Friday, February 16, 2007

Iraq Debate Highlights - Revised

I haven't watched every speech, however these are the ones I've seen that stuck in my mind. They are all Representatives who voted for the Iraq Resolution, quite frankly this is due to my own impression of the management of the war and their arguments were based on fact and not rhetoric.

Representative Tim Walz (D - MN)(video - text) - This was one of the people Al Franken was campaigning hard for last fall, and his directly addressing the Constitutional responsibility of oversight, and the lack of it over the last few years was great.

Mr. Speaker, no debate in this House is longer overdue. This debate has been going on for nearly 4 years in houses, in grocery stores, in workplaces, in houses of worship all across America. No greater responsibility rests with us, the people's representatives, than debating the decisions involved in waging a war. The decision to send our brave men and women into combat is not the end of our responsibility, it is the beginning. This body has a sacred duty to protect this Nation, our citizens, and especially those we send into combat in our name.
Representative Steven LaTourette (R-OH) (video - text)- I liked this one a lot, very matter of fact and strong without rhetoric.

If I thought that the presence of 21,500 additional American troops in Iraq would quell sectarian violence and stop the killing and aggression towards Americans in Iraq, I would support it. If I thought that the presence of 21,500 new American troops would cause the Maliki government to get their house in order and their country in order and make the Iraqis step up and do their duty to protect their country, I would support it.

Instead, we find ourselves with an Iraqi security force that has more time in training than the young people that we are sending from our country to defend theirs, yet they cannot get the job done. It is time to ratchet up diplomacy, make the Iraqis accountable for their own security, and kick off the training wheels that we have tethered them to.
Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH) (video - text)- This was a bruiser

With the last vote for the war, regardless of what party you were in or how you voted, we assumed that the President and the Secretary of Defense would send our troops over there with the proper equipment. But with this escalation, Mr. Speaker, we know that the 21,500 troops that are going to go over there will not have the proper Humvee kits, the up-armor for their HUMVEES. They won't have the proper jamming devices or enough of them, and they won't have the number of trucks that they need.

You now know it. So if you vote against this resolution, you are voting to send our troops over there without the proper equipment, before it could be excused because we trusted the President, assumed, but now we know.
Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) (video - text) -I met Rep. Upton years ago when I lived in Michigan, and he really impressed me as a straight shooter. He lived up to my impressions this day.

Mr. Speaker, I am one that believes that the vote authorizing the war was based on evidence that was flat-out wrong. Let’s not continue to ignore the real situation and the mistakes of the past. It is time, it is time for the Iraqis, not the United States, to lead after 4 years. We need to send a message to our troops that, yes, we support them, and, for this administration, a signal for them to pursue a diplomatic surge involving the region.
Representative Steve Israel (D - NY) (video - text)- This was a great one.

Our troops are not afraid of democracy being waged on the floor of the House of
Representatives. And, in fact, on the chance that our enemies are listening to this debate, let me suggest that this debate doesn't give aid and comfort to our enemies. It tells our enemies what democracy is about. So for our enemies who may be listening: welcome to democracy. This is what it sounds like, this is what it looks like, and this is what we are willing to fight for.

What our service members deserve to hear is the truth. What they deserve is a
government that confronts reality rather than simply hoping for the best. So here is the truth, Mr. Speaker: somewhere between those who believe that we can stay the course in Iraq indefinitely and those who believe that we should leave Iraq tomorrow is the painful truth. The truth is that neither of those options will work.

[snip]

I visited my VA hospital yesterday, and I saw men and women in wheelchairs and gurneys. It didn’t say Republican or Democrat on those wheelchairs and gurneys. When the time came, they went to fight for us. Our obligation is to stand by them, not with sound bites, not with policies that haven’t worked before, but with new ideas for a stronger country.

Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) (video - text) - He voted for the Resolution, however he did voice some of my observations that this resolution didn't do enough and limiting the debate and the ability to bring the amendments the Democrats and Republicans wanted was a disservice.

At this point, it seems clear to many that only Iraqi interests, not ours, can be advanced on the streets of Baghdad. U.S. and coalition forces were tasked as protectors of Iraq’s hard-won sovereignty, not referees in unchecked sectarian vendettas. From here, the surge looks much more like the status quo on steroids than a serious alternative policy to reach a realistic goal. Some way must be found to cut the Gordian knot that ties us to an Iraq strategy that says we can neither win nor leave.

2 comments:

Jill said...

Have you read the series in the Washington Post the last two days about how veterans are being treated at Walter Reed? Disgusting. Every Republican who gives lip service to "supporting the troops" but tolerates this MUST be confronted at every turn.

rmfretz said...

I finally caught up on the whole thing, and it's absolutely sickening.