Marshall stands alone

Rep. Jim Marshall is the only House Democrat to announce that he will break ranks with his party and vote against the non-binding resolution declaring that Congress “disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush … to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.”

I tip my cap to Rep. Marshall for thinking for himself on this one. The only people a non-binding resolution sends a message to are our troops and our enemies, letting the former know that the vital backing from their homeland — both in will and in finances — is on life-support, and telling the latter that the American front in this war is so fractured that our determination to keep fighting could evaporate at any time, leading not only to the sacrifice of our troops in-theater, but also to a future emboldening of this enemy that will make the heart they took from our fleeing Beirut and Mogadishu look like child’s play.

38 comments

  1. Bull Moose says:

    The debate is healthy for our country.

    I think it’s a shame that Congress turned such a blind eye over the past 4 years in not monitoring the progress of the war in Iraq.

    The money flew freely but no one thought to make sure that the mission was being accomplished in a way that would minimize American losses and ensure success.

    I support the President’s deployment of more troops, but I have to be weary of whether or not it’s too little too late.

  2. Adam Fogle says:

    The only people a non-binding resolution sends a message to are our troops and our enemies, letting the former know that the vital backing from their homeland — both in will and in finances — is on life-support, and telling the latter that the American front in this war is so fractured that our determination to keep fighting could evaporate at any time, leading not only to the sacrifice of our troops in-theater, but also to a future emboldening of this enemy that will make the heart they took from our fleeing Beirut and Mogadishu look like child’s play.

    Jeff,

    I think that is the longest sentence in the history of mankind. In fact, it may actually lay out the unabridged history of mankind; I’ll let you know if I’m ever able to even finish the complete sentence. My mind kind of wandered half way through it. But don’t you dare ruin it by telling me how it ends!

    So I compared your sentence to the opening line of the Declaration of Independence:

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    You beat Jefferson by a whopping 26 words – 97 to 71. But, in fairness to TJ, he used much larger words.

  3. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Heh. As we say in the world of Classicists: folks want to read Caesar. I write like Cicero. If it can be said in ten words then dangit, I will say it in 25!

    Some folks like cars, boats, or music. Personally, I live for a good series of dependent and independent clauses. 😉

    Can you tell I grew up loving Hemingway?

  4. Adam Fogle says:

    OK… I’ve finished the sentence.

    I think what Emmanuel is trying to say is that the current state of foreign affairs, and subsequent Congressional handling of therein, pertaining specifically to Persia or, the “Middle East,” being what it is – a staunchly divided political quagmire in which foreign policy hawks attempt to link the War in Iraq to the War on Terror while their less militaristic-inclined opponents present a far different dichotomy – may in reality posit an unfortunate representation in the minds of American service men and women a situation in which the very people they are struggling to defend, in their opinion, are repaying their sacrifice with abandonment and disillusioned threats of a premature conclusion of their activities.

  5. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Well said, well said! Except for the “Persia” part — that’s just Iran. The Iraqis (who aren’t Kurdish) and Saudis are Arabs. One is Indo-European (Iran), the other is Semitic (the Arabs).

    Kudos to you on the lack of brevity, my good sir! We’ll make a writer of you yet. 😉

    *of course, my name has one “m” in it — but no matter.

  6. mainstream GOP says:

    eventhough I wanted Mac Collins to be up there right now, you have to love Jim for being pretty much the only Democrat in D.C. that has a concience other than that of the Democratic Cacus.

  7. Adam Fogle says:

    Well said, well said! Except for the “Persia” part…

    Oh, dear me, I meant to say “Mesopotamia” rather than “Persia.” I do believe it is past my bed time.

    of course, my name has one “m” in it — but no matter.

    Duly noted.

  8. Calybos1 says:

    I wonder what Marshall’s reasoning is? Does he geniunely believe the surge plan is a good one, does he think Congressional resolutions are designed to affect terrorist morale, or is he just chickening out?

  9. rugby_fan says:

    Adam, you should know that James Joyce had a 30 page sentence to close out “Ulysses”.

    There is a more contemporary novel that has, I think, 10, 000 words in it. The title escapes me at the moment.

    Now, the onus is on Peach Pundit to construct a sentence even longer than that!

  10. DutchDawg says:

    Marshall is as slick as they come. He knows he can’t go back to Robins Air Force Base if he voted for that. He’s actually a pretty liberal guy, but he does vote the way his constituency would want him to. Gotta give him that.

  11. mercergirl says:

    I agree Dutch, he is just solidifying his non-traditional support here. By that I mean being a Democrat in a very red area and winning.

  12. Jmac says:

    I think it’s important to clarify what the resolution does and doesn’t support. It’s not suggesting that the war is coming to an end soon, though I’m sure there are plenty of folks who are backing it that want that to happen, but rather is focusing on how to conduct the war.

    So Jeff I disagree with you that a non-binding resolution opposing this specific aspect of the war policy, the surge of troops, is tantamount to a signal of defeat. Of course, I also have disagreements with you regarding whether or not the current aspect of this war is more about an Iraqi civil war or a battle against American forces.

    All of that said, while I would back the non-binding resolution, I think those who call for halting funding are mistaken.

  13. Calybos1 says:

    The fact that the Washington Republicans are so terrified of even letting a NON-BINDING resolution pass is hilarious.

  14. buzzbrockway says:

    Uhh…calybos1, in case you haven’t noticed, the Democrats run both houses Congress. They can pass this anytime they want.

    It does amuse me to hear Senate Democrats whining about how the filibuster is some crime against humanity after they’ve used it to bring the Senate to a halt any number of times over the past few years.

    I don’t care why Marshall is opposing the resolution he’s right and I say Bravo!

  15. jsm says:

    I applaud Marshall’s announcement against this resolution. I believe his decision to do so takes into account the views of his constituency.

  16. ColinATL says:

    Jeff Emanuel, your comments are a joke. Under your reasoning, any dissent emboldens the enemy. I will ignore all future posts from you. Thanks for being clear.

  17. Ever faced an enemy Colin? Jeff has.

    Sorry I trust that he knows more than you about it and sorry you had to hear something that you didn’t like and that made it through the walls of your ivory tower. Maybe you should run to Momma Pelosi for comfort she’ll shield you from ever having to hear that America really has enemies that want to hurt you.

  18. GTdem says:

    Jeff, I think you are confusing the means and the end.

    Shouldn’t we have determination to bring about an acceptable solution to the conflict?

    Determination to keep fighting is heroic and patriotic and all, but it sure makes for lots of dead people.

  19. GAWire says:

    Calybos, you obviously aren’t familiar with policy or politics, so let me explain to you what the point of a non-binding resolution is. It is a message. Period. It is an official (albeit sans action) act that allows those who supported or opposed to say: “We did something.” Then, when someone comes back later and says, “You haven’t done anything” or “what have you done about such and such,” they can say, “I did X,Y and Z …” It’s a political move.

    This situation is much more important than political messages, though, because the message that is being sent is communicating issues of danger, life/death, security, defense, etc.

    This non-binding resolution, about which you think is so humorous that we are taking seriously, communicates an extremely grave message.

    I don’t know about you and your boy, ColinATL, but I don’t want to make those serving in war think that we do not support them. And, I’m not talking about Harry Reid’s pointless rhetoric about “this resolution is about supporing the troops but we aren’t going to really support them with the things they need most.” That was the most political driven, double talk I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the inconsistencies saying something like: “We support the troops in theory – we’re just not going to give them the actual support they need.”

    This is so typical of an inadequate Democratic leadership – they take positive action and talk it to death, then try to explain that what they are doing is actually best for those who are actually serving.

    You and Colin obviously can’t comprehend what is really at stake with this “humorous” non-binding resolution, so I won’t even ask you to respond. Also, I read the NYTimes this morning, so I’ve fullfilled my quota of stupidity today.

  20. Jmac says:

    However, we need to follow that up by doing what it takes to achieve that victory — and arguing how best to undermine our military and its leadership is pretty much the opposite of that.

    All due respect Jeff, that’s flat-out misleading. The current debate is in response to a specific aspect of how best to conduct the war, define its mission and bring it to a positive, yet swift end. The president’s proposal to achieve this end is via a temporary surge in troops, but doesn’t represent any significant change or departure from his own policy which you yourself criticize.

    While I think it’s appropriate for the president, as commander-in-chief, to be able to prosecute the war based on the consult and advice given to him by his advisors, I also think it’s the responsibility of our elected representative officials in Congress to question, debate and, if necessary, to express disapproval with some elements of said policy.

    The non-binding resolution doesn’t suggest that folks don’t support the troops, but rather that the policy is faulty and not conducive to letting the troops do their job to the fullest extent.

    And GAWire, since we’re talking about support, I’m assuming this means you fault the administration then for the billions of dollars that have been wasted in Iraq’s reconstruction as reported today by the government’s Accountability Office. Or the criticism from military leadership regarding the administration’s planning and supplies.

    I may back the non-binding resolution because that represents a stated disagreement with policy, but I won’t support a cut in funding because that has the potential to hinder success on the ground. Are you willing to say that your perception of lack of support then, while only in theory now for those who call for cutting funding, does exist in some form or fashion in reality in the administration?

  21. Jeff Emanuel says:

    The non-binding resolution doesn’t suggest that folks don’t support the troops, but rather that the policy is faulty and not conducive to letting the troops do their job to the fullest extent.

    Put yourself in the troops’ shoes for one minute, please, Jmac.

    I know you can’t imagine it completely, but bear with me: you’re being shot at every day, risking your life and knowing that you could be killed at any time. When your political leadership comes out with a statement that they’re going to “slowly bleed the war effort” until the President has no more options but to eventually end the war and withdraw, what comes into your mind?

    Is it “man, it’s dangerous here, and Congress is divided on whether to stay or withdraw — meaning that my death or the deaths of my buddies might end up being for nothing — but I sure am glad the politicans back home are sort of standing up (not totally, because their resolutions aren’t binding, but sort of) for their belief that this policy is faulty and not conducive to letting us do our job to the fullest extent”?

    Or is it, “What the F**K!! These people need to make up their damn minds whether we are at war or not, and act accordingly — give us the equipment and the flexibility we need to complete our mission, or pull us out now, and, damn the consequences, at least we won’t be dying here for a cause that may be abandoned tomorrow — or slowly abandoned, at maybe the cost of my or my buddies’ lives, over a longer period.”

    If you think the troops aren’t smart or educated enough to know what’s going on here, you need to check in to the John Kerry camp of Troop Intelligence Ignorance — and if you don’t think that such a message as is being sent now emboldens the enemy – who will naturally think that an increased effort, and more dead Americans, will only hasten the surrender of the power which Osama bin Laden called a “paper tiger” with no stomach for a long fight – then you, my friend, are not living in a reality-based world. Sorry to burst the bubble.

  22. Jeff Emanuel says:

    [This] doesn’t represent any significant change or departure from his own policy which you yourself criticize.

    I have criticized the President’s policies, and continue to. However, speaking of flat-out misleading, this surge is one component to a four-pronged change; were that not the case, then I would be against it, as well.

    The strategy is as follows:

    First, Lt. General David Petraeus, PhD, Princeton graduate, former Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), former head of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq (the command responsible for training Iraqi forces), and author of Army FM 23-4, “a field manual devoted exclusively to counterinsurgency operations,” has been named Commander of Multinational Forces in Iraq, and tasked with putting his field manual into practice.

    Second – and perhaps most important – the rules of engagement in Iraq are being adjusted to provide for more effective targeting of insurgents and insurgent leaders (as well as forces from Iran). With this alteration in strategy, the troops on the ground can concentrate once again on rooting out and arresting or killing terrorists and insurgents, instead of having to completely restrict their operations, out of fear of upsetting the fragile Iraqi governing coalition (not to mention setting off a media firestorm, which is always a threat), to driving back and forth on the same IED-infested roads and performing the same “show of force” or security missions, day-in and day-out, with little to show for it except for more dead or wounded troops.

    Third, more pressure has been to be put on the Iraqi government to crack down on sectarian violence and on insurgent leaders like Muqtada al-Sadr, and to work harder and more quickly toward self-sufficience, both in governance and in security.

    Fourth — fourth — in order to support the other three elements of the “new way forward in Iraq,” the President announced that this surge of 21,500 more troops would be sent to the Iraqi theater, both to secure Baghdad and to facilitate the implementation of LG Petraeus’s counterinsurgency, defense training, and stabilization plan.

    Were the plan simply to send more troops, then I would be against it as well; without points two and three, we would simply be sending over more targets. However, this is a comprehensive strategy, and a significant change. People have been calling for a “new course” in Iraq for quite some time now, and here one is. Can we give it a chance to work?*

    *of course, it already is working. al-Sadr has fled to Iran. Baghdad security is being beefed up. However, as you’ve pointed out on your blog, I actually notice the good things, and don’t just wallow in despair and envision the worst.

    Unlike most on the left, I have faith in our fighting men and women — as long as they are given the equipment and the freedom to do their job.

  23. GTdem says:

    I could respect your position/post till this:
    “Unlike most on the left, I have faith in our fighting men and women”

    Unless you have some reputable survey or poll to cite that indicates that at least 51% of the ‘left’ do not have faith in our fighting men and women, I call BS.

  24. Jmac says:

    Thanks for the response Jeff.

    Listen, as you note, it’s flat-out impossible for me to put myself in the shoes of the men and women who are currently serving in Iraq. I have never served in a forward combat zone, nor have I ever served in the military so me attempting to understand what it is like to be a soldier would be foolish on my part.

    What I can do is disagree with the policy, and I can disagree with said policy without denigrating the troops. If you are telling me that because I oppose this particular policy proposal – the four-pronged effort put forth by the president (which, by the by, I appreciate you putting out there since I hadn’t actually seen the entire thing) – that I am not supporting the troops, then I will have to respectfully disagree with you good sir.

    I also disagree with how you think this will be interpreted by those serving over there, and I say that with the utmost respect and in a cautious tone since I know you served over there. To suggest this particular resolution or the ongoing debate over the war from a variety of different factions from both sides of the aisle will be the tipping point to an either-or mindset on their part is simplifying the matter.

    From friends and colleagues I know who have served in Iraq, as well as from the reports I see and hear, there is considerable frustration from the troops on the ground. And it isn’t over merely the actual debate over the war, but over everything from frustration from lengthy time away from loved ones and home to uncertainty over who is and who isn’t an ally to concern over the direction of the mission to any of the other numerous factors they have to deal with while serving in Iraq.

    I can concede your point that some troops might grow disheartened from even the non-binding resolution, but to suggest that it will have a massive effect on troop morale is something I simply don’t agree with. Or at least any more than existing factors they deal with everyday while on the ground. In fact, I would imagine some troops would agree with the non-binding resolution because of their disagreements with the war policy.

    I also think you have to understand what emboldens the enemy. You have to understand what they are fighting, and you have to understand who they are fighting.

    Is it possible the mere presence of U.S. soldiers in Iraq emboldening them? Are they engaged in a secretarian conflict and we just happen to be in the way? These aren’t smartass points I’m trying to make either, but honest questions that must be dealt with if we’re going to pursue a foreign policy in the Middle East.

    Unlike most on the left, I have faith in our fighting men and women — as long as they are given the equipment and the freedom to do their job.

    Listen, I know you offer a disclaimer with this statement by saying ‘most’ but let’s be realistic and honest about this and drop the partisan dialogue. Jeff, I may think you’re completely off with regard to some of your opinions on the matter (since, obviously, we’re on different ends of the ideological spectrum), but I respect you and the fact you make them and hold to them. Such conviction is good.

    But characterizing the entire opposition as something that is ‘evil’ or ‘weak’ or ‘wrong’ is silly. I know this is a political blog and politics is full of such hyperbole on both sides of the aisle (believe me, I grow increasingly frustrated by the comments over at places like Daily Kos), but I also think we should strive to have a rational dialogue that works to understand why each other feels the way they do.

    Dialogue is good. Debate is good. Demonizing the opposition, no matter who does it, is wrong.

    Of course, I’m on a soapbox now … I’ll scuttle down.

  25. mainstream GOP says:

    Marshall has consistantly supported our troops in this war, and has always voted to give them the necessary tools to do this job…I think he genuinely supports the troop surge, because he knows this is the only option that could possibly lead to victory in Iraq..I don’t think he is playing politics, although it would make sence..he is not one of these politicians that says one thing in the district and then another in DC (like ohh say Max Clealand did, and he is now calling for cutting the troops funds, how we never saw straight through this pompous ass hole I don’t know)..anyway, Jim is pretty much the only Democrat Zell will still endorse and he is the only Zell style Democrat left in D.C. (d0n’t get me wrong, I was wanting Mac Collins to win) but this man certainly deserves our respect for putting our troops before his party.

  26. RuralDem says:

    mainstreamGOP,

    There are more commonsense Democrats in Congress who exhibit the old school Democratic view. Names such as Rep. Gene Taylor from Mississippi, Rep. Bud Cramer from Alabama, and Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska are the ones that quickly come to mind.

    Taylor and Nelson are more conservative than many Republicans in Congress.

  27. DutchDawg says:

    Marshall is not conservative. Marshall supports the troops. There is a world of difference. He has been brilliant with his ad campaigns and his PR in the district. The fact of the matter is, his voting record is more liberal than David Scott and Sanford Bishop. Because he’s positioned himself as a “gun-totin” Democrat, he’s been able to spin his military votes into making people believe he’s a Zell conservative. He’s smart, gotta give him that.

  28. RuralDem says:

    DutchDawg,

    I take it you’re basing this off rhetoric and not voting record. Throw the shades off and take a look at the voting record of the three. Marshall is by far the most conservative of the three. You’re right however that he is not a hardcore conservative. He is however, conservative for a Democrat in Congress.

  29. Calybos1 says:

    Of course a nonbinding resolution is a political move; of course its only purpose is to send a message.

    And even THAT mild of a gesture has the Washington Republicans terrified and screeching in outrage. That’s what’s so funny about this.

    And the notion that we must blindly support any military action the U.S. takes–or else we’re “not suppporting the troops”–is equally funny. Nobody with even half a brain buys into such a ludicrous argument any more.

  30. rugby_fan says:

    Jeff; this very well could just be me thinking this, but, I strongly doubt our enemies are looking at the finer points of the American legislative system for inspiration in their quest.

    Do you honestly believe any insurgents or members of Al Qa’ida &c. are actually monitoring this bill–or really, anything at all in the congress?

  31. JasonW says:

    Mainstream,
    We DID see through the Pompous Ass taht Max Cleland is, that’s why he’s no longer our Senator, and lost a senate race that honestly he should have won.

  32. rightofcenter says:

    GTDem,
    As a GT alumnus myself, I must say that I’m humored by your alias. It may be accurate to label the body of Techies as nerds, but I’m proud of the fact that we nerds are more conservative and Republican than all the other institutions of higher learning in our state. It must have been lonely being a Dem at Tech.

  33. Calybos1 says:

    It’s never lonely being intelligent at an institute of higher learning.

    What’s lonely is when you leave the enlightened areas enter Redneck County.

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