Lugar, late; Voinovich, void

Indiana Senator Dick Lugar was known as a foreign policy expert, and always seemed like a fairly dignified guy to me; he was my Senator for the two years I spent in Indiana. I voted against him, but didn’t hate him.

And I fully expect that along with George Voinovich and Gordon Smith before them, Lugar will be praised for his independence and statesmanship for finally calling for a “drawdown” in troops — not exactly a full exit, but close. Indeed, Harry Reid called his remarks “courageous”.

I understand Reid’s intent and obligation to say so, but … this is just too damn late. We needed these guys to be statesmen in 2002 — and throughout the last five years, not just expressing “quiet skepticism” and rubber-stamping the administration’s incompetence with their votes. This isn’t courage. It isn’t good judgment. It’s impossible to disentangle the undeniable truth of Lugar’s “bleak assessment” from the fact that the vast majority of Americans already reached this decision — without our Senate “experts” having to tell them. If he’s the expert, he’s supposed to be smarter than the rest of us. If he has good judgment, he’s supposed to share it with our leaders. If he’s courageous, he’s supposed to lead.

PS: Should Susan Collins get a free pass, too? Do you trust her judgment and leadership?

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7 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Listened to some interesting conversation re Iraq this morn

    Military thinking and planning is functioning on the premise that the drawdown will begin soon.

    The following are what these folks are planning for. The Iraqi's will engage in a full scale civil war of take no prisoners savagery. Millions killed.

    Turkey will launch an incursion into norther iraq to take the oil fields as will Iran. The Iranians and the Turks will go at it.

    The Straits of Hormuz will be closed. Zero oil out of the mideast.

    Syria will agitate Hamas to attack Israel with their new Russian and Iranian weaponry supplied by Syria.

    All in all the US military thinks that USA may be in for some real tough times.

    In 1991 this all could have been averted if Gen Swartzkopf had been allowed to take out Sadaam as many had indicated was necessary, but GHWB and Gen. Powell didn't have the stones or the UN mandate.

    My my, history repeats itself again.

    • More likely

      accellerated the process by a decade. 

      Bush, Sr. was smart enough to stay out of that particular pile of poop.  The use of the military requires more than stones; it requires knowing when and when not to deploy.  You don't go and pick a fight, especially with a pissant like Saddam, unless you can win decisively and be home for dinner.  Poppy Bush was bright enough to recognize this. Junior was not, and has created a fiasco. An unmitigated fiasco.

      So military types are planning for a worst case scenario? It is a shame that GWB's policies have made these scenarios possible.  They're just doing they're jobs.  One can only hope their next CinC will actually listen to them, and deploy them responsibly.

      And unless the Straits of Hormuz has suddenly relocated to Kurdistan, I doubt that Turkey will have the capacity to close it.

    • What you heard was silly

      Turkey will launch an incursion into norther iraq to take the oil fields as will Iran. The Iranians and the Turks will go at it.

      If Turkey launches an incursion into northern Iraq, it will be to suppress terrorist activities of the PKK (the Marxist Kurdish Peoples Party) from there into southeast Turkey.  Not to take the oil fields.  The PKK has been attacking Turkish interests in Turkey and elsewhere for decades.  Indeed, the primary terrorist activities in Germany was PKK against Turks there. 

      It was the Turks' concern that the Kurds in southeast Turkey may wish to break away and join northern Iraq that was their primary objection to the US's overthrow of Saddam's regime.  They knew what would happen.  I had a pretty good idea, and that's one reason why I opposed the war early on.

      Regarding Iran, it is more likely that Iranians would direct their attention to southern Iraq.

      In 1991 this all could have been averted if Gen Swartzkopf had been allowed to take out Sadaam as many had indicated was necessary, but GHWB and Gen. Powell didn't have the stones or the UN mandate.

      Hardly.  The only thing that would have been different is that the same thing would have in 1991 instead of 2003.

  2. It is a shame that this post garrnered so little attention

    Interesting that bloggers demand that Congress take hard line positions (cut off the funding!) that have the effect of dividing their own caucus and uniting the Republicans, and here react to a division in the GOP caucus by kicking the mavericks in the shins.

    That is a pretty good recipe for sqandering a Congress isn't it?

    No wonder the party establishment doesn't trust the bloggers.

    • Mavericks, my ass

      If they were real mavericks, they would have done something significant and tough well before June of 2007. Give me a break.

      And somehow, I don't think Lugar or Voinovich care much what I think.

      • But

        You are a progressive blogger, and I understand you to be for the Democratic Party what the religious right once was to the GOP.

        And yet you eschew a strategy that divides your opponents, and embrace a strategy that divides your team.

        If you actually advocate an end in Iraq, Lugar and Voinovich just presented an opportunity to force the Republicans to have that debate internally, which means more will peel off, which could eventually give the dovish a majority of the Congress.  And the ability to confront the White House with an actual bipartisan majority. 

        If Democrats spit on these guys, there isn't any reason for anything to happen on the GOP side.  Then they're left with empty, impotent resolutions or draconian funding cuts that do not command even a majority of the Democratic caucus.  I guess that would be a good strategy if Democrats only want to position themselves against the war without actually, you know, ending it, to maximize the weight of the millstone around the neck of the GOP in '08.

    • The so-called $quot;mavericks$quot; in Congress are...

      ...peeing into the wind, and it isn't worth spending a lot of time on discussing their "withdrawal" proposals or their "cut off the funding" proposals.  Those proposals irrelevant, as long as there is a petulent child pResident in the Oval office who has 140K+ American hostages (soldiers) and a like number of American contractors in Iraq. 

      Your petulent child pResident will play a vicious game of chicken with Congress.  Sure, Congress can de-fund the war, simply by not passing a budget request.  It wouldn't require trying to overcome a veto: just not pass the request.  Would your petulent child pResident withdraw the Americans there?  Not entirely clear, is it?  And if he doesn't, and ever more Americans die or are wounded, he'll blame the Congress.

      The problem isn't Congress.  The problem is that the country is being led by a petulent child.  The majority in Congress probably knows it, but is unwilling to say it.

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Sat 25 Oct 4:43 AM