Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Rally the Veto! Say NO to the GOP surrender on Iraq!
Mr. Frist said an important reason for the Republican proposal was to offer an alternative to the Democratic call for a withdrawal timetable. "The real objective was to get out of this timeline of cutting and running that the Democrats have in their amendment," he said.See? The Republicans might have caved on the demands for withdrawal, but they held firm against cutting and running on a TIMETABLE.
To win the terror war, it is crucial that we NOT withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible. Our troops in Iraq are perfectly positioned to carry the fight to Iran and Syrian, and eventually, to take down Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. To commit to withdrawal is to commit to making Iraq our last action in the terror war. It is a commitment to win the battle but lose the war, just as we did in Vietnam.
Even the rejection of a timetable for withdrawal is apparently up for automatic review every three months. Call it a timetable for a timetable for withdrawal. The Senate is demanding that President Kerry live up to his campaign promise to have allies carry the burden for us in Iraq:
The proposal on the Iraq war, from Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, and Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, would require the administration to provide extensive new quarterly reports to Congress on subjects like progress in bringing in other countries to help stabilize Iraq.Yup, that’s what happens when a Democrat President wins on the strength of a campaign promise to subject America’s foreign policy to "a global test." The Democrat majority in the Senate is going to hold him to it!
Not surprisingly, the Democrat majority threw in other provisions to hobble the war on terror as well, in line with their philosophy that defeat for America means victory for the Democrats. For instance, there is the automatic do-over in the civilian courts for any terrorist who gets convicted by a military tribunal:
Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is the author of the initial plan, said Monday that he had negotiated a compromise that would allow detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to challenge their designation as enemy combatants in federal courts and also allow automatic appeals of any convictions handed down by the military where detainees receive prison terms of 10 years or more or a death sentence.And of course, we couldn't call it a Democrat majority if the Senate didn’t try to guarantee the terrorists freedom from discomfort:
The measure includes White House-opposed language that would prohibit the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees and standardize interrogation procedures used by U.S. troops. The Bush administration has threatened to veto any bill that includes language about the treatment of detainees, arguing it would limit the president's ability to prevent terrorist attacks.President BUSH????? You mean the Democrats did NOT win the election?
Conservative pressure recently rallied the President to take back one of his own actions: the nomination of Harriet Miers. Can it now rally the President to hold firm on what he has said he would do, and for the first time in his presidency wield the veto?
True, the Senate's actions are largely symbolic. The Pentagon already delivers a constant flow of reports to Congress on the Iraq war. The demand for quarterly reports is entirely superfluous. But what symbolism! The implication that our will is shaken, and prone to break at any moment.
Senate Republicans need to be evicted en masse and replaced with real Republicans. (Only 13 voted against The Warner Amendment’s timetable for a timetable for withdrawal.) In the meantime, it is up to We the People to raise our voices and demand that our representatives, including the President, represent our will.
"Political Settlement" is a call for undemocratic concessions to the enemyThe closer you look, the worse it gets. The Senate bill is not just a call for withdrawal, but for retreat from democratic resolution of Iraq’s political conflicts.
The plan also seeks to put pressure on the Iraqis to find ways to resolve their internal political turmoil, saying the "administration should tell the leaders of all groups and political parties in Iraq that they need to make the compromises necessary to achieve the broad-based and sustainable political settlement that is essential for defeating the insurgency.The necessary “political settlement” is the constitutional democratic process that is currently going forward. The only “compromise” to this process that is legitimate is the protection of minority rights, as necessary to turn a democracy into a republic (a system of liberty under law). If that is what the Senate means, it should say so. Generic compromise means compromising on the legitimate democratic process in order to accommodate the enemies of democracy, as Senator Feinstein made explicit when she used virtually identical language in an op-ed three weeks ago:
America needs to change course, reassess its mission in light of this escalating insurgency, place more responsibility on Iraq for a negotiated settlement, and begin a structured drawdown of American forces.The reasoning behind her call for a "negotiated settlement" was explicit:
This is not an insurgency single-mindedly propelling itself against U.S. forces, rather, at its core it is driven by visceral Sunni fear and objections to Shiite rule over the near and long term.This is a civil war, Feinstein was saying, between those who want democracy and those who don’t want democracy, and (like in Vietnam), civil wars are internal conflicts that the United States has no legitimate stake in. She wasn’t calling for us to help Iraq move towards a republican form of democracy. She was calling on us to cut and run, and thereby achieve another Democrat victory (another defeat for America).
The Republicans substituted "political settlement" for Feinstein’s "negotiated settlement," but retained her exact substance: no call for republicanism, only for withdrawal. Bastards.
Thou shalt not discomfit mass murderersWorst is the extension of civil court protections to enemy combatants, and the restrictions on using harsh methods to question even those who are involved in conspiracies to commit mass murder. Are these Senators representing us, or Al Qaeda?
The Senate was poised to overturn the Supreme Court's recent Rasul decision, where the insane Justices decided to extend habeas corpus rights (access to the civilian courts) to enemies captured on the field of battle. (If such rights are implied by the Constitution, how come the Court did not discover them in WWII, or the War of 1812, or any other war?)
Thank the founders, our brilliant Constitution contains a fail-safe against this ludicrous mis-interpretation. Article I, section 9, clause 2 allows the Congress to set aside habeas corpus rights in time of insurrection or invasion. We were invaded on 9/11, and every battle in the war against Islamofascist terrorism is aimed at destroying that invader.
If an idiot Congress wants to second the Supreme Court’s extension of civilian rights to enemy combatants, that is at least a constitutional use of its discretion. If instead it defers to the Court’s judgment, it is betraying the Constitution’s placement of authority over this matter in the hands of the political branches. The Congress IS deferring, hence it IS betraying.
It the Congress wants to provide some civilian court oversight in some cases, it should first explicitly deny that battlefield detainees have ANY habeas corpus rights (rejecting the Court's interpretation of the Constitution in Rasul v. Bush), then it should suspend those habeas corpus rights for battlefield detainees that the Supreme Court has presumed to interpret, then it should assert what limited procedures for civilian oversight that it thinks are appropriate, making absolutely clear that no such oversight is a matter of right.
Andrew McCarthy has a great piece on the consequences of empowering the civilian courts with oversight for the handling of those captured in war. He also has a great piece on the perfidy of the “McCain Amendment,” prohibiting physically coercive interrogation in all circumstances. His question "for each and every member of Congress who claims to support the McCain Amendment":
If we had credible information regarding an ongoing al Qaeda plot to detonate a nuclear weapon in the continental United States, and we had just taken into custody an al Qaeda militant who was in a position to know where and when the attack was to occur but who was refusing to cooperate, are you saying we would need to let thousands of Americans die rather than harm a hair on the terrorist's head in an effort to extract the information that might save them?
If the answer to that question is "no," you have no business voting for the McCain Amendment. If the answer is "yes," you have no business serving in a government whose first obligation is the security of the governed.
Rally the Veto!Lorie Byrd over at Malkin's place posts a Rally the Veto article article by Tony Blankley. Great stuff:
Now the Watergate babies ["young anti-war Democrats"] have grown old -- and age has not improved them. They plan to finish their careers as they started them -- in defeatism, betrayal and national dishonor. Oh, that America might see the last of these fish-eyed sacks of loathsome bile and infamy: Unwholesome in their birth; repugnant and stench-forming in their decline.
Articulate anger by H Bomb at Ankle Biting Pundits, but he ends on a foul note:
I’m looking for a reason to continue voting Republican. Can anyone think of one?What the litany of Republican cave-ins to the Democrat minority reveals is that we don't have a real Republican majority yet. The slim Republican margin makes the weak sisters in the party the swing votes, a la O'Connor on the Supreme Court. That calls for a stronger electoral effort next time. We just need a half dozen more solid conservatives so that Lincoln Chaffee and Olympia Snow and Chuck Hagel aren't the deciding votes anymore.
To talk of not voting Republican because of these setbacks is, I have to say it, a kissin' cousin to talk about pulling out of the fight in Iraq. Ankle Biters aren't quitters, are they?
Nice roundup by Hewitt.
Something similar is true of Damascus, where Assad's regime is in dire straits (though it is very possible that a strongly Islamic regime would replace the faltering Allawite Assad). An added caveat to this is the notion that the success of Lebanese sovereignty can act as a second 'soft-power' pincer on Assad's regime.
Military power can destroy armies and kill terrorists but it alone cannot win the battle of hearts and minds. While having 100,000 in Baghdad does act as a disincentive to repression or foreign policy adventurism, it is with the softer touch of diplomacy and covert support to anti-regime forces that we can make the most headway in the region.