Angry words over failed Iraq war

The thin veneer of civility that masks opposing views on Iraq between Senators vanished Sunday in an angry exchange of words between Democrat James Webb and Republican Lindsey Graham.

In many ways, the heated exchange between the two symbolized the voter anger over President George W. Bush’s war. Like Vietnam, the Iraq conflict has divided America, destroyed friendships and strained relationships.

At times on Meet the Press Sunday, it seemed like Webb and Lindsey would come to blows as the Democrat expressed the anger that drives the majority of Americans opposed to the war and Graham spouted the administration line that it becoming increasingly difficult to defend.

Reports The Associated Press:

“Just wash your hands of Iraq,” an animated Graham said to the war critics, including the Democrat seated to his immediate right. “History will judge us, my friend.”

“It’s been a hard month, Lindsey,” Webb commiserated, wearing a tight smile. “You need to calm down, my friend.”

“Lindsey’s had a hard month,” Webb repeated.

“It ain’t about Lindsey having a hard month,” Graham snapped.

The Democrat, a Vietnam veteran, lost an effort in the Senate last week to require specified periods of home time for troops deployed in the war, his bill winning majority support but falling short of the 60 votes needed to proceed. He took sharp objection when Graham asserted that high re-enlistment numbers are a vote of confidence in the Iraq policy by the troops.

“This is one thing I really take objection to — may I speak? — is politicians who try to put their political views into the mouths of soldiers,” Webb said over his opponent’s interruptions. He placed his hand briefly on Graham’s back, then jerked his thumb in the Republican’s direction.

“Have you been to Iraq?” Graham demanded.

“I’ve covered two wars as a correspondent,” Webb said. “I have been to Afghanistan as a journalist.”

Graham: “Have you been to Iraq and talked to the soldiers?”

Webb: “You know, you’ve never been to Iraq, Lindsey.”

The Republican pointed out he’s been there seven times.

“You know,” Webb said dismissively, “you can see the dog and pony shows. That’s what congressman do.

“Why don’t you go look at the polls, Lindsey, instead of the seven or eight people that are put in front of you when you make your congressional visit?”

Graham tried to ease the tension. It didn’t work.

“Let’s — something we can agree on,” he said, placing his hand on Webb’s arm. “We both admire the men and the women in uniform. ”

“Don’t put political words in their mouth,” Webb interrupted.

The exchange ended with Graham praising the troops: “God bless them and let’s make sure they can win because they can.”

And Webb getting the final, combative word:

“I’ll let them judge what you said.”

23 Responses to "Angry words over failed Iraq war"

  1. JudyB  July 16, 2007 at 10:49 am

    I never cease to get a calm feeling in the first moment I hear the soft, reassuring, peaceful and soothing sound of Sen Grahams voice…that is, UNTIL my brain kicks in, and registers what he’s actually saying and trying to sell me as truth…then I realize he is nothing more than a polite scheister salesman hawking a sweet but poisonous elixir and suddenly, I am no longer entranced but disgusted and angry!

    By the way Gene, congratulations on your being so fit and responsible. I agree with most of what you post here at CHB, but this time I have to say that just being in good financial and physical shape does not qualify one as intelligent or even with the common sense to make the many other good choices necessary in life…unfortunatly, far too many times the opposite holds true.

  2. SnowCrash7  July 16, 2007 at 11:16 am

    I served in the 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam and was once partnered with Jim Webb’s unit on a sweep. (I later served 18 years in the Army Infantry and Cavalry). Webb knows what he is talking about. Graham hasn’t a clue. Webb’s comment about Graham NOT seeing Iraq but the ‘dog and pony show Congressmen get’ was right on.

    It really comes down to this. Folks who agree with Graham believe that for every insurgent killed in Iraq we are made safer.

    Folks who understand counter-insurgency warfare and history understand full well that for every insurgent we kill, 3 to 5 are motivated and recruited into the Islamic radical movements to take their place.

    This war is making us far LESS safe. Its that simple. By providing motivation, recruitment and combat training to terrorists,

    As General Batiste has commented ‘our troops aren’t stupid….they know when there is no game plan but stay the course’. That’s why they refer to this mess as Operation Provide Targets.

    Its incredibly frustrating to me that the Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity faithful can’t grasp that.

    Please keep the pressure on your reps to re-deploy our troops out of harm’s way NOW.

  3. kent shaw  July 16, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    SnowCrash7: “Folks who understand counter-insurgency warfare and history understand full well that for every insurgent we kill, 3 to 5 are motivated and recruited into the Islamic radical movements to take their place.”

    Why can’t people put themselves in the place of the average innocent Iraqi family? Imagine that China had occupied the U.S. because it decided that Bush and his two daughters had to die and that regime change was needed. If a Chines soldier killed my father and my mother, I assure you that I and my brother and all my cousins would then kill as many Chinese occupiers as we could. What don’t people get about this?

  4. allan hirsh  July 16, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    mr. hirsh
    Statements by Gene and Seal worth noting.
    I saw that show yesterday; it came closest to being real about government coverage as anything I can think of, except the mike sticking out of the back of Bush’s suit during a debate.

  5. mary cali  July 16, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Mary

    My contributions and efforts in behalf of Webb’s election were well spent. As has been said, I wish he were running for President. He may have some rough edges, but he is intelligent and capable of learning. Needless to say that is much better than we have had for the past 6 years. But voters should never set the bar for president as low as they did for George W. Bush.

  6. dadblasted  July 16, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Seal nails our entire socio-economic situation on the head! When the entire nation fell for the feel good snow job of Reagan and his military/industrial backers we were set on the path which was pre-determined by the likes of the Hoover Institute, American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Foundation, and, importantly the not-to-be-forgotten Carlyle Group,etc. That bunch, with their billionaire backers, invested mega dollars in pursuit of the average and, sometimes non-average, American voter. With the constant planned erosion of the K-12 educational system, the average Joe has no basis of politcal understanding when approaching his Diebold voting machine. Non-thinking voters casting ballots for charismatic airheads mouthing speeches and sound-bites of alluring non-substance, now have only themselves to blame for the ensuing “Fall of the American Empire.”

  7. gene  July 16, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    No JudyB it certainly does not but I find them to be common chararteristics in many of my friends that are and do make choices based on reality and good sense. I remember several decades ago when personal values, morals, work ethics and a family center life were considered the norms of our society. I rarely saw individuals that weighed several hundreds of pounds, as you surely know its an epidemic in our society now.

    I remember when saving for the future was consider the thing to do and generally speaking, families spent and invested reasonably. Now much of that has been replaced with things like subprime mortgages, mortgage back securities such as CDOs, RMBs and other creative investment instruments that are now imploding. This will equal trillions of dollars of loss involving pension funds, banks, insurance companys and so on.

    Give it 6 more months and God only knows. Their is estimated to be 400 trillion dollars of derivatives (basically a global financial scam) floating in outer space that will eventually collapse. This nation is bankrupt a thousand times over as well as many of its citizens. Foreclosures and bankruptcies are increasing by incrediable numbers never seen before.

    The dollar is worth approx 1/12 of its value compared to 75 years ago and will soon become worthless as other nations will refuse to take it as payment for all our imports. We now export little (most of our factories are gone) and we import almost everything we as indviduals use on a daily bases. Bascially we print paper called (money) with funny faces backed up by thin air.

    It want be long now before all this comes tumbling down on our heads, so much of this political crap want matter quit so much…I would guess.

  8. Tinker  July 16, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Bush and Cheney need to be impeached!It is going to take years to undo the damage they have done to the USA and the Middle East! They must be stripped of their power before they can do even further damage. TE Lawrence (of Arabia) could have told them that getting anything done in the Middle East is “like eating soup with a knife”! Do the following writings from TEL remind you of anything?:

    Of the insurgents:”…suppose they were an influence, a thing invulnerable, intangible, without front or back, drifting about like a gas? Armies are like plants, immobile as a whole, firm-rooted, nourished through long stems to the head. The Arabs might be a vapour…”

    “To control the land the Turks occupied (WW1) they would have need of a fortified post every four square miles, and a post could not be less than 20 men.”

    “Rebellion must have an unassailable base in the minds of men converted to its creed. It must have a sophisticated alien enemy, in the form of a disciplined army of occupation too small to fulfill the doctrine of acreage: too few to adjust number to space, in order to dominate the whole area effectively from fortified posts.”

    “It must have a friendly population, not actively friendly, but sympathetic to the point of not betraying rebel movements to the enemy. Rebellions can be made by 2% active in a striking force, and 98% passively sympathetic…Granted mobility,security…time and doctrine…victory will rest with the insurgents, for the algebraical factors are in the end decisive, and against them perfections of means and spirit struggle quite in vain.”

    This information has been around for a long time! Just how many troops will it take to fulfill the doctrine of acreage in Iraq? How many years? How many lives? How many billions of dollars? Just WHO is going to sort out and clean up this mess in the end?

    Don’t let Bush & Cheney walk away from their mess without being held accountable!

  9. geyser  July 16, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    The War has dragged on too long. With little change in the day to day news, there are few events that can be talked about. Between to regular people, living Anywhere, USA with different views but, friends on other levels, can’t say anything with a difference that hasn’t already been said before.
    I have two Cyber friends, both female, I’ve met each but one time face to face. We E-mail jokes and funny Video’s to each other but, send a tiny political piece and we want to rip each other’s throat out.
    One has confessed to loving president bush, the other will only recognise bush, as her president. Both don’t believe one bad thing bush is accused of doing. Both believe we are fighting them there or they will come here to fight.
    I believe, they both are afraid to speak out against the government, if they do trouble will find them. I ask, “Is that what a government should do, supress Free Speech?” Both say nothing. Is this what keeps the 30 percent of Americans on bush’s good side, fear?
    I can’t help these two ladies, I am out of things to say or show. I don’t send political E-mails any more to them. I let them be happy with Jokes and funny Video’s. I let the Dark side alone, it doesn’t need me to keep them there, maybe one day they will be freed, to see the light that has always been there.

    Taking One Day at a Time

  10. gene  July 16, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    “Taking one day at a Time”…amen to that (geyser). Never thought that would one day become such a “real” reality…….well at leat for me it has.

  11. kent shaw  July 16, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    dadblasted, please allow me to summarize.

    They all lie.

    — Kent

  12. kent shaw  July 16, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    “Bush and Cheney need to be impeached!”

    Won’t happen. Pelosi is literally a billionaire. She is a member of the club. Violence is illegal. Can’t do violence. Therefor we are screwed.

    QED

  13. yarply  July 16, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    They were as entertaining as WWF, and almost as real.

  14. johannabartley  May 27, 2008 at 11:17 am

    This war has killed our spirit. We used to be very unite and now we divide our selfs into two camps: the pro-war and the contras. I’m tired of seeing and hearing arguments from both sides, everyone arguing about it. Why don’t we get all the current politicians to have a drug addiction treatment and get new ones that can think clear and have no power addiction running trough their veins…

  15. LurkingFromTheLeft  July 16, 2007 at 12:20 am

    I so enjoyed the show…

    …Tim R let ‘em go at it –

    …how can Graham sit there and believe any of the crap he says? –

    …how can he support any of Dumbass’s policies and plans? –

    LFTL

  16. Wayne K Dolik  July 16, 2007 at 1:36 am

    Graham is a ditsy Military Lawyer or Judge or something. Graham can’t even shine Jim Webb’s shoes.

    Lets hear from our Guys that served!

  17. Carl Nemo  July 16, 2007 at 2:23 am

    I thought I’d simply post some biographical background about these two and let CHB readers make a decision which of these guys has more “gravitas”. Needless to say Senator Graham is one of the less than discriminating, somewhat mindless supporters of the Bushistas. He was a military reservest Air Force appeals court judge, but a 2006 Federal Appeals Court ruling stated that he can’t be a member of Congress and serve in such a position due to the separation of powers principle. So I have no idea if he retired from the Air Force Reserve or what his current status might be in the JAG corps?

    Jim Webb in addition to his superb educational background and active duty military credentials is a U.S. Senator, former Secretary of the Navy, and is also a superb writer. His combat decorations indicate he knows what it’s like to have “hot steel” zipping-by in close quarter combat…!

    Senator Jim Webb-D, Senator from Virginia’s bio.
    http://www.nndb.com/people/892/000112556/

    Senator Lindsay Graham-R, Senator from South Carolina
    http://www.nndb.com/people/244/000032148/

    Carl Nemo **==

  18. Carl Nemo  July 16, 2007 at 2:37 am

    I’m familiar with Senator Webb’s superb background and I must say he’s got the “right stuff”! IMHO, it’s too bad America doesn’t have a man of his caliber running for the presidency; i.e, “Jim Webb for President”! One thing for sure, we’d be able to to sleep at night and not have to worry whether the enemies of this country be the foreign or “domestic”; i.e, the MIC/AIPAC/NWO will be threatening “we the people”‘s security. President Webb has a nice sound to it rather than the host of lame choices that are being forced down our collective throats at this point in time.

    Carl Nemo **==

  19. mikeca  July 16, 2007 at 2:59 am

    Jim Webb’s son is a Marine who has served in Iraq and may still be in Iraq.

  20. Sandra Price  July 16, 2007 at 7:19 am

    I was pleased that Russert stepped back and let them both rip. It shows exactly how the two parties operate. Webb is concerned with our soldiers and Graham wants only to protect the White House.

    It all comes down to whether America is to rule and control the world or stays in our own backyard and cleans it up for the America people.

    We saw a real American in action yesterday and I would go for “Webb for President” in a flat minute. I lost all partisan emotions when I saw Bush 41 try for this one world order and I never looked back.

    Thanks “editor” for this commentary on the “Meet the Press” fascinating show yesterday. This is exactly why I stick around here.

  21. gene  July 16, 2007 at 7:49 am

    Their is an issue here that seems to always not be considered for what it is…..which is an impass to stoping this insanity called the Iraq war. That impass is simply having numbers it would take to revolt against this criminial white house. A few million pissed-off citizens is just not enouth. With a nation of over 300 million I would say that 150 million angry citizens would get this shit changed in just a few days.

    Again, from what I see of my own family and friends, when I go to walwmart and other places its still the same clueless, self-centered, living paycheck to paycheck, in debt passed their necks with homes they can’t afford, 2 or 3 cars they can’t afford, insurance they can’t afford because they have all this (STUFF). If you havn’t noticed lately, this nations (IS NOT) a nation full of sensible, reasonable individuals who spend wisely and make (consistently) good choices, be it financial or whatever.

    Thats why all this could and has happen in such a short period of time. I saw a young lady yesterday (probalby in her early 30s) using one of those electric carts at walmarts…why, well she had to have weighed at least 400 pounds. I see them everywhere I go. Fat, clueless, selfish idiots…..thats the new America.

    Oh, by the way, I’m almost 60, 6ft 3ins and weight 170 pounds. I exercise at least 1 hour everyday and eat like people should eat. I eat to live NOT live to eat. God this country makes me sick. What it use to be has been lost forever.

  22. Billyking2007  July 16, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Repulican = Falling off a two story building and landing on your head and still talking.

  23. SEAL  July 16, 2007 at 10:48 am

    “Thats why all this could and has happen in such a short period of time.”

    Gene,I don’t know what you consider a short period of time but what you are referring to started 27 years ago when Reagan was elected. What you have witnessed in the last 6-7 years is the fruits of the programing.

    I was still in the Navy when Ronnie and his MIC gang took over and it was like day and night the difference for the military. Suddenly, I had no problem with reqisitions. My position at that time was that everything went through me. Bush The First’s name began showing up on some of the paperwork and seemed to be attached to every “mission” I received. Everything became “classified.” It was obvious who was running the show from my point of view.

    At the same time Ronnie was selling his reagsnomics. I was amazed that prople were buying it until I realized that it was overshadowed by the concurrent have it now and pay later everyone can live like the wealthy ain’t this cocaine great for partying. Bush had the spooks in bed with Noriega in Panama for an endless supply of coke. During his presidency Noriega got too big for his britches, so he took him out.

    Everything was being converted to plastic. The goal was, and still is, to get rid of cash. They want all transactions recorded and by eliminating cash no one will be able to hide or avoid paying the tax. That will destroy the small independent operators. You may have noticed that every mall is, now, identical. Same stores in every damn one. No more community banks or independent newspapers, or mom and pop businesses. It’s really hard to find a decent place to eat except in the small towns.

    Over twenty years they enslaved the population with credit and made them fat an lazy. No one cares what something costs anymore, all they want to know is what is the monthly payment. Too high, oh hell, I’ll just refinance, extend it, and lower the payments. The average american owes at least half a million with no end to paying it off.

    The Bush administration has used 9/11 and the “war on terror” to finish the job on the American people. Unless stopped, it won’t be long before there is no privacy. Everyone will have a locator chip in their drivers license and/or Social security card. Welcome to 1984.

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