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June 16, 2006
House Joins Senate In Defeating Cut-And-Run Strategy

One day after a near-unanimous vote against retreating from Iraq in the Senate, the House also rejected the cut-and-run strategy, although this time on a mostly party-line vote. Forty-two Democrats joined all but five Republicans in refusing to abandon the democratic Iraqi government before the Maliki government wants us to go:

The House of Representatives voted, 256 to 153, today in favor of a resolution promising to "complete the mission" in Iraq, prevail in the global fight against terrorism and oppose any "arbitrary date for withdrawal" of American troops.

The nonbinding but politically significant resolution was approved with just three Republicans voting against it and 42 Democrats voting for it. The measure also expresses gratitude for the valor and sacrifice of American and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and congratulates the new Iraqi government.

This morning's vote, coming after an emotional and partisan debate, was a victory for President Bush, who has declared that it is in the national-security interest of the United States to stay in Iraq until that country is secure. It was a victory, too, for the House Republican leadership. ...

The breakdown of the voting was as expected, largely along party lines. Two of the Republicans who voted no today, Jim Leach of Iowa and John Duncan of Tennessee, were among the few Republicans to vote against the use of force in Iraq in 2002. The other Republican who voted no today was Ron Paul of Texas, described by The Almanac of American Politics as an "isolationist" who supports "virtually no role" for the United States government overseas.

Five lawmakers answered "present" instead of voting yes or no. They were Walter Jones Jr. of North Carolina and Thaddeus G. McCotter of Michigan, both Republicans, and F. Allen Boyd of Florida, Brad Miller of North Carolina and Brad Sherman of California, Democrats.

Needless to say, the die has certainly been cast for the midterm elections. Where the Senate Democratic caucus largely abandoned John Kerry for the carbon-copy of the amendment he introduced on June 12, the House Democrats largely supported John Murtha's efforts. Perhaps the Senate actied thus because Kerry's amedment not only advocated a full retreat to an "over the horizon" position, but also instructed the President to convene a meeting to determine Iraq's future and to invite the governments of "bordering states" to participate in eliminating Iraqi self-determination, and two of the bordering states support terrorism: Iran and Syria. That isn't just a retreat, that's a full-bodied surrender.

The House measure had no such provisions, and Democrats may have felt more sanguine about just supporting a retreat and letting the Iraqis do the surrendering. This did nothing more than continue the debate from the 2004 election, one that the Democrats lost then when Iraq looked less promising than it does now. In the eighteen months since that election, the Iraqis approved their constitution by plebescite and elected their first permanent representative government, and over 200,000 Iraqis have joined their new security forces. They have improved steadily over that period, to the point where they completed by themselves over a third of the 450 raids conducted after the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Yet to listen to these Democrats, one would think that the earth had opened up and swallowed the region whole. Nancy Pelosi called it a "grotesque mistake". Murtha complained that the admnistration had no plan, although the White House has consistently outlined the plan and sent out a very detailed report last November that spelled out the Iraq strategy in detail. The Democrats may not like that plan, but the only plan they've offered in response is to run away (Murtha), or to run away and to surrender to Iran and Syria as well as the Arab League (Kerry).

And somehow, the House Democrats believe that these plans will resonate with American voters in November. Their Senate counterparts, other than Kerry and his Freak-Out Five, knew better.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 16, 2006 7:39 PM

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» They Voted Against Victory from The New American Citizen
Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass resolution 861. A resolution declaring support for victory in the war on terror and the war in Iraq. The vote was 256 in favor, 153 against. RESOLUTION Declaring that the United States will prevail in t... [Read More]

Tracked on June 16, 2006 9:33 PM

» Two Views of Iraq Situation from The Lone Elm
The juxtaposition of viewpoints can't be more stark. Al-Qaida apparently thinks that they are on the ropes, losing Iraqi popular opinion, money and new recruits. See Yahoo, Ralph Peters at NY Post, and ABC News. Strategy Page discusses the coalition's [Read More]

Tracked on June 17, 2006 5:36 AM


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