Any trick to stop rebuke


House Republicans are pulling out all the stops to win over GOP colleagues who may be wavering on whether to publicly rebuke President Bush’s decision to send more troops into Iraq.

In daylong debate Tuesday, Republicans used emotional pleas from former prisoners of war, political talking points on religious extremism and even Arab ambassadors to rail against a Democratic attempt to put Congress on record against the troop buildup.

“If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose,” Reps. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., and John Shadegg, R-Ariz., said in a letter to their GOP colleagues.

“Rather, the debate must be about the global threat of the radical Islamist movement,” they wrote.

The long-awaited floor debate on Iraq is the first since Democrats took control of Congress in the November midterm elections. It also comes as the war approaches the four-year mark with more than 3,100 U.S. troops dead.

Democrats made clear the nonbinding resolution was the beginning of a longer campaign to bring the Iraq war to an end.

“A vote of disapproval will set the stage for additional Iraq legislation, which will be coming to the House floor,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

Several Republicans concerned or opposed to the troop buildup, including Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina and Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, were expected to speak on the issue during continuing floor debate Wednesday.

Jones is the lone Republican co-sponsoring the Democratic resolution, which expresses support for U.S. troops in Iraq and opposition to sending in another 20,000-plus.

Several Republicans were expected to jump ship and support the resolution, and Republican leaders acknowledged they were likely to lose the vote, which is expected Friday.

Minority Leader John Boehner said Republicans were determined not to lose the broader debate on the war.

“Because they cannot defeat Americans on the battlefield, al-Qaida and terrorist sympathizers around the world are trying to divide us here at home,” said Boehner, R-Ohio. “Over the next few days, we have an opportunity to show our enemies that we will not take the bait.”

At a news conference, Boehner began tearing up as he listened to Rep. Sam Johnson describe his experience as a prisoner of war for seven years in Vietnam.

“Words can’t fully describe the unspeakable damage of the anti-American efforts against the war back home to the guys on the ground” in Vietnam, said Johnson, R-Texas, who was released 34 years ago on Tuesday.

Democrats had their own heavyweights when playing the military card, including Rep. Joe Sestak, a retired three-star Navy admiral. Sestak, who won his seat in November by campaigning against the war, said it would be unpatriotic to remain silent on the issue.

“If my 31 years in the military taught me anything, it was that we serve in this all-volunteer military to defend Americans’ freedom to think as they please and to say what they think, even if they disagree with their leaders,” Sestak said.

Republicans also offered members a chance to hear from the ambassadors from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar. Nearly three dozen GOP members attended a Jan. 30 off-the-record briefing, hosted by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., with the ambassadors. On Tuesday, an estimated 50 Republicans attended another briefing, hosted by Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J.

According to lawmakers and aides, the ambassadors told members a precipitous U.S. withdrawal would be disastrous.

The effort came as several GOP members strayed from the party line.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., who previously has supported Bush on the war, said he is concerned the president’s plan won’t work. But, he added, he is also concerned the resolution will be interpreted as a statement that Iraq is a lost cause.

“This vote may be very much like asking a husband when he stopped beating his wife,” he said. The issue of the war is “really much more complex.”

Across the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would attempt to pass an identical measure later this month. Republicans blocked debate on a different proposal critical of the troop increase earlier this winter, after Democrats refused to give equal treatment to a GOP-backed alternative.


Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press


  1. SEAL

    Ray – I gave a minimal explanation of the type of nukes that would be used in Iran a few days ago. I don’t remember all the specifics about the effects of them and probably should not repeat it, anyway. But make no mistake, this is a nuclear weapon, not a bomb. The effect would be a great deal more than bunker penetration. There would be a huge area of complete devastation, a very high body count, and that area would be uninhabitable for generations. There is down wind fall out and many other things to consider. These “little” nukes are, in one sense, more powerful than the atomic bombs we dropped on the Japanese. A “hundred or so” would be insanity. Less than half that many would wipe out the entire country.

    This isn’t a new “toy” the military will be anxious to “try out.” They know exactly what they will do. And they are acutely aware of the world wide reaction to such a thing. The bottom line is the military serves the nation, not the president. The tag line on anything nuclear is “imminent danger.” The long term effect of anything nuclear makes them the weapon of last resort.

    It’s true that our military has a few high ranking officers with that odd look in their eyes. But they would not be making this decision. Whether to obey an order from the president to launch nuclear weapons on Iran would not be a decision made by one commander or one branch. And, forunately, the Navy would be in final control because they are the one to launch. With more than 30 years in that outfit, I can’t imagine them launching a nuclear weapon without a formal declaration from congress or as a respose to a nuclear attack.

    It isn’t the military we need to worry about. They know what they are doing and if Bushco had listened to them in the beginning we would not be in this mess. They have followed the orders of this group of draft dodgers but there is a line they will not cross. They would never have invaded Iraq without congress authorizing it. Nor will they attack Iran without authorization from congress.

  2. Ray

    The new style low yield nukes designed for urban warfare ( Bunker penetration ) will be the weapons used to hit Iran. I don’t think it will be like Hiroshima was, a huge single detonation, but a hundred or so mini-mushrooms from guided cruise missiles.

    I don’t know Seal, The military and thier bomb building buddies may be anxious to test these new toys they have. The battle plan calls for destruction with no occupation by ground troops, so why not use up those multi-million dollar bombs so we can buy more. Whats a little uranium gonna hurt for the next 250 billion years.

  3. SEAL

    Bush is scared. Terrified in fact. This last move of sending in more troops and giving his puppet government a final “or else” ultimatim coupled with bribes to get their act together is his last desparate attempt to pull it off and be the hero. That’s why his nervous actions in the press conferences are so much more pronounced and obvious. His whole life has been a succsession of covered up failures. He thought he had finally been a success but now faces the reality of just one more failure and this one cannot be covered up.

    He may have finally realized that he is the fall guy. None of what created the current condition was his design or decision. It was Cheney and Rumsfeld and their crew. But, now that it is crashing down, they are all pulling out, leaving him holding the bag. That was the design from the beginning. They set him up to strut and puff and declare himself the “decider.” Now he is all alone to take the blame with no way out. He really is a stupid asshole.

    However, he is looking for an excuse or a diversion and that’s what all the crap accusing Iran is about. He will try to blame them for fueling the insurgency and the democrats in congress for not supporting the troops and so forth. What is scary is he believes that. In his own mind he won’t take the responsibility for the failure. The danger, of course, is that he will do something totally desparate like ordering a nuke attack of Iran to be the hero who saved America from the radical muslim menace and WMD to save himself from failure. But I’m betting the military will find a way not to do it. They aren’t as dumb, blindly obediant, or eager to blow everyone up as people think. They will probably demand a declaration from congress. This isn’t the movies.

  4. SEAL

    Kent – Bush always smiles/smirks/laughs, and/or giggles, and/or attempts jokes, and/or moves and shifts, and/or his eyes dart around, etc. when he lies. He always has. It’s a nervous action. An attempt to cover the fact he can’t lie with a straight face. There are a lot of people like that. One of my sons is that way. I could always tell when he was lying to me.

  5. Kent Shaw

    And he laughed and smirked and giggled and maked jokes all through that press conference. He’s sick. Seriously. Either that or just SO arrogant and laughing as he rubs our faces in it.

  6. Ray

    How many of americas finest died today while these pigs in washington wallow in thier sty and doing nothing. And Bush says ” I can’t prove it, but I know Iran is supplying high tech explosive devices that are killing our troops” When will the moron realize he is the one killing our troops by placing them needlessly in harms way.

  7. JimZ

    Yea, Kent. He was one sick f$&k in that press conference. What world is that guy in? Kinda like Hitler in his last days in the bunker, or something.

  8. Juanita Cutler

    Thank you good people for your reasoned, well considered responses.

    Two comments: (One) As to “sending the wrong message to our troops,” everyone should read Michael Moore’s “Will They Ever Trust Us Again?” a collection of letters and messages from the troops in Iraq sent to MM after they viewed pirated editions of “Fahrenheit 911.” Heart-rending; read it and weep. Here is one quote: “The military is for defending the republic; it is not for overthrowing dictators, building “democracy,” or making the world a better place for everyone else.”

    (Two) Why is it that persons like Rep Sam Johnson persist in blaming peacemongers for “unspeakable damage” to the military, rather than blaming the warmongers who sent them to fight and die in an ill-begotten war. As they do still today. Insisting that the only way to honor the dead is to send more to die.

  9. JimZ

    If you want to see something ignorant, just listen to the Republican U.S. House members today debating the Iraq war. Some of these jokers still say that any debate on the war is sending the wrong message to our troops. I think it is sending the right message to our troops. Get them HOME! SOON! Any message they will be kept there by another Vietnam I think would depress them. They already know the occupation is probably lost beyond repair.

    Obviously, the Bu$h administration plans to keep them there until his last day in office or thereafter.

  10. SEAL

    “Rather, the debate must be about the global threat of the radical Islamist movement,” they wrote.

    Isn’t that clever? When it is the radical christian movement that is currently the military force in their countries causing tens of thousands of islamic deaths. So, who is the “global threat?” And people actually buy this crap.


    Mr. Issa says, that Congress is not qualified to make this discussion because many members have not served in the Military.

    Well, DUH! I don’t any see any members of the Bush administration with military experience. All I see are multiple deferments and one AWOL from the national guard making the decisions. There is no limit to the stupid shit they will say. This young proud Indian boy that joined the Navy in 1959 never dreamed he would ever see the day when members of the US Congress would say such ignorant things.

    I wish I could tell what I know.

  11. This war in Iraq has cancelled all rational thinking from the Republican Party. They spent 8 years hating Clinton and not a day goes by that the GOP is not trying to paint all Liberals as being the bad guys but are having no luck in painting the GOP as the good guys.

    The whole thing about what is right and ethical has been thrown away. It is what lost their candidates in November. To see any Republican fight for torture and abusive treatment of our prisoners has opened my eyes and I now question the integrity of anyone in the Republican Party. They continue to back Bush not because they think he right but that he is a Republican.

    The GOP now worship the God of the government and the power it promises them. I am stunned that so many of my own friends can turn away from honest and ethical actions and hang on to this simple American fool who has absolutely no hint of ethics in his own actions.

    I saw the weakness in the GOP in 1992 when they wanted to trash the Constitution and the Platform of the GOP for their one world order. This weakness led to the most corrupt administration in my lifetime.

    I’m annoyed as it leaves me nowhere to go for my agenda. The GOP has lied far too much and I can only hope the voters realize the truth in the Bush Administration.

    The American people do not want the social prohibitions and they don’t recognize that the entire Republican Party is now working only for them.

    We still can’t get into the truth about why we are in Iraq. It will take a brave American to expose the whole 9/11 mess and our reaction to it.

    I believe that our government has finally gone too far and backed by a large number of Democrats and Conservatives, we are screwed. Using Iraq to terrorize all of us is only building the need for more Patriot Bills and a federal police actions to enforce our social prohibitions.

    I sometimes feel as if fireworks were set off in the White House with thousands of diversions going in every direction. The bad guys sit and smirk behind Bush and the rest of us have no leader in any movement to aim for the truth.

    Unless we clean this crap out of our government we will be that one world order and the Conservatives will rule the world under the name of Jesus Christ. Conservatives have been very clever using this method for control over the American people. Is there any way to get back to individuals without labels? I don’t care if the majority of Americans are Christians but do they really want a theocracy in the government? If they do, I’m in the wrong nation.

    I want to build a strong American nation again with a balance of power between the parties and the government divisions. We cannot do it when the ministers in all the churches telling us we are evil and bad and need God in our White House. It has so far that we are the most hated nation on the planet.

  12. Wayne K Dolik

    You can bet your last bottom dollar, that the makers of bombs and such are shaking in their little bomb making boots today. I have watched this debate for a few days. Here are just a few of my impressions. Moderate Republicans are breaking ranks with the authoritarians and voting with the Democrats.

    The Republican opposition is composed of Republicans from “safe” Districts that are Districts where the Republicans have a safe majority. My District (49th Ca.) has a 2/1 Republican advantage. My Representative Darrell Issa continues to carry water for the Bush Administration. Mr. Issa says, that Congress is not qualified to make this discussion because many members have not served in the Military. Perhaps someone should tell Mr. Issa that America is a country where Civilians control it’s government and the military! I look forward to seeing this measure pass by large numbers of moderate Republicans voting with Democrats. Perhaps this is the first of many signs that we are getting our Country back. Bravo! The House, the House, the People’s House.

  13. Kent Shaw


    “Rather, the debate must be about the global threat of the radical Islamist movement,” they wrote.


    The only threat would be by people from any of the 130 countries currently occupied by the United States by way of its 775 military bases. The United States has been intervening, some might say meddling or interfering, in Iraq and Iran since the early 1950’s, so yes, there may be a few people in those countries who would like to strike back at the U.S. Suppose China had been doing the same to the United States since 1950. Wouldn’t you like to nuke a Chinese city if you could?


    To end any possible threat to the US by any “radical Islamist movement” all this country needs to do is close the bases and bring the troops home. They are not going “to follow us here”. All they are going to do is raise a middle finger and say “good riddance”.


    But then none of this would serve the cause of Israel and the PNAC, some of whose signatories have dual citizenship, being both Israeli and American. Where do the loyalties lie of those PNAC signatories? When is Israel ever going to stand on its own? Israel has nothing to fear from a possible Iranian nuclear weapon as Israel already possesses between 200 and 600 nuclear weapons, depending on the source of the estimate. For Iran to nuke an Israeli city would mean instant total annihilation.


    I believe AIPAC, JINSA, ADL, MOSSAD and their ilk are blackmailing U.S. senators and representatives.


  14. I admire any rational person who had the intestinal fortitude to watch even a portion of the faux debate on C-SPAN.


    At least I managed to do so without screaming at the television screen.


    Not so this morning when one Republican congresswoman delivered her doom and gloom about how our troops would go into battle beset with doubt because Congress didn’t support their mission. She was standing next to a large poster emblazoned with a yellow ribbon and saying “Support Our Troops”.

    Now am am sucking throat lozenges.

  15. Sicko Fant

    Anyone who thinks the Democrats are any different than the Republicans is a fool. What we need in American Politics is “A New Way Forward’. Sestak, for instance, that retired Admiral who claims to have been driven by conscience to run for office, is only in Congress for the money. He’s no different than Tom Delay. Only fools would disagree with that statement. ONLY FOOLS!