22 February 2007

Pelosi Has Her Knickers In A Twist

Speaker Pelosi is claiming that recent comments made by Vice President Cheney questioned the patriotism of critics of the administration's current strategy in Iraq.
"I think if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting, all we will do is validate the Al Qaeda strategy," the vice president told ABC News. "The Al Qaeda strategy is to break the will of the American people ... try to persuade us to throw in the towel and come home, and then they win because we quit."
First, let's look at the Cheney statement. Cheney is criticizing the proposals being suggested by Pelosi and Murtha regarding America's continued involvement in Iraq. While none of the current news items that I could find online quoted Cheney specifying any given proposals, one could presume that the Vice President was at least referring to the non-binding resolution that passed the House last Friday, and the statements by Murtha suggesting that the "surge" could be stopped by overloading defense spending bills with greatly restrictive conditions.

Last Friday, both Pelosi and Murtha voted for a non-binding resolution that claims to support the troops and oppose the President's plan to send roughly 21,000 reinforcements to Iraq. Three days before that vote, Pelosi said in a statement that, "After the Members of this body of the House of Representatives have fully debated the President's escalation proposal, we will have a straight up or down vote. In a few days, and in fewer than 100 words, we will take our country in a New Direction on Iraq. A vote of disapproval will set the stage for additional Iraq legislation, which will be coming to the House floor."

In an online interview last week, Murtha said of an upcoming spending bill for Iraq that, "This vote will limit the options of the president and should stop the surge." He also said, "We're trying to force redeployment [of troops outside Iraq], not by taking money away but by redirecting it."

So, both Pelosi and Murtha are against the administration's policy and appear to be for additional legislation against the administration's strategy in Iraq, including the placements of restrictions on military spending bills that would force an American retreat from Iraq. With that being the case, then the accuracy of Cheney's statement would hinge on whether or not Al Qaeda's focus is to also get the U.S. to quit the fight in Iraq and get our troops out of there. I think that the record would indicate that Al Qaeda wants the U.S. out of Iraq without a victory.
"If our intended goal in this age is the establishment of a caliphate in the manner of the Prophet and if we expect to establish its state predominantly-according to how it appears to us-in the heart of the Islamic world, then your efforts and sacrifices-God permitting-are a large step directly towards that goal.

"So we must think for a long time about our next steps and how we want to attain it, and it is my humble opinion that the Jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals:

"The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq."
Ayman al-Zawahiri, 09 July 2005

"The first step towards achieving stability in Iraq is expelling the Crusader armies by force, and then punishing the leaders of the parties - for example the parties [headed by] Al-Ja'fri, Al-Hakim, Al-'Alawi, and Tareq Al-Hashemi - who lied to the people and told them that the best way to expel the occupiers was to participate in the political process."
Osama bin Laden, 02 July 2006
I have just made the argument that Cheney's statement appears to be accurate, in that Pelosi and Murtha want, in general, the same outcome as Al Qaeda in regards to getting our military out of there as soon as possible. I'm not suggesting that Pelosi and Murtha want that outcome for the same reasons as Al Qaeda, but they do want a very similar outcome in Iraq.

Stating that, however, is not the same as questioning the patriotism of Pelosi, Murtha, and any other critics of the war. If it is, then the Democrats have been questioning the patriotism of those who support our troops and their mission for some time. Read the following statements made last fall by Democrats and then, applying the rules as Pelosi appears to be applying them to the Vice President's statement, tell me whether they are simply criticism, or if they are questioning the patriotism of the President and the administration.
"After three and a half years of war in Iraq and nearly 2,700 American lives lost, our own independent government agencies are saying that the incompetence of the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy is radicalizing and inspiring the creation of terrorists around the world."
Rep. McCollum, 25 September 2006

"Contrary to the president's assertions, our failed strategy in Iraq has exacerbated the threat against us. The president says that fighting them 'there' makes it less likely we will have to fight them 'here.' The opposite is true. Because we are fighting them there, it may become more likely that we'll have to fight them here."
Rep. Harman, 26 September 2006

"So things have gotten worse with our troops on the ground. What I'm saying is, our troops are the targets. They help recruit terrorists. That's the thing that worries me. We need to have a bipartisan solution to this thing."
Rep. Murtha, 29 October 2006
So, what is tough-as-nails Pelosi going to do about it? Is she going to make a convincing argument to the contrary? Is she going to ignore Cheney and take the coveted moral high ground? No. She's going to tattle.
"And you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to call the president and tell him I disapprove of what the vice president said," Pelosi said.
Now there's leadership.


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