On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Reichert Votes For Bush's Escalation In Iraq

Last week the U.S. House debated President Bush's Iraq War troop escalation, and one after another, congress critters came out of the woodwork and chimed in on the resolution.

Firstly, here's the full text of the resolution:

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That--

(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and

(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.
Dave Reichert, the congressman supposedly representing the citizens of this nation that live in Washington's 8th District, was one of many that spoke during the debate. His comments became fodder for ridicule in Salon in an article by Michael Scherer on congressional grandiloquence:

Dave Reichert:

In 1848, Abraham Lincoln was an often-criticized young freshman member of this body, the House of Representatives, and was facing a difficult point in his career. Lincoln criticized the reasons President Polk gave for getting us into the Mexican-American War, a war that began before Lincoln came to office, a position that I can identify with today as I stand here. Then-Congressman Lincoln voted for a resolution that stated the Mexican-American War was "unnecessarily and unconstitutionally" initiated by President Polk. Lincoln thought the war was nothing more than a political move to grab land from the Mexican people. My friends, it is legitimate and in fact our duty to question the reasons why our country goes to war, and Abraham Lincoln showed us that.
Reading that you'd think that Reichert supported the resolution.

Alas, no.

Reichert, once again, voted with his Republican caucus, and against the will of the nation, and most likely the will of his district, in favor of Bush's escalation. The final vote was 246 for, 182 against. 17 Republicans voted for the resolution. Dave Reichert was not one of them.

When the controversial 2003 votes authorizing Bush to use force if necessary against Saddam Hussein's regime were taken, many today in Congress, like Reichert, had not yet been elected. This vote supporting a further escalation of hostilities in Iraq is the 2007 equivalent in importance. Today we have the backdrop of four years of failed and incompetent policies. We have the backdrop of thousands of dead and wounded U.S. soldiers. We have the backdrop of an increasingly unstable Middle East due to our blundering. We have the backdrop of growing Iranian influence in the region due to the power vacuum that was created.

Yet, with all we've seen, with all the evidence that the strategies of the past four years have failed miserably and weakened the United States in the region and in the world, Republicans like Dave Reichert continue to support Bush's strategy of throwing more money and bodies at the problem. They call this a new strategy when it is in fact just the same old strategy. They falsely claim this resolution is a vote against the soldiers already in Iraq, when the resolution explicitly declares support for those same soldiers.

To Reichert, Abraham Lincoln showed us that dissent in Congress against an ill-advised, badly executed war was warranted, but his grandiloquence, while it may have provided an aid the opportunity to do a little historical research on his behalf, serves only to further distance Reichert from the voters of the 8th District who came within a few thousand votes of firing him last November in favor of an opponent who would have stood up to Bush, but who lacked Reichert's name recognition.

The 2008 elections may still be 624 days away, but I guarantee you that this vote will come back to haunt Dave Reichert. By that time there will likely be over 4,500 U.S. troop fatalities, and 33,000 maimed and wounded soldiers, and Dave Reichert and his fellow Republican congressmen and congresswomen will have to explain to them and their families, as well as the nation as a whole, why when given the chance to bring an end to the folly of this war, they chose instead to further embroil us in it.

1 Comment(s):

Comment by: Anonymous Anonymous

Thanks for highlighting Reichert's Lincoln reference in his speech.
Frankly, I'm having a hard time trying to understand exactly what Reichert thought he was trying to say. Reichert quotes Lincoln saying that it is our duty to question why we are going to war, and then gives an example of politically motivated war. But then Reichert goes on says he categorically and withough question supports Bush and the war. I'm confused.


2/19/2007 8:54 AM PT  

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