Thursday, May 24, 2007

shame on the Dems

It's pretty sad that the Democrats didn't have the cajones to make this speech in congress. it took a republican to state the painfully obvious (from the Congressional Record, courtesy the GPO and your tax dollars):

THE WAR IN IRAQ

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr.
MURPHY of Connecticut). Under a previous
order of the House, the gentleman
from Tennessee (Mr. DUNCAN [R-TN]) is
recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Speaker, the war
in Iraq, since its beginning, has gone
against every traditional conservative
position I’ve ever known, especially fiscal
conservatism. There is nothing conservative
about the war in Iraq. So it
should have been no surprise when William
F. Buckley, often called the ‘‘Godfather
of Conservatism,’’ wrote in 2004
that if he had known in 2002 what he
knew then by 2004, he would have been
against the war. But listen to what he
wrote in June of 2005, 2 years ago.
William F. Buckley. ‘‘A respect for
the power of the United States is engendered
by our success in engagements
in which we take part. A point is
reached when tenacity conveys not
steadfastness of purpose, but
misapplication of pride. It can’t reasonably
be disputed that if in the year
ahead the situation in Iraq continues
about as it has done in the past year,
we will have suffered more than another
500 soldiers killed. Where there
had been skepticism about our venture,
there will be contempt.’’
That was William F. Buckley in 2005.
And his main point was, quote, ‘‘A
point is reached when tenacity conveys
not steadfastness of purpose, but
misapplication of pride.’’ Unfortunately,
we are losing our young soldiers
at a much faster rate than the 500
a year that Mr. Buckley said would
move the American people from skepticism
to contempt; 103 U.S. soldiers
killed in April alone, at least 71 more
killed through May 21, including 15 this
past weekend, and someone told me 8
more today.
Saddam Hussein was an evil man, but
he had a total military budget only a little over two-tenths of 1 percent of
ours, most of which he spent protecting
himself and his family and building
castles. He was no threat to us whatsoever.
Mr. Speaker, we all respect, admire
and appreciate those who serve in our
Nation’s Armed Forces. As I said a few
days ago on this floor, serving in our
military is certainly the most honorable
ways anyone can serve our country.
I believe national defense is one of
the very few legitimate functions of
our national government, and certainly
one of the most important. However,
we need to recognize that our military
has become the most gigantic bureaucracy
in the history of the world, and
like any huge bureaucracy, it does
many good things, of course, always at
huge expense to the taxpayer. And like
any huge bureaucracy, our military
does many things that are wasteful or
inefficient. And like any huge bureaucracy,
it tries to gloss over or cover up
its mistakes. And like any huge bureaucracy,
it always wants to expand
its mission and get more and more
money.
Counting our regular appropriations
bills, plus the supplemental appropriations,
we will spend more than $750 billion
on our military in the next fiscal
year. This is more than all the other
nations of the world combined spend on
their defense.
The GAO tells us that we presently
have $50 trillion in unfunded future
pension liabilities, on top of our national
debt of almost $9 trillion. If we
are going to have any hope of paying
our military pensions and Social Security
and other promises to our own
people, we cannot keep giving so much
to the Pentagon. No matter how much
we respect our military, and no matter
how much we want to show our patriotism,
we need to realize there is waste
in all huge bureaucracies, even in the
Defense Department.
There is a reason why we have always
believed in civilian leadership of our
Defense Department. The admirals and
generals will always say things are
going great because it is almost like
saying they’re doing a bad job if they
say things are not doing well. And the
military people know they can keep
getting big increases in funding if they
are involved all over the world. However,
it is both unconstitutional and
unaffordable, and, I might add,
unconservative, for us to be the policemen
of the world and carry on civilian
government functions in and for other
countries.
National defense is necessary and
vital. International defense by the U.S.
is unnecessary and harmful in many
ways. Now we are engaged in a war in
Iraq that is very unpopular with a big
majority of the American people. More
importantly, every poll of Iraqis themselves
shows that 78 to 80 percent of
them want us to leave, except in the
Kurdish areas. They want our money,
but they do not want us occupying
Iraq. Surely we are not adopting a foreign
policy that forces us on other people,
one that says we are going to run
Iraq even if the people there want us to
leave.
The majority of the Iraqi Parliament
has now signed a petition asking us to
leave. It is sure not traditional conservatism
to carry on a war in a country
that did not attack us, did not even
threaten to attack us, and was not
even capable of attacking us. And it is
sure not traditional conservatism to
believe in world government, even if
run by the U.S.
Mr. Speaker, President Bush, when
he ran for office in 2000, campaigned
strongly against nation building. Unfortunately,
that is exactly what we
have been doing in Iraq. The President,
in 2000, said what we needed was a
more humble foreign policy. That is
what we needed then, and it is what we
need now.

1 Comments:

At 7/12/2007 4:26 PM, Blogger tess said...

Even more of a shame is that with this impassioned, well-reasoned speech, he was likely addressing a nearly empty chamber.

Al Gore makes a great point about this in his book The Assault on Reason. Apparently, when the House and Senate voted to allow TV cameras in their chambers, there was a stipulation that the cameras never be pointed toward the (empty) seats, but only focused on the person speaking. Apparently they don't mind not being on the job, but they'd rather we weren't too aware of that fact.

I'd love to see both houses of Congress adopt a rule change stating that all members must be present for debates unless called away for urgent business, which could not include campaigning or fund-raising.

Actually I'd really love to see the House and Senate be required to meet with the President in a Parliamentary-style "Question Time" at least once a month. (Heckling allowed. Would that be fun or what? Especially watching GWB try to think on his feet without a TelePrompTer or a strange rectangular lump on his back.)

tess

 

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