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Why We Can't Set a Timetable

In a post titled "Mitchslapped," Hugh Hewitt posted the following statement from Senator Mitch McConnell's office in full and I decided to share it with you all here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Setting a date certain for withdrawal will send a chill up the spine of every Iraqi who has dared to stand with America."

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday regarding S. J. Res. 9, the latest Democrat proposal to set a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq. The following are his remarks from the floor.

"Today, Senate Republicans will agree to move to a debate on an important question, and that question is this: Should a majority of Senators direct the activity of the War in Iraq?

"Republicans are eager to engage in this debate on the Reid Resolution because it's different in kind from any previous Democratic proposal.

"It is unprecedented in the powers it would arrogate to the Congress in a time of war; it is a clear statement of retreat from the support that the Senate only recently gave to General David Petraeus; and its passage would be absolutely fatal to our mission in Iraq. "Previous resolutions proposed by the Democrats were a mere statement of opinion, or sentiment. This one has a binding quality. It would interfere with the President and General Petraeus' operational authority to conduct the war in Iraq as he and his commanders see fit. It would substitute for their judgment the judgment of 535 members of Congress.

"And the judgment they've made is this: That Iraq is a distraction in the Global War on terror, and that U.S. troops should begin to withdraw in four months, with all combat forces leaving within a year. That's the judgment that the Reid proposal makes.

"This is the memo our enemies have been waiting for.

"Osama Bin Laden and his followers have repeatedly said that the U.S. does not have the stomach for a long fight with the terrorists. Passage of the Reid Joint Resolution will be the first concrete sign since Sept. 11, 2001, that he was right on target.

"Timetables are bad. But don't just take my word for it.

"Speaking at the National Press Club in 2005, my good friend the Majority Leader himself said this: 'As for setting a timeline, as we learned in the Balkans, that's not a wise decision, because it only empowers those who don't want us there, and it doesn't work well to do that.'

"Six months after that, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Biden, said this: 'A deadline for pulling out ... will only encourage our enemies to wait us out' ... it would be 'a Lebanon in 1985. And God knows where it goes from there.' That was our friend, Joe Biden, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"And three months later, Senator Clinton made the same point when she said, 'I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal,' said Senator Clinton. 'I don't think you should ever telegraph your intentions to the enemy so they can await you.' "That's the Majority Leader, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and a prominent Democrat presidential candidate.

"Surely Senators Reid, Biden, and Clinton have not changed their minds about who would benefit the most if we set a date certain for withdrawal. They know just as well as I do that this is what the terrorists have been waiting for -- and just what our allies in Iraq, and the entire region of the world have feared.

"Setting a date certain for withdrawal will send a chill up the spine of every Iraqi who has dared to stand with America. Millions of good men and women have helped us in this fight. Since we arrived in Iraq, nearly 120,000 Iraqis have volunteered to serve in their army. More than 8,000 Iraqis have died in uniform to defend the fledgling Democracy over there. And recently, in Anbar province, we're told that roughly 1,000 Sunnis volunteered for the police force over a period of a couple weeks.

"These brave men and women, Mr. President, are watching what we do here: They know, as we do, that chaos will engulf Iraq and the rest of the region on that day. They know they and their families will likely face a firing squad soon after we leave. And the message we send them with this resolution is this: good luck.

"General Petraeus understands the importance of the mission in Iraq, and his new Mission to Secure Baghdad. In a recent letter to the soldiers under his command, he wrote:

The enemies of Iraq will shrink at no act, however barbaric. They will do all they can to shake the confidence of the people and to convince the world that this effort is doomed. We must not underestimate them. Together with our Iraqi partners, we must defeat those who oppose the new Iraq. We cannot allow mass murders to hold the initiative. We must strike them relentlessly. We and our Iraqi partners must set the terms of the struggle, not our enemies. And together, we must prevail.

"These are the words of the man this body recently sent to Iraq. They are the words of a military commander: confident yet realistic, and committed above all to victory. This is the voice of courage and resolve in the face of danger. We do best to listen to voices like this, which speak of victory rather than defeat and withdrawal. We owe it to him, his soldiers, our allies, and the world.

"Republicans are ready for this debate."

Comments (17)

Hey, who planned this war, ... (Below threshold)

Hey, who planned this war, anyway?

I can't quite comprehend th... (Below threshold)
Radical Centrist:

I can't quite comprehend this drive to get every last troop out of Iraq. We have thousands of troops stationed in Europe, Japan an S. Korea decades after
hostilities have ended. Why should it be different
in Iraq. We should have at least 30,000 troops permanently stationed in Iraq for the long haul.
After all the middle east is where we will be engaging the enemy for a long time, and there are few places we could actually station troops for a quick response to the region. Okinawa not being one of those places for a quick response.

Okinawa is just thinking ah... (Below threshold)

Okinawa is just thinking ahead. After Islam joins the 21st Century, we'll need landing forces to enter the Chinese Century.

'I don't believe ... (Below threshold)
'I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal,' said Senator Clinton. 'I don't think you should ever telegraph your intentions to the enemy so they can await you.'

And she just told us that we are out of there if she is elected President.

But I have it figured out. There is a special signal to the left that indicates, "ignore this statement" as I'm only trying to deceive the moderate fence sitters when I say these things. (wink~wink) ;-)

Well said Mr. McConnell.</p... (Below threshold)

Well said Mr. McConnell.

Totally agree with Senator ... (Below threshold)

Totally agree with Senator McConnell. His speech, which I haven't seen widely broadcast, really puts the onus on the Democrat leadership. This indicates that maybe, just maybe the Replubcans in the Senate are not going to be quite the soft opposition they have been in the past.

Truth be told, as soon as any kind of time table for withdrawal or similar is set, the Iraqi People are done for.

Status, Covert!... (Below threshold)

Status, Covert!

When is President Bush go... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

When is President Bush going to green light these Un-American Rats?

Kim:Don't believe ... (Below threshold)
Radical Centrist:


Don't believe the hype about China becoming the
the new behemoth that's going to knock America off the map. Remember Japan was going to do the same in the 90's and Japan had none of the problems that
China has to overcome.

Oh, I'm not worried, RC. T... (Below threshold)

Oh, I'm not worried, RC. They are our creditor big time. They have to take care of us. Aren't you glad?

Status, Covert!Poste... (Below threshold)

Status, Covert!
Posted by: BarneyG2000 at March 16, 2007 10:21 AM

barney... if you can't stay within the topics thread,

just STFU

Sorry marc. Ha HaM... (Below threshold)

Sorry marc. Ha Ha

Man Val is hot, and she handles a mean AK47!

It's okay. They're Democra... (Below threshold)

It's okay. They're Democrats. They're allowed to contradict themselves. Different rules apply.

Didn't someone once say "we... (Below threshold)

Didn't someone once say "we will stand down when the Iraquis stand up"? Well it's time for them to start standing, or at least rising from a prone position. Right now they have little or no incentive to improve their security. Why should they when the good old US is more than willing to keep throwing THEIR lives and money into the breach. Unless you're willing to admit that long term occupation was part ot the plan from the start, sooner or later the Iraquis will have to live, or die, without us. I say sooner.

Did the Dem Senator who suf... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Did the Dem Senator who suffered a stroke (I forget his name)vote on this? Has he voted on anything?

Can he carry out his duties as a Senator?
Seems that if he can't, he should be replaced in accordance with his state's law.

I have to say that Sen. McC... (Below threshold)

I have to say that Sen. McConnel has been doing a fairly good job keeping the GOP side in line, and Lord knows they're going to have to circle the wagons in the future.

Why is it that only when th... (Below threshold)

Why is it that only when they're in the minority do GOP senators suddenly grow a pair?






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