Friday, September 21, 2007

How Senate Republicans support our troops... or at least one of them

I'm already on record as criticizing's obnoxious 'General Betray-us' ad. But at the same time, I'm annoyed to see that the US Senate wasted time debating and passing a resolution to that effect.

President Bush spouted, Most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like - are more afraid of irritating them than they are of irritating the United States military,"... somehow ignoring the fact that resolution passed the Democrat controlled Senate by an almost 3-to-1 margin.

The vote came on the same day that Republicans blocked a bill that would've provided longer leave to troops serving in Iraq. The bill proposed by Sens. Jim Webb (a former Republican Navy Secretary under Ronald Reagan) and Chuck Hagel (a Republican), both military veterans, received 56 votes in favor, but short of the 60 required.

I imagine this might've caused a bit more 'irritation' in the ranks of the US military than a newspaper ad.

In the eyes of Senate Republicans, condemning some left-wing activist group is a higher matter of national importance than giving a break to the men and women fighting in Iraq supposedly for our freedom.

Soldiers are stuck in Iraq's hellhole ad infinitum with no plan from the White House and no demand of one from Congress. But at least some people have a plan... even if it's to score cheap political points while our soldiers and innocent Iraqis continue to die.


Jim Sullivan said...


Far be it from me to defend President Bush, but for once(I cringe) it sounds like he has a point. I think he is correct that many Democrats fear angering the political clout of Moveon.Org than of angering the troops in Iraq or Afganistan. There is enough blame for our military's predicament to go around for both Republicans and Democrats.

While I find the bickering and hypocracy of both side sickening, I find the General Petraeus ad sickening as well and though I would prefer them to work on more consrtuctive things, I like knowing where some politicians stand on something as offensive( to me) as MoveOn.Org's advertisement.

I'm generally disgusted by both sides but I find myself siding with the Republicans this time.

Until then, I'll say my prayers and hope that the two party system will go the way of the dinosaurs.

Brian said...

Their hypocrisy is astounding. Which do you think would offend the typical soldier more: some political ad or being forced to spend time ad infinitum in the hell that is Iraq?

If you want to know how politicians stand on MoveOn's ad, then call them up or email them. There are plenty of things I'd like to know politicians' opinions of but I'm not going to waste anyone's time by demanding they pass resolutions on everything that I'm curious about.

This resolution is nothing more than cheap symbolism and points scoring. It wasted Congress' time when there are far more pressing issues.

The juxtaposition of their refusal to offer REAL relief to the troops in the field while offering cheap symbolism on behalf of one particular soldier in Washington is what angered me.

Yes, there's plenty of blame to go around in general. But in this particular case, the moral equivalency line doesn't wash with me.

Brian said...

Also bear in mind that I've seen and heard countless comments that were at least as bad as MoveOn's ad. None of them merited a bloody Congressional resolution.

I'm no fan of MoveOn, as my previous essays have alluded to. But their newspaper ad, cheap shot it may be, did not put at risk the life of one single soldier.

The GOP's obstruction of relief to the troops put at risk the lives of 150,000 soldiers.

So why are they more interested in saying they support the troops than actually supporting the troops? Oh wait, because it scores politically.

Everyone should stop wasting time with emotional symbolism and start addressing real concrete issues.

Renegade Eye said...

The tactic is that MoveOn does a smear ad to a GOP candidate, while the Democratic candidates, can maintain plausible deniability.

The campaigns will only get dirtier. Could you imagine Hillary debating Rudy? Maybe they'll talk about an art gallery's controversial show. They have little else to disagree about.

PCS said...

Jim, Show a bit more respect for the intelligence of our military lower ranks. I'm sure the ad angered many soldiers. I'm willing to bet that many troops on the ground were asking themselves which war Petraeus was talking about. There is plenty of evidence that enlisted men are questioning how these wars are being prosecuted.

Jim Sullivan said...


I know there are more pressing issues. I said as much. What I'm also saying that I do like knowing where some in congress stand on this issue.

" Which do you think would offend the typical soldier more: some political ad or being forced to spend time ad infinitum in the hell that is Iraq?"

I have five friends there right now and I hear from them regularly. I know which one offends them more. Guess what. It isn't the one you think. I won't presume that my friends speak for the bulk of soldiers. You shouldn't presume that you speak for the bulk of them.

I also seem to remember saying that both sides have enough blame for this mess to go around, yet you continually bend the issue to put blame on republicans primarily. I find this odd for someone fed up with the two party system. Now I know you don't blame republicans exclusively and you can show me your posts to back yourself up. BUT. You hurt your case when you focus on the republican cause and only send parting shots at democrats and MoveOn.Org. Your post that you linked to mentioning the ad(a parting shot) still focused on the President and republicans. I want to be clear. I'm not defending them. I beleive blame can be spread liberally around.

But the tone of your posts is generally one way on this and many times it is striking in the essays of someone that tends to be more intellectually honest than these essays represent.

As far as the comments from PCS go,
I won't bother explaing myself to him.

Brian said...

So we're going to play the 'my friends' game? Ok, I have three friends over there right now. I've heard more than a few criticisms of Bush. I've NEVER heard any of them spend two words on MoveOn.Org.

I don't presume to speak for ANY of the troops, including my friends. I'm pointing out the hypocrisy of those who claim to care about the troops but do so in symbolism not reality.

I throwing in there that there's plenty of blame to go around. And that's very easy to say, but it becomes, I'm sorry to say, a cop out in the absence of specifics.

The reason I focus on Republicans on this twinned issue is because they were the ones who pushed the MoveOn resolution and they were the ones who obstructed the leave amendment. I'm sorry but those are not one-way opinions but demonstrable facts.

Brian said...

Incidentally, Jim, Democrats proposed a resolution that would've condemn both the MoveOn ad and, I believe, the Swift Boat ads against John Kerry and similar smears against parapelegic veteran Sen. Max Cleland. This was voted down by Senate Republicans. So as I see it, Senate Republicans weren't at all interested in condemning the tactics (as you seem to be and I concur). They were only interested in criticizing the direction of the tactics.

Mark said...

A perfectly reasonable response by any Senator to this ad, without needing any sort of silly resolution, would have been: "I have more important things to worry about than a newspaper ad, such as the actual safety of our troops and our overall Iraq policy."
game, set and match. Instead, the ad has maneged to strengthen Bush's position among moderates.

Jim Sullivan said...


It's not about the friends game. It was about speaking for the troops as awhole, which is how I took your post and your responses. I was mentioning my friends because what they tell me is at odds with what you implied in your post.

I'm sorry that you seem to take what I said personally. You see, whether I agree with you or not, I am often impressed with how fair minded you are. You point out that I am not( On my blog). Fair enough. I'm not. This post just came off as not as fair minded as usual for you and that surprised me.

Brian said...

I didn't take it personally. And I didn't think you were being unfair in your blog. I just thought you were criticizing me for something you did yourself.

Fairness does not mean neutrality. It means holding everyone to the same standard and if one side is more to blame than another, so be it.

I'm a bit confused. On one hand, you say I'm usually fair minded. But on the other hand, you say I "continually bend the issue to put blame on republicans primarily".

I can't say I see too many pieces in your blog criticizing Republicans or conservatives. If that's the way you see things, then fine. I don't think this precludes you from being fair minded.

In any case, the reason I "continually bend the issue to put blame on republicans primarily" is simple.

The president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces who ordered this war is a Republican. His vice-president is a Republican. His advisers are Republicans. His cabinet is Republicans. Most of his supporters in Congress are Republicans. Since the Iraq war started 4 1/2 years ago, Republicans have had total control of Congress for 4 of those years.

These are not my opinions. These are demonstrable facts.

This is not to say Democrats share no blame. And I've written about them. The blame is there, it's just a different kind of blame: spineless acquiesence until it became politically popular to do otherwise.

The reason I've continually placed most of the blame on Republicans is simply because for most of this war, they've held the levers of power. They've been the ones driving the decisions.

I have friends who agree with Bush on Iraq but I don't blame them the way I blame Bush simply because they're not in power.

I'm harsher on those in power than those out of power. To me, this seems reasonable. If Bush were a Democrat making the same decisions, I'd be criticizing him just as harshly. I don't speak for all the left (or anyone but myself), but I don't recall the left giving LBJ and Humphrey free passes on Vietnam in 1968 just because they were Democrats.

I accept my criticism is not neutral, because opinions are supposed to take a point of view, but I believe it's fair.

Jim Sullivan said...


Fair enough and well said.