From the Chicago Tribune:
Following a heated all-day debate on the Senate floor that pitted combat veterans against combat veterans and one former secretary of the Navy against another, lawmakers rejected a proposal to require giving U.S. troops as much time to rest at home as they spend in theater overseas.
Democratic leaders had believed that the amendment, offered by a former Navy secretary, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), was the best path for ending the war in Iraq and forcing the administration to quickly bring the troops back home.
But the Bush administration put intense pressure on Republican senators to reject the proposal, threatening to veto the legislation and warning that it would inexorably harm the ability of military leaders to run the war.
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a staunch critic of the war who co-sponsored the Webb amendment, said Wednesday’s outcome means Republicans will continue to stick with Bush for at least the rest of the year.
The measure, which would have applied to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, would have required that they spend as much time at home as they spend in theater. Members of the National Guard or Reserve would be guaranteed three years at home before being sent back. Most soldiers now spend about 15 months in combat and about 12 months at home before being redeployed.
Throughout the day, Webb, Hagel and other senators pleaded for the well-being of the troops. They noted a sharp rise in the divorce rate in military families; they pointed to alarming suicide rates and they recounted missed birthdays, anniversaries and first steps of young children.
“This amendment would provide a safety net to our men and women in uniform by providing minimum and more predictable time for them to rest and retrain before again deploying,” said Webb, a Marine who was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam.
Success seemed within reach as one Republican after another said he or she was considering a ‘yes’ vote. Seven Republicans voted for the amendment in July, and Democrats believed they needed just three more votes to win.
But Webb’s hopes were dashed when Virginia’s other senator, Republican John Warner, another former secretary of the Navy, said he would switch his vote and oppose the amendment. As a former chairman of the Armed Services Committee and an influential figure in the Senate, Warner stopped other Republicans from joining Webb.
From The Caucus at The New York Times:
In a statement released after the vote, Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said:
“In blocking this bipartisan bill, Republicans have once again demonstrated that they are more committed to protecting the President than protecting our troops. They have shown they will allow President Bush’s flawed war strategy to continue to strain our military rather than allow the availability of troops to dictate our operations. And they believe it is in our national security interest to push our brave troops and their families beyond their breaking point.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who in recent months has said, that he, too, believed this month — given the general’s accounts — would be a deciding point for him, issued this statement after the vote:
“All of us agree that our forces must be rested, trained and equipped, which is why this underlying bill continues the expansion of the nation’s Army Corps and Marine Corps. However, to tie the hands of our military commanders to deploy forces is a dangerous precedent.”
Dana Milbank at the Washington Post:
But then, Warner explained how officials at the Pentagon had convinced him that Webb was wrong to try to extend troops’ rest times. “I say to my good friend from Virginia, I agree with the principles that you’ve laid down in your amendment, but,” he concluded, “I regret to say that I’ve been convinced by those in the professional uniform.”
After that, senators went through the motions of deliberating — “We’re struggling and groping,” said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) — but it was just for show. Warner had sealed the fate of the debate — and, for now at least, the U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Warner arrived toward the end of the vote. He lingered at the clerk’s table to admire his handiwork: The antiwar senators had 56 votes, four short of the number they needed.
Allow me a short personal message to Senator Warner:
You will be retiring next year. There was no political damage for you to fear. You don’t have to worry about protecting your senate seat. However, you, someone who touts his service in World War II and in Korea on your website and must know the horrors of war, voted against something that you know is right and decent. You waited until the very last minute to tell your fellow senator from Virginia about your change of mind–I won’t say change of heart, because I don’t believe that you felt in your heart–that you were doing the right thing by voting nay. You have been given the gift of a long life. How many soldiers will not be as lucky because of your decision? You are old. You are rich. You never have to worry for the rest of your life where your next meal will come from, whether you will have a place to live, if you will be able to afford medical care. What did the White House or the Rethuglican zealots use to arm-twist you into changing your vote?
Senator Warner, you are not an honorable man. May your life in retirement be only as peaceful as that of the next family who loses a loved one in Iraq due to your vote. May you never have another day with a clear conscience.
26 responses to “The Wrong Stuff”
John Warner should see that message, nonnie. It is a fine piece of writing. True justice would demand that these fools drown is the blood that they have spilled.
No truer words were ever spoken, Fotc….
i know that he will never see it, and i know that nobody in his little bubble will ever confront him with the fact that he continues to sign death warrants each time he sides with the piece of shit in the white house. i suspect that he will live in his deluded state, lying to himself that he has the country’s well-being first and foremost in his mind. i would love to know what they are using to blackmail him and some of the others so that they can secure their votes. it is one thing when they are just conspiring in order to steal money, but when there are lives at stake, it is another story. i despise them. i really do.
they should all be forced to sit, chained to chairs with their eyes pried open a la a clockwork orange, and made to watch an endless loop of all the soldiers and iraqis who died in this disastrous clusterfuck.
The cowardess, of our government, which is demonstrated by the lack of will to stop Bush’s aggression in Iraq, brings shame on our country. The craven, smug and greedy assholes who represent We the People will never answer for what they have enabled. When their bill comes due, it will always be others who pay.
congress should be filled with the best this country has to offer. if they are the best, we might as well fold up shop right now.
If they don’t understand what Bush has done, they are dumber than a box of rocks. If they do understand, they are far worse than dumb.
i think some of them (mel martinez comes to mind) really are not that bright. they are just puppets who do what they are told. there are others, though, who are truly evil. then there are the wusses (looking at you, arlen specter!!!). dc positively stinks of wusses.
“Two-Faced Special Edition” – how apropos… Your letter to Warner is Mite-T-Fine as is the DVD cover.
So, if I’m not around for a few days, it won’t be because I don’t love your stuff, nonnie, or because they’ve “disappeared” me. I just think I need to take a teensy-weensy timeout from politics. That last few days have been – well, you know how they’ve been.
Enough bluff and guff for a lifetime…
i will miss you, nightowl, but i understand completely. this past week has been a real bastard. i was on the phone today with some moron in my senator’s office, screaming. i might as well have screamed at the wall. 👿
Take care, nightowl. I know how you feel. Sometimes, when the frustration red line is pegged, it is necessary to shut down and recharge for time. I try to find some small projects where results are certain, in order to keep the hopelessness pushed back.
I understand what you mean, nightowl, I feel that way, too. But after the protest last Saturday, I find I’m energized in a really angry way, and instead of backing away I feel a more in-their-face approach coming on. They’re not seeing us, they’re not hearing us, so we have to make ourselves as visible as possible and be as loud as we possibly can.
So, take a rest, my friend, and when you’re feeling better, come back at it. I’ll be here, waiting with a bullhorn for you……
nonnie, just thought I’d mention that mail is bouncing from your address tonight. Two of three messages (8pm and 11:30pm) have bounced; the third (10pm) hasn’t yet, but I expect it’s only a matter of time.
In a way, I’m glad it happened, because it means I get to see this diary in a timely fashion, and read your eloquent note to lame-duck senator John Warner, who showed despicable lameness in switching his vote.
Hey, just thought I’d let anyone interested know that nonnie’s cable got hit by lightening last yesterday, and that’s why she hasn’t posted anything new today. The cable guy is supposed to come tomorrow, so hopefully they’ll fix her up and she’ll be able to be back online sometime tomorrow. So don’t worry, be happy. Mill about, chat amongst yourselves, visit some of her work here that you might have missed. I know she’ll appreciate it…..
Thank you gottagrip. I was beginning to worry. Hopefully, now that nonnie’s cable has been struck by lightening, that won’t happen again. At least, not in the same place.
How did lightning know where she was?! I sense a conspiracy … 😉
(Hurry back soon, nonnie! You are missed!)
Maybe, the lightening came FROM nonnie.
The truth is a powerful thing and nonnie don’t lie. 😉
I think the irony gods were watching. mikk0 has been limited in his time online recently due to renovations in his apartment. He can only get online by going to the local library, and will be hamstrung in this fashion for the next few weeks. He had contacted nonnie, checking in as it were, and she was in the middle of posting a pm to him saying that she was sympathetic, she didn’t know what she’d do if she couldn’t get online. Bam!!!
That’ll teach her…. 🙂
Well, she could, at least print out something and snail mail it. I’m feeling all adrift. I know that is really selfish but, I’m having a bad weekend. I’m ready to send a stamped/self addressed envelope to nonnie9999 in Florida. I’m glad that she is ok, other than online withdrawals, which are a terrible thing, for both her and mikk0.
Fotc, I’m sorry you’re having a bad weekend. If there’s anything I can do for you, you know where to find me. I’m more than happy to listen to a friend in need. Just let me if I can help.
Here are a few links of stuff I did at dk to tide you over. It’s not up to nonnie’s high standards, but maybe it will help pass the time until we get her back….
And just for good measure, something uplifting….
If nonnie doesn’t magically appear soon, I’ll give her a call this evening and see what’s happening. If she can send me new diaries to post here with the instructions on how to do it, I’d be more than happy to oblige. I know that everyone is starving for her newest works, so that would be the least I could do for her and everyone who’s anxiously awaiting a new installment. In the meantime, hang in there. We’ll get our nonnie back, never you fear……
Thanks for the links, gottagrip. The photoshopping is great. I had seen two of these, (and rec’d.). I don’t know how I missed the brain eating one, LOL. The D.C. March pictures are uplifting.
The trouble I’m having is that on Friday morning, my favorite cousin died. She was the one I always went with to all the family memorials and so forth, now I don’t know who to sit by. This is really hard. It’s not something that I should talk about at the barn. I’ll be ok, I think I’m a little shocked, is all.
hi everyone!! 😀
the tubes have been unclogged and the internets are once again working for me! it seems that i get more comments when i am away than when i am here! 😆 if this is what it takes to get sar and ben to visit and leave comments, then i might have to cut the wires on my computer every few days or so!
sar, i don’t know what comcast did, but i was unable to access my email account. they just undid what they did, and it is now working (i think). so happy to see you here!
gotta, thanks for calling and thanks for letting everyone know what the problem was (and for keeping the kids entertained).
ben!! when they disappear me, i hope you will spearhead the conspiracy campaign!
fotc, i missed you, too, and i am so sorry to hear about your cousin. a thousand hugs and a thousand kisses, sweetie. i don’t know what else to say.
nonnie! I’m glad that you are back in the virtual world. I have been without the net for periods of time and I find that I begin to pace the floor and talk to myself. The pacing is good exercise but, to get the true net feeling, sometimes you have to argue with yourself. I try to be civil but, one thing leads to another and I have said things, to myself, that I have regreted, later. Hugs, to you, too.
i am glad to be back! 😀 i don’t argue with myself, because i start with the personal attacks, and i am such a bitch when i do that! 👿 instead, i used my downtime to watch movies. to show you how far behind i am in my movie-watching, these are the movies i watched:
the dangerous lives of altar boys
the big lebowski (saw it a long time ago, watched it again)
my son lent them to me, along with season 1 of night court (loved that show, didn’t even remember the early episodes i watched) and the first and second seasons of news radio (haven’t started watching yet, but loved that show).
pacing probably would have been a healthier choice. next time!
Fotc, I’m so sorry about your cousin. I know that it doesn’t help much to say it, but you have my deepest, heartfelt sympathies. And if you need anything, even if it’s just someone to shoot the shit with, I’m always around, and you know where to find me. [[[[[hugs]]]]]
Thank you, gotta. Hugs right back at ya.