April 26, 2007

Joe Lieberman Sends A Warning

Joe Lieberman delivered a speech today warning of the consequences that will arise from the passage of the troop-withdrawal bill that the House sent over to the Senate this morning. The Tank has the whole speech, and it should be read all of the way through, but here are a few highlights:

When we say that U.S. troops shouldn’t be “policing a civil war,” that their operations should be restricted to this narrow list of missions, what does this actually mean?

To begin with, it means that our troops will not be allowed to protect the Iraqi people from the insurgents and militias who are trying to terrorize and kill them. Instead of restoring basic security, which General Petraeus has argued should be the central focus of any counterinsurgency campaign, it means our soldiers would instead be ordered, by force of this proposed law, not to stop the sectarian violence happening all around them—no matter how vicious or horrific it becomes.

In short, it means telling our troops to deliberately and consciously turn their backs on ethnic cleansing, to turn their backs on the slaughter of innocent civilians—men, women, and children singled out and killed on the basis of their religion alone. It means turning our backs on the policies that led us to intervene in the civil war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the principles that today lead many of us to call for intervention in Darfur.

This makes no moral sense at all.

It also makes no strategic or military sense either.

Al Qaeda’s own leaders have repeatedly said that one of the ways they intend to achieve victory in Iraq is to provoke civil war. They are trying to kill as many people as possible today, precisely in the hope of igniting sectarian violence, because they know that this is their best way to collapse Iraq’s political center, overthrow Iraq’s elected government, radicalize its population, and create a failed state in the heart of the Middle East that they can use as a base.

That is why Al Qaeda blew up the Golden Mosque in Samarra last year. And that is why we are seeing mass casualty suicide bombings by Al Qaeda in Baghdad now.

Lieberman makes five specific refutations of the supplemental, and all of them are spot-on.

This speech has led some to wonder if Lieberman may not be warning Harry Reid and the rest of the caucus that he's about ready to leave. That would put the Democrats in the minority and the Republicans in the majority, effectively "firing" Reid. Allahpundit notes that it may actually have no effect, at least in terms of committee leadership assignments. The Democrats at that point might convince a Republican to switch to their caucus as well, perhaps Gordon Smith of Oregon or one of the gentleladies from Maine.

Perhaps, and perhaps. A majority can probably override that organizing resolution if they tried, and the Democrats would have to offer some mighty tempting considerations to get any Republican to defect on the basis of surrendering to the Iraqi insurgents. I think Lieberman may well be playing out the string here in hope that he can pull Reid back from the brink.


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Comments (22)

Posted by Gary Gross [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 12:02 PM

Lieberman's tour-de-force op-ed displays why he's one of the clearest thinkers in the US Senate.

It's time he joined the GOP. It's obvious there isn't a home for him in the Insane Left's echochamber.

Posted by Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 12:26 PM

"This makes no moral sense at all." You just aren't paying attention, are you Joe? What does morality have to do with it? IT'S ALL ABOUT THE VOTES!

I excerpted and linked at 2007.04.26 Dem Perfidy // Islamism Delenda Est Roundup

Posted by Lightwave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 12:35 PM

Lieberman needs to simply join the GOP at this point. At the very least he needs to caucus with the GOP and force a vote to change the leadership in the Senate. It would end the constant fishing by the Dems.

The WSJ's latest poll numbers show Reid's approval rating is still well under Bush's at 22%, with Pelosi at 30%...and Bush is gone in less than two years now. These Dems will be as well.

The Dems are constantly pointing at Bush's poll numbers, but they fail to mention that in EVERY INSTANCE Harry Reid's numbers are WORSE.

Who's out of touch with the American people?

Posted by OregonGuy [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 1:13 PM

Senator Gordo has some number problems back in his home state. He's turned his back on people who have worked hard to get him elected, and re-elected, and is toying with the idea of making "the Switch", first exhibited by our own "maverick" Wayne Morse, who switched during the late '50's. Unfortunately for Gordo, the left has an even leftier candidate on the rise. I'm not sure Gordo could win on the left....so...either way?

Gordo has problems trying to get re-elected.

Posted by Michael Smith [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 1:47 PM

As Lieberman demonstrated, Reid is completely detached from reality. Only a modern politician would think that we can fight al Qaeda in Iraq while staying out of the civil war they are busily fomenting. Only a modern politician would refer to the millions of Iraqi’s sitting on the fence trying to decide whether they can count on America – and then propose to win them over by abandoning them to al Qaeda’s butchers. And only today’s Democratic party would pass a bill based on those and other foolish notions.

Posted by Terry Gain [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 4:00 PM

This is a very sad day for the world.

Even if these bills are replaced with proper funding bills the momentum of the Surge has been lost and a clear messge has been sent to al Qaeda, insurgents, Iraqi fence sitters and Iraqi democrats.

The message to al Qaeda is you win. We are not prepared to endure the price of defeating you (even as Sunni tribes and indeed insurgents turn against you). Enjoy your new home in Iraq. No doubt we'll soon see you in greater numbers in Afghanistan but don't worry. If Iraq wasn't worth fighting for nobody in their right mind will fight for Afghanistan.

To the insurgents: carry on. To the fence sitters: well what are you waitng for? To Iraqi democrats: sorry, it's all Bush's fault.

I don't even want to contemplate the effect of American withdrawal/ al Qaeda victory upon the region.

Playing venal partisan politics with national security has its price. Ultimately the Democrats will pay dearly but not until millions have paid for their myopia and treachery.

If Bush doesn't get the funding needed to win this war he should propose that Reid, Pelosi, and Hagel go to Iraq and negotiate the withdrawal with al Qaeda. At least then, we'd have video footage for posterity of them triumphantly waving a useless piece of paper.

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 4:25 PM


I am not sure the momentum of the surge has been lost. Things like that have their own pace and while this is most certainly a disgraceful vote, it does not have to mean the terrorists have won. Yet.

I do think that Lieberman lays out his case clearly and succinctly. The man always sounds so reasonable.

Posted by Courtneyme109 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 5:28 PM

Not so sure about Joe wanting to reign in "Give 'Em Hooey" Harry. After all, didn't Reid campaign for Lamont in the election? Lieberman was very chivalrous after the 'lection saying he'd stay on in the Democrat party - essentially extending an opening for all those cats who went against him to reconcile.

Or perhaps Joe sees too clearly the catastrophic effect of America chickening out of the ME and like McCain and Miller, has a backbone doesn't give a dang who knows how he feels.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 7:02 PM

Apart from the fact that Lieberman is a disgrace both to his party and to his country, he's completely and utterly wrong about the required engagement of all U.S. Armed Forces in the GWOT. It has never been that way. The GWOT has been primarily prosecuted via the USSOCOM. In fact, the successes of task forces like TF145 and their "Unblinking Eye" has been one of the high points of our war effort. These highly trained teams will continue to operate as self-contained units long after the bulk of the U.S. military is withdrawan from Iraq. The military's role as supplemental police and security forces will be taken over by the Iraqi Armed Forces - just as it should be.

Posted by The Man [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 7:04 PM

Good Grief! I thought elephants never forget?

Lieberman may be spot on about the principles invoked for Yugoslavia and Darfur...but if you check the record dear friends you will find that the republican congress was adamently opposed to intervening in Yugoslavia. How many republicans jumped all over Clinton for his so-called wag the dog strategy to get re-elected? Can you say everyone of em boys and girls!

Now Darfur happened on GW's watch with a congress completely controlled by republicans...but we saw no intervention..no call to arms to defend principles. Despite the fact that GW when questioned in one of the last presidential debate agreed that it should be called a genocide!

Now all of a sudden in Iraq the right wing is all concerned about how a withdrawal will result in unbelievable death and human suffering.

Puh leese!

Posted by Terry Gain [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 7:29 PM

"Now Darfur happened on GW's watch with a congress completely controlled by republicans...but we saw no intervention..no call to arms to defend principles"
Disingenuous or uninformed. After the overwhelming support from the Democats and the MSM for the wars in A and I Bush should have sent troops (that he didn't have )to a third front? ! Duh? Puh leese, yourself.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 8:04 PM

Iraq's a separate issue.

Nobody's arguing now to send troops to Darfur!

And, last night, on NBC, Brian Williams played ping pong with Tim Russert. And, Russert had a quick, slip of the tongue, where he misspelled Iraq.

Yes, he fixed it.

But it looks funny if you go and see the video.

Anyway. According to the statistics NBC was using; the "gap" is that more than 60% of Americans polled listed a problem with, as Tim Russert spelled it, before correction: I-R-A-K.

Some people just don't like doing the math, I guess.

But Ma and Pa Kettle aren't doing what they are doing without at least some political science backing them up.

What's political science mean?

It can mean you get in front of an issue.

Iraq, or Irak. Is not a march to Berlin. It's not what Americans saw when Japan surrendered.

As a matter of fact, where the breakdown occurs, you could ask yourselves, "how do we get the savages to surrender?"

Iraq, which is expensive; needs more funds.

Ma and Pa Kettle, have square-danced Bush right against the ropes.

Maybe, you just don't see it. But in the expenditure bill, can you point to the tactic that goes all out in a frontal assault and wraps things up?

Most people can't see the advantages of air boxing with arabs.

If you step forward, forgetting to learn how to step off a ladder; downhill hurts.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 9:17 PM

Lieberman won't jump parties, he's got a plum chairmanship with the dems, he's well aware the GOP must defend 23 Senate seats, the Dems....11 in 08. He knows Connecticut won't re-elect him in 2012 as a Republican. As far as him saying the Iraqi people must be protected from the insurgents and the militias, hey Joe, how many Iraqi men are part OF A NEIGHBORHOOD MILITIA? How many Iraqi men are part of the insurgency? But our Army is supposed to sort everything out, magically, while foreign jihadists are ready, willing, and able to BLOW THEMSELVES UP. How do you stop that Joe? Send more troops to die in A FAILED STATE? Powell told Dubya " you break it, you own it." Its broken neo-clowns, its all yours. YOU FAILED BUSH FAILED YOU WILL NOT ADMIT IT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SEE ITS BROKEN.

Posted by M. Simon [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 10:03 PM

Haditha bombshell,

Haditha Bombshell - Intel Evidence

It appears the Marines were Nifonged.

Posted by M. Simon [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 11:12 PM

consrervative democrat,

So you favor abandoning Iraqi democrats because America made mistakes?

How liberal of you.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 26, 2007 11:50 PM

The Man,

I'm a conservative, and I'm all for intervening in Darfur. And I don't blame Darfur on Bush, but the world at large doesn't seem too interested in doing something about it.

Our enemies are in Darfur, too. I think we need to strike them hard wherever they nest.

What I can't countenance is what you state you can't -- double-faced thinking. But then you go on and say that two wrongs will make a right.

Puh leese!

And face it, there's enough of that going around. In this case it's Reid whose asking us to take out troops already in place to prevent

Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 12:01 AM

M. Simon,

Don't you know that every war that has ever transpired ran perfectly and predictably according to the original blueprint? Operation Iraqi Freedom is the first and only exception that has ever been.

conservative democrat is just doing his duty to try and disown the defeat the Democrats are orchestrating.

Lieberman is not going to switch parties. He's a liberal. Period. He's responsibly adopted the Republican position on the Iraq war and greater war on terror, but that may be more of a reflection of his more orthodox, Jewish faith and a desire to help a democratic Israel survive more than it is any allegiance to "conservatism".

Posted by Karen [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 12:09 AM

We have no compelling national interest in Darfur. We have no business sending troups there. We do have a compelling interest in preventing Iraq from becoming a terrorist sponsoring state if we leave there in chaos. Wake up to the real reality that the global war on terror is a long war and a messy war.

I don't understand why liberals don't get it. They will be the first people exterminated by a fascist Islamic state for living outside their narrow moral code. Cripees people these paople hate you and want to kill you. If we don't defeat them there, they will be HERE and life as you know it will be over.

Posted by The Man [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 1:36 AM


The point wasnt whether Bush had enough troops to do anything about Darfur. The point of the comment was that the republicans were more than willing to sit on the sidelines when genocide was occurring in Yugoslavia and Darfur.

Lieberman Says "It means turning our backs on the policies that led us to intervene in the civil war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the principles that today lead many of us to call for intervention in Darfur"

As the republicans did not support either effort...why should Lieberman switch parties? If he sticks to his principles, he should remain independent as neither party represents what he believes in.

Finally, your claim that Mr. Bush did not have enough troops to intervene is not correct. You forget that his Mission Accomplished speech occured on May 1, 2003. And in another not so well publicized speech on May 1, 2003 Mr. Rumsfeld also claimed that major combat actions in Afghanistan had also been completed! Exactly the same time as Darfur was heating up.

Bush and the VP fully believed that victory was theirs on all battlefields and american troops could now start coming home ...except for those troops required to clean up the flowers that the VP said would be showered upon our soldiers.

If our principles call for preventing genocide, how hard would it have been to stop by Darfur on the way home?

Posted by jr565 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 2:59 AM

In response to The Man:
What a load. Who is sitting on the sidelines about Darfour? Bush has said its a genocide, which is more than I can say for the UN. Bush has called for more action, and I don't hear too many republicans saying we should ignore Darfour. Does it require troops though? If we commited troops would that be warmongering? Would that be failing the international test that the libs used as an excuse with Iraq. What if we couldn't get the coallition of the wiling to assist us in dealing with Darfour. You would suggest we get ourselves involved in the quagmire and the civil war? Let the rest of the world even utter the word genocide before you start lambasting the repubs about darfour. I don't hear the dems demanding intervention in Darfour. I don't see Dennis Kucinick or Hilary debating much about Darfour last night. Too busy screeching about Bush.
As to Yugoslavia, I do remember many conservatives not feeling that the war in Yugoslavia was necessary as it wasn't a direct threat to us, but I also don't remember the conservatives lining up in lockstep to demand we cut the funding and demagoging clinton for four years about it either. Don't we still have troops there? That would mean that for 6 years after Clinton conservatives went along with troops being involved there.
Also, hows about Rwanda, Did Clinton even mention the word genocide at all?

Alll you're doing is making cheap political points in a disingenous manner. It's more talking points.

YOu also brought up Wag the Dog. since you brought up "wag the dog" lets get the history right. it wasn't about Yugoslavia at all, was it? Wasn't it in fact about Iraq continuing to be a threat, and wasn't it about Iraqs involvement with Al Qaeda? Wow, you mean people were talking about an involvement with Iraq and Al Qaeda before Bush.And while there were some conservatives who said Clinton wagged the dog, a hell of a lot of liberals also said he was wagging the dog, like say Maureen Dowd, the Daily show et al.
The New Republic had this to say:
Fine, then. Wag the dog. And keep wagging it, until the real peril has passed. If it was the prospect of impeachment that emboldened President Clinton finally to make war against Saddam Hussein's ability to make war, then the prospect of impeachment will have been morally and strategically serendipitous.

In other words, Sadaam was a threat that Clinton was ignoring for too long and if it took wagging the dog to actually deal with the threat finally then so be it. (what a bunch of warmongers those TNR liberals were).

Parahphrasign there.

Then there was the Nation who had this to say:
These sorts of actions not only invite retaliation, they elevate the intended targets to the status of mythical heroes of resistance, isolating moderates and undermining their careful attempts in Iran and elsewhere to move their nations a step back from militant theocracy. American pundits might downplay any Wag the Dog implications of these attacks, but what other conclusion can millions of ordinary Muslims reach than that Clinton was trying to divert attention from his domestic woes?

Most important, the unilateral missile attacks on Afghanistan and Sudan are illegal and immoral—violations of international law and the UN charter.... YADDA YADDA YADDA. Note the standard liberal tropes, illegal war, it will only emolden the terrorists, war is not the answer give peace a chance. But note that they too say that clinton wagged the dog.

Or how about Frank Rich who said in defense of clinton""Are we really certain that Mr. Clinton did not bomb Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq to deflect his political woes? (We must be; if he did wag the dog, it's not only a high crime but a potentially apocalyptic flaw in our system.)" (Not really much of an answer or a defense really)

There were some prominent republicans who suggested the wagging the dog scenario but there were also democrats too. Like for example Peter Defasio prominent lib who said ""‘We have granted too much authority to our president to wage war,’ Paul told the House. DeFazio's remarks placed Bill Clinton in a succession of presidents who ‘have run roughshod over weak-kneed congressional leaders.’
I am not aware of any immediate threat that justifies this nearly unilateral action by U.S. forces.’. (or to paraphrase Gore about Bush "He betrayed us") Clinton must have been the previous incarnation of Hitler.
Meanwhile in contrast to some liberals this is how many if not most republicans were characterizedfrom the New York Times:"Under criticism from both parties, Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, the majority leader, backed away from his charge that the strikes were linked to impeachment. After overnight reflection, he said, ‘I am satisfied this was a military decision.’...

"A parade of Republican Senators — including John McCain of Arizona, Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, John W. Warner of Virginia and Jesse Helms of North Carolina — voiced support for the President's decision to strike now. All are prominent party spokesmen on defense and foreign policy matters."

Now my question to you The Man, is did Clinton wag the dog or not? (By the way when answering this remember to include Al Gore in the equation too, as he was the vice president at the time and was just as much involved in the paitning of Iraq as a country that needed to be bombed for WMD's and involvement with Al Qaeda. I bring up Al Gore because a) he recently said that Bush "betrayed US!!!!", but also b) because he was the democratic candidate who supposedly had the election stolen from him by Bush and you guys were screaming that he won the popular vote.

So I repeat again, THE MAN, did he wag the dog or not? You do see the predicament don't you? If he DID wag the dog then that means he (and Gore) lied. Not only did he lie, but people died. He scaremongered the country into bombing and sanctioning and containing countries that had no WMD's and no ties to terror, because he was trying to deflect attention from the brouhaha over Monica Lewinsky. This would also cast a pall on the Iraq Liberation Act too as well the sanctions against Iraq too. That would mean that he lied and a lot of people died. As the left was so fond of telling us when they were trying to get sanctions lifted. That then reflects pretty badly on you democrats too no? I mean, you guys voted for Gore. You were arguing that we should do away with the electoral college because he won the popular vote. Don't you feel sick to your stomach that a vice president of an administration that wagged the dog and hyped the threat of Iraq to deflect from a blowjob scandal, and who allowed iraqi babies to die from sanctions, should win the popular vote of your party? And if he(gore) was lying about Iraq, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, and going along with the charade for political reasons, why should we buy what he has to say about say global warming. If he wagged the dog with Clinton then he's a liar who started wars for political reasons. The Nation said so (before endorsing him over Bush, I guess merely because Bush was in the oppposing party, therefore evil).

Or alternatively, Clinton (and Gore) did not wag the dog. Then they legitimately thought Iraq was a threat and was working with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups and continuing to build WMD's and violate sanctions etc etc. So then when exactly did Iraq give up its weapons programs again? Was it after the waggig the dog incident or before.

By the way if you say that Iraq wasn't a threat and didn't have WMD's and Bush tricked the dems into war now, then you would have to think logically that Bush (and Gore) did in fact wag the dog, because otherwise their is a logical inconsistency isn't there?

Also this from the Iraqi Liberation act just to pile on for good measure: the Congress reaffirms that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime."
I point that line out just to show that as far back as 1998 regime change was on the table and that the majority of both democrats and repubs were doing the affirming. If Clinton wagged the dog then I guess this was a lie too.

Posted by jr565 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 3:16 AM

Or to put it more simply Clinton wagging the dog is in fact a barometer for the democrats and all the trolls on this or any site talking about Bush lying.
Because there are implications for the dems a if Clinton did wag the dog that reflect REALLY badly on the past admininstration as well as the UN if Clinton did indeed wag the dog, but there are also implictions for the dems if clinton did not wag the dog that reflect REALLY REALLY badly on the current democrats trying to undermine the war against Iraq now.

Or to put it even more simply, either the democrats were lying then for political purposes, or the democrats are lying now for political purposes (and in the case of the democrats who were in congress for both adminstrations that would mean they were lying then and now).

Posted by Nobody [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 27, 2007 12:49 PM

While I agree with just about every point Lieberman is trying to make. I feel that the USA is a country divided and that pulling back and allowing the Iraqis to kill themselves mindlessly is about the only way this will resolve itself unless we commit another 250,000 troops to Iraq.

Staying the course is not an option because the Antiwar and Democrats wont stand for it. Some alternative must be found and in my view that calls for repositioning our troops and acting as referees, preventing the chaos from spreading and preventing the overthrow of the government by terrorist factions or foreign governments.

Anything more is too ambitious and is meeting with too much resistance in this country.