it began…

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. That felt good.

  27. Joe- I think you give the Congresscritters too much credit. Or not enough. It depends on how you look at it. From a politician’s perspective, tossing pork into the defense bill is a no-lose proposition. It will pass. No one wants to be seen as voting against the troops. (The Rs have the advantage of being able to claim it was about the deadline.) In two weeks, few people will remember the pork. But the Congress member will remember to tell the folks back home about the wonderful things he has done for them.

  28. There was a serious political cost to the leadership for putting this pork is – they look like weasely porkers. No, porky weasels – and it distracts from their victory/execution of the public’s will.

    Hear, hear (except I don’t really believe there is an electoral mandate to withdraw from Iraq before the next election).

    Why not just put those things in a later, lower-profile, guaranteed-to-pass bill?

    Because that would require one Congressman to take another one at his word. Apparently, they know each other too well for that.

    Buying votes is apparently strictly a cash business.

  29. “”He’s right. Fighting over there is all about perserving our right to cheap oil.”””

    How’s that working out for us?

  30. $3.31 per gallon, now that’s cheap oil worth dyin’ for.

  31. You know, the position “that can’t possibly be what Bush wanted to do in Iraq, because it hasn’t happened” isn’t exactly an irrefutable argument.

  32. Paul’s comments seem stupid to me. This was the real attempt to tell Bush to bring our boys home, and the goofy GOP members who ‘oppose’ the war voted against this, because THIS bill is micromanagement. Why don’t these GOP puss@*s just say “I’m all for the war, period” and be done with it. It’s comical to see the two dozen or so who want to have it both ways. Let’s not be confused about it: the Dems are acting in ways opposed to the war and the GOP has been working to block measures opposed to it.

  33. after reading the replies at aaron’s politico link, I gotta say that the craven way some folks throw around the “support our troops” rebel yell is vulgar and disgusting

    prior to getting defrauded into this war of aggression, the war-piggies and zealots where I live festooned the city in “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS! LIBERATE IRAQ!” signs (as though our soldiers’ fondest wish was to be defrauded into shipping overseas to take part in a clusterfuck of a belligerent occupation)

    4 years later, I guess the soldier worshipers figure their nominal heroes haven’t had enough of the camaraderie and esprit de arms they see on the television commercials, so any suggestion to get them out of harms way and out of the abject failure that is our adventure in Iraq is somehow “not supporting our troops”

    support your housekeeper!

    make more messes!

  34. What? Where’s the cute and oh-so-coincidentally related acronym

    U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans Health and Iraq Accountability Act

    US-TRVIA

    They spell as well as H&R posters.

  35. If Weigal wasn’t just a shill for the Rems, maybe he’d know that he’d get a lot more indie hipster rock credit if he wrote headlines like

    The Country with the Perpetual Violenceness

  36. In August 2004 in Baghdad, Sgt Terry Prater saved a young soldier’s life by shielding the badly wounded soldier with his own body. Sgt Prater was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery. The young soldier was my nephew, SP4 Tim Ngo, who was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor. Tim had tried to throw a live grenade away from his fellow soldiers when it went off. On Mar 17, 2007, SSG Prater was killed in Iraq, on his second tour.Tim is alive, 100 % disabled with a new fiber glass skull.

    How many more Sgt Praters and Tim s will die before all the Dumbos realize that this is not a movie. The blood is real, the pain is real, and the emptiness in the lives of Sgt Prater’s two children is real.

  37. I’d find it shocking–shocking!–if our politicians, here in the United States of America, put pork into a very important bill like that. Pork? …in a bill about a war? For goodness’ sake, whoever heard of such a thing?!

    P.S. Why should we care about what Malkin thinks?

  38. So what does everyone think of Iran grabbing those British marines?

  39. Wayne Gilchrest, not Jim Gilchrist. I was kind of surprised for a second, thinking Maryland had sent the leader of the Minutemen to Congress.

  40. Paul’s statement is a shining beacon of glorious truth followed by (imho) a total non-sequitur. “We can do better” than the bill on the floor? At least throw me a bone and tell me a thing or two you disliked about it, Ron.

  41. Gee, its “libertarian” commentary that uses an RNC propaganda talking point – ‘a thousand cuts’ – and reveals that the author goes to a habitual fabricator and out and out fruitloop, Michelle Malkin to become informed. Does it matter that the RNC and Malkin are rabid anti-libertarians or happily dishonest? I guess not. Good to see that Reason is degrading its way into becoming another National Review.

  42. ol Pete,

    I too have little to learn from the likes of Michelle Malkin, but lately I’ve been thinking about it a little differently…

    The National Review is pretty influential. If Reason Magazine became as influential as the National Review–at the expense of my eyeball… Well, strategically, as a libertarian, I’d have to call that pretty smart strategy.

    How did National Review get to be where it is?

    If you want to influence people, then maybe you have to give the people what they want. …and if the people want a food fight, then maybe you have to give ’em a food fight.

    I don’t know–it’s just a thought. …food fights certainly aren’t my cup of tea.

  43. Know your enemy

    I read Malkin’s paranoid and delusional partisan musings all the time.

    She’s a high-end daft commander…all sorts of low-end daft foot-soldiers go to her for their ideological marching orders.

    In fact, if Reason wanted to earn street cred, I think drawing Malkin into a fight could be a good way to do it.

    she’s so used to being assailed by libs, I betcha she’d make all sorts of tactical errors facing off against hardcore libertarians.

    “gaze upon my navel oh crypto fascist right-wing apparatchik of fright and doom…look at my navel and THINK!…behold the powers of the navel gazers!”

    and bunches of her daft foot soldiers would then come here and buy subscrips

    heh

    I crack me up

  44. Grand Chalupa,

    I’m agin it.

    I think it’s safe to say that we all are.

  45. Beautiful.

    The main thrust of the Democrat campaign this last cycle was that the conservatives were spending too much on pork, and that the war in Iraq was either wrong, or just poorly ran (depending on what district or state the pol was from).

    So the Democrats are going to defeat the war with pork spending, and by tying up the volunteer military with restrictions that will essentially make them unable to fight effectively in the short term.

    Just beautiful.

  46. “So what does everyone think of Iran grabbing those British marines?”

    It all depends on whether the boarding team entered into Iranian territorial waters or not.

    If so, Iran was well within its rights to apprehend them. If not, Iran’s diplomats have a whole lot of apologizing to do.

  47. The President is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, no matter who is in office. Putting restrictions on combat operations like this bill proposes to do is blatantly unconstitutional.

    If Congress really wants to stop the war, they should cut funding. That is within their Constitutional powers.

  48. “So what does everyone think of Iran grabbing those British marines?”

    I’m not a maritime lawyer or anything

    but the occupation forces sending armed men to board Iranian merchant freighters seems kind of, well, provocative

    if it’s irony that floats your boat:

    how about the irony that a big chunk of formerly Iraqi coastline (and corresponding deep water oil terminals) were awarded to Iran in the agreement that ended Iraq War I, making for a kind of “punishment boundary” on Iraq, and a source of reparation for poor beat-up-by-Saddam Iran

    (no good deed goes unpunished)

    the redrawn map gave Iraq a very narrow chunk of access to the gulf, smooshed in between Iran and Kuwait, a wedge, much wider across at sea than on land, and thus difficult to be certain of the border at any given point at sea

    http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42721000/gif/_42721549_gulf_map_416x270_4.gif

    looking at the map, it seems unlikely that Iranian merchant vessels would be meandering into (what’s left of) Iraqi waters, and thus subject themselves to being boarded by armed troops from the belligerent occupation next door

    someone’s being provocative

    maybe it’s Iran, looking to antagonize the wishing-they-weren’t-still-there Brits

    maybe the coalition forces engaged in a bit of imperial we-just-called-to-say-we-loathe-you irritant actions and garnered a more-hostile-than-projected response

    to make matters worse, the captured soldiers are said to now be in the custody of the Iranian revolutionary guard. With the revolutionary guard being postured as outside the Iranian-government’s purview, the negotiations for release will be much more complex/prone to circle jerks than we’d like, and likely to drag on

  49. Keeping in mind what Russ R and Mammy Nun (perceptively) have had to say in the matter it is important to note that this is not the first time that the Iranians have pulled this. Now in 04 it was something of the Foreign Office having to say “Oh, yes our lads crossed the line because of a navigational error and we’re awfully sorry, old chaps. Let the boys go, and we won’t do it again.”

    The first time “the lads” appeared to have made a mistake but this time it appears to be a deliberate provocation by Iran. Related to the UN resolution on the A-bomb? Who knows? It is nevertheless, there.

  50. What was that old phrase? “The perfect is the enemy of the good”?

    Boils down to two points: what is more important–getting out of Iraq or getting rid of pork?

    Haven’t noticed any US people getting killed over pork. Have noticed US people getting killed in Iraq. In my system of ethics, getting out of Iraq takes precedence.

    There are those whose priorities may differ.

  51. I’m not itching for another quagmire, but say Iran keeps doing this shit, abducting Western soldiers, killing our troops, etc, etc, etc.

    My personal wish is that Iran keeps taking overtly hostile actions like this and makes the decision an easy one.

    Nothing breaks my heart more then the fact that we put the well being of Muslim civillians above that of our own troops. Had we nuked Iraq the first week it would’ve saved American, and yes Iraqi lives in the end.

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