.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Proviso Probe

Monday, August 14, 2006

Danny K. Davis' message on the Iraq War

I'd link to the text online, but Davis' staff hasn't updated the newsletter portion of his website since October 24, 2005.

Your Congressman Reports
Danny K. Davis
August 2006—7th Congressional District—Illinois

War in Iraq

I voted against the resolution which permitted the invasion of Iraq because I did not see justification and still do not feel that our military presence has been vindicated. I take the position that Iraqi forces should be in charge of their country’s security and our task now is to make sure that they are adequately trained and equipped so that we can withdraw U.S. troops as soon as possible. The President and his advisors should set a time certain for withdrawal.

I have been consistently opposed to our military presence in Iraq, but remain a strong supporter of our troops. I voted against the Iraqi invasion, am a member of the Out of Iraq Caucus and believe that we should have a full-blown exit strategy which includes a well trained and equipped local security force by a targeted date certain. The U.S. invasion of Iraq has been too costly in lives, injuries, heartache, agony, pain, frustration and money.

Davis’ position has problems and is bordering on bullshit.

Let’s start at the beginning. Davis wants credit for voting against the Iraq War Resolution. This is true, but not the whole story.

Before the House voted on the IWR, local MoveOn.org activists met with members of Congress. I was part of the delegation meeting with Davis, and the group leader asked me to be the spokesperson.

Davis stated he was opposed to invading Iraq which was the position everyone expected him to take. After listening to the Congressman for awhile, I interrupted him. I thanked him for supporting our position, but we needed the House Democrats to do the right thing and deny Bush’s invasion legitimacy. We needed Davis to forcefully make the case to House leadership that the war was wrong and a bad idea.

Davis politely refused. So Davis gets credit for voting against the war. However he could have done more to oppose the war, but didn’t want to offend Dick Gephardt and the Beltway conventional wisdom.

I would like to have seen Davis make a clear statement that the Bush administration misled the country, but perhaps Denny Hastert’s censorship committee prohibited statements like this for being too partisan. (This mailing was sent at taxpayer expense and had to be approved as non-partisan.)

I take the position that Iraqi forces should be in charge of their country’s security and our task now is to make sure that they are adequately trained and equipped so that we can withdraw U.S. troops as soon as possible.

What’s the difference between Davis’ position and the position of President George W. Bush and uber-hawk Senator Joseph Lieberman?

Bush & Lieberman make vague claims about wanting the troops out of Iraq, but then impose conditions that mean they’ll never leave. What’s the difference between this and Davis’ position?

Davis’ statement about how the President “should set a time certain for withdrawal” is different from Bush and Lieberman. But that part of the statement is bullshit.

Davis knows Bush isn’t going to set a withdrawal date. The Neo Cons want to use Iraq as a base from which to project power against Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. This has always been an objective of invading Iraq. So calling for Bush to set a withdrawal date isn’t advocating a clear policy position, but a murky political position.

As Congressman Jack Murtha explained in Chicago, you’re either for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq now or you’re not. A Congress critter saying s/he’s for withdrawal as soon as some condition improves is bullshit because the situation has steadily deteriorated. U.S. troops aren’t improving the situation. If the Bush administration allowed the generals to speak the truth they’d say Iraq is in a full-blown civil war.

Davis wrote, “I have been consistently opposed to our military presence in Iraq…” This isn’t true. His current position is that the U.S. military should be there until “Iraqi forces… are adequately trained and equipped.” Congressman Davis speaks from both sides of his mouth.

It’s perplexing to me why Davis can’t clearly call for withdrawal. The national Democrats always eschew running a national strategy for Congressional races. They want each candidate to run on his/her own issues. The Beltway Dems want individual Democrats to be able to run as Right Wing candidates on key issues. So why can’t Davis run as “out of Iraq now” candidate? It wouldn’t undermine his re-election in the Illinois’ Seventh? Is Davis opposed to immediate withdrawal? Why?

(Do you notice how the Beltway Dems are far more comfortable with individual Congressional candidates running to the Right of the caucus than to the Left of the caucus?)

Davis further demonstrates his lack of understanding of military strategy by using the term “exit strategy”. Consider some previous wars.

World War II—U.S. troops remain in German, Italy and Japan over sixty years after the war.
Korean War—U.S. troops remain in Korea over fifty years after the armistice.
Vietnam War—U.S. troops have successfully executed an “exit strategy”.
Gulf War I—U.S. troops remain in Kuwait and other countries in the region.
Yugoslavia—U.S. troops remain in the former Yugoslavia.

On a military level World War II and Gulf War I were successes. The Korean War and Yugoslavia were partial successes. The Vietnam War was a failure.

Of course, if you consider “exit strategy” important the Vietnam War was our greatest success. Ergo, anyone clamoring for an “exit strategy” doesn’t put much thought into military issues. “Exit strategy” is a political term invented by Republicans to needle the Clinton administration over Yugoslavia policy.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home