Friday, September 19, 2008

Democrats Refuse Vote Recognizing Troops in Iraq

On September 10, Senator Joe Lieberman's office released the a joint statement from Senators Lieberman and Lindsay Graham on the proposal for a vote in Congress acknowledging the success of the U.S. military's surge in Iraq:

"It was exactly one year ago today that General David Petraeus returned to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress about the progress of the surge in Iraq. At the time, many members of the Senate argued that the surge -- despite growing evidence of its success -- was not working and should be abandoned. One left-wing group,, even made the despicable and outrageous accusation that General Petraeus would try to 'cook the books' to justify the surge when he appeared before Congress.

"One year later, it is clear: the critics of the surge were wrong.
Read the entire statement, here.

Congressional Democrats refused to support the resolution, and
Saturday's lead editorial at the Wall Street Journal explains the political significance of the party's refusal to honor American fighting personnel in Iraq:

Even Barack Obama, who opposed the Iraq troop surge, has finally acknowledged its success. But some of his fellow Democrats in Congress apparently remain unconvinced. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin teamed up to block a vote on a bipartisan resolution "recognizing the strategic success of the troop surge in Iraq" and thanking our men and women in uniform for their efforts.

By late 2006, Iraq was gripped by sectarian chaos. Insurgents and death squads were killing nearly 3,000 civilians per month, and coalition forces were sustaining more than 1,200 attacks per week. On January 10, 2007, President Bush announced the new counterinsurgency strategy that included deploying five additional Army brigades and two Marine battalions to Iraq.

Under General David Petraeus, who relinquished command of U.S. forces in Iraq on Tuesday, sectarian bloodshed has almost entirely abated, daily attacks have fallen to 25 from a high of 180 in June 2007, and overall violence has declined by more than 70%. In July, U.S. combat deaths were lower than in any month since the beginning of the war. All of the troops sent to Iraq as part of the surge have now returned home and are not being replaced.

Citing General Petraeus by name, the resolution, which is sponsored by Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman and Republican Lindsey Graham, "commends and expresses the gratitude to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces for the service, sacrifices, and heroism that made the success of the troop surge in Iraq possible."

The Senators - allies of John McCain - had hoped to attach the resolution to a defense bill under consideration this week. But Mr. Reid wouldn't allow it. Democrats have often claimed that while they may oppose the war in Iraq, they wholeheartedly support the troops. That's a defensible position, and this resolution honoring our soldiers and Marines for a job well done gave them a chance to back up their rhetoric. Yet they still balked.
Yes, they still balked. It's really no surprise, but the Journal editors have provided a real service in highlighting the actions of top Democrats and their refusal to publicly credit the Bush administration's counterinsurgency build-up for turning around a war that was a near-run thing.

Related: "
History Will Vindicate President Bush."