Monday, September 18, 2006

The Infamous Sentence

OK, OK. I am so sick of everyone in the free world using Joe Lieberman's comments, "It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation'’s peril" out of context.

As such, this post is in response to the numerous comments made, most recently, Genghis Conn's post, Hang On A Second on Friday September 15, 2006 about the text of Senator Lieberman's speech where he uttered this now infamous sentence. I encourage you all to read this objectively, in particular the part I bolded. I really think it speaks for itself, therefore this is my only comment on the subject.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE...forget about what candidate you support for a few moments and read it objectively, as hard is it may be. As you read it, keep in mind that I am not questioning anyone's support of any candidate with this post, only the use of this sentence by many.


Remarks of Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment Forum on Next Steps for Successful Strategy in Iraq


Thank you very much David McCurdy, my friend for your generous introduction and for your continuing public service and let me join you in thanking Dr. Andy Krepanevich and the Center for all that he and it has contributed to American thinking and policy on defense, and in this case particularly on the war in Iraq. I am honored to join both of you in this discussion this morning. Before Andy offers his latest insights on Iraq, which I look forward to, I in some sense want to set the context. I want to say a few things about what I believe is on the line there in Iraq, about how we are conducting ourselves here in Washington, and how what happens here affects what will happen there.

The title of this program is “How to Win in Iraq.” That was the title of Andy’s seminal article in the journal Foreign Affairs earlier this fall, and it seems to me that is ought to be the focus of Congressional discussions about the war from now until its conclusion. The most important debate going on currently here about the war in Iraq is between some people who are focused on withdrawal of our forces regardless of conditions on the ground and the rest of us who believe that our goal in Iraq is not to withdraw but to win, so we can leave with the mission accomplished.

This is a serious and significant debate and in the vitality and health of our democracy will continue to go on. I hope it goes on with a recognition that there are Republicans and Democrats on both sides and that it should be conducted in a spirit of mutual respect and national interest.

For my part, I agree with Dr. Krepinevich's observation that, “The war (in Iraq), which arguably began as a “war of choice” has become a “war of necessity” we cannot afford to lose. The costs of victory in Iraq will be large for the U.S. But the costs of defeat would be disastrous for the U.S., Iraq, the Middle East, and most of the world.

The costs of victory will be high in American lives lost and American money spent. But the costs of defeat would be disastrous – they include the collapse of the new Iraqi regime, civil war, regional war, a victory for Zarqawi and Al Qaeda, which will embolden them to attack both other Arab countries and our American homeland, the rollback of democracy in the region, and the painful realization that the lives of American soldiers who have died in Iraq were given in vain.

Defeat in Iraq would also carry a heavy cost of lost opportunities. We are there not just to defeat the terrorists – not even mostly to defeat the terrorists – we are there to provide the security for a self-government by the Iraqis where the creation of a modern, open, thriving state in this historic center of the Arab and Islamic worlds. If we accept defeat in Iraq we will have lost the opportunity to create within this great nation a larger victory in the so-called war “for the hearts and minds” of people in the Islamic world and that lost opportunity would be a large cost and a disaster.

It is probably these enormous costs of failure in Iraq that explain why so few in Congress have joined the calls for a preset, timed withdrawal. Last Wednesday, the President laid out his strategy for victory in Iraq in a speech at the Naval Academy and accompanying 35-page white paper. It described a plan that has developed over the last two and half years since Saddam Hussein was overthrown. It is a plan that has resulted from trial and yes, many errors. It describes the strategy, the tactics, that I saw in Iraq two weeks ago and that I believe are creating progress there.

The response of leading Democrats to the president's proposal last week I thought was important and instructive. Most leading Democrats – and I include here the statements made by my colleagues Senators John Kerry and Jack Reed – did not call for an arbitrary time to withdrawal, but instead questioned some of the Administration's tactics and asked the Administration to go to the next level of detail on its proposals and plans.

The President’s description of our “clear, hold, and build” strategy for victory in Iraq and the tactical response of most Democrats suggests that there may be more agreement here than meets the eye and ear in the dueling partisan press conferences that characterize public discourse in Washington today. What I am suggesting here, as I listen and read the statements made, is that there is broad bipartisan agreement on the goals, on the strategic interest we have in the successful completion of our mission in Iraq; there are disagreements about tactics. Accepting this reality and the urgency of the moment in Iraq calls us, I believe, to remember the famous counsel of Senator Arthur Vandenberg, Republican of Michigan that “Politics must stop at the water’s edge.”

Vandenburg of course, played an instrument role in the post WWII period in building bipartisan support for Presidents Truman’s post WWII, early Cold War foreign policy. The full, actual statement of the imperative that Vandenburg stated, that politics must stop at the water’s edge, is altogether relevant to our current circumstances:

“To me, bipartisan foreign policy means a mutual effort under our indispensable two-party system, to unite our official voice at the water’s edge so that America speaks with maximum authority against those who would divide and conquer us and the free world.”

Those last words of Vandenberg’s exactly describe the goals and methods of the Islamist terrorists who attacked us on 9-11-01 and fight us in Iraq today. They aim to “divide and conquer us and the free world.” Vandenburg’s preceding words defining a bipartisan foreign policy should remind us of how much stronger we would be in this critical fight if we “seek national security ahead of partisan advantage.”

That is why I feel so strongly that it is time for us to set aside for now the arguments about why we got into Iraq so that we can work together on how we can get out best in victory and honor with the job done.

With the consequences of victory or defeat in Iraq so large for our future safety, and liberty; and with the lives of 160,000 Americans in uniform on the line there everyday, it is urgent that all of us who want to complete our mission successfully and do not favor an arbitrary timetable for withdrawal put the national goals we hold in common ahead of the party labels that too often divide us.

I recall here the wisdom of Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, who served our country during World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. Stimson said that sometimes the best way to make a person trustworthy is to trust him. There is wisdom there. It is time that America’s leaders, in the White House and Congress, Republicans and Democrats, who agree on our goals in Iraq but disagree on tactics to start trusting each other again so that we can work together again. The distrust is deep and I know it will be difficult to overcome, but history will judge us harshly if we do not stretch across the divide of distrust and join together to complete our mission successfully in Iraq.

It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.

It is time for Republicans in the White House and Congress who distrust Democrats to acknowledge that greater Democratic involvement and support in the war in Iraq is critical to rebuilding the support of the American people that is essential to our success in that war.

It is time for Americans and we their leaders to start working together again on the war on terrorism. To encourage that new American partnership, I propose that the President and the leadership of Congress establish a bipartisan Victory in Iraq Working Group, composed of members of both parties in Congress and high ranking national security officials of the Bush Administration. This group would meet regularly, I would hope at least weekly, to discuss conditions and progress on the ground in Iraq and ways to alter or improve our strategy for victory. It would carry forward the cooperative spirit of the Warner-Levin amendment which recently passed the Senate. In our form of government, it would be one of the closet structures we could create to replicate a unity government or a war cabinet that exists in other democratic systems.

I know that some will say that proposing a forum for bipartisan cooperation on the war is, in the current intensely partisan environment in Washington, naïve and impractical. Perhaps they are right. But what is not naïve or impractical is my conclusion that the return of such bipartisanship in the conduct of this war would raise popular support at home, encourage our brave troops in the field, discourage our vicious enemies, and strengthen the resolve of the Iraqi people and the hundreds of millions of others in the Islamic world who want a better way forward than the hatred and death Al Qaeda offers.

In 1941, Winston Churchill came to Rochester, New York and said:

“When great causes are on the move in the world… we learn that we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.”

My friends, great causes are clearly on the move in the world today. We were attacked by Islamist terrorists – attacked here at home. The centers of American power, our great cities, were attacked. The main battleground in this war is now Iraq. So I would say, in Churchill’s phrase, that duty calls us now to take ourselves above the ordinary partisan debates of this capital city, to unite for victory, to walk the course together until our mission is completed, our security is protected, and the forces of freedom have once more emerged triumphant from the battlefields of power and of principle.



Now I don't really think that his comments cited in Genghis Conn's post were all that much different in meaning than these, were they? To me they seem to be almost identical.


Source:

Genghis Conn, Connecticut Local Politics, Hang On A Second, Friday September 15, 2006.

Remarks of Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment Forum on Next Steps for Successful Strategy in Iraq, December 6, 2005, Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) Official US Senate Website

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Disgruntled, your post is well done, but I just need to comment on something tangential.

To those who read today's article in The Courant about how Alan Schlesinger sees himself as "David", I would like a show of hands as to how many people (R's, D's, and U's) dry-heave every time he speaks. Take the Lieberman/Lamont thing away from it and just take Alan Schlesinger himself. The man is joke. His lasting impression on the Connecticut political landscape will be that he has lied and covered-up, lied and covered-up, again and again his past actions. He's shown no discretion in his statements. Instead of actually running a campaign (you know, with volunteers, phone calls, organization) he has sought only to milk the attention the real candidates in that race are getting by demanding equal time on Hardball, and other talking head programs, where just when you think he couldn't look any dumber, he exceeds even his lofty standards. His arrogance, selfishness and greed have prevented him from thinking of anyone but himself by not stepping aside (whether asked, or not). His own campaign staff has either quit or been fired, and now he's a one-man gang. He professes to have a number of national conservative financial backers lined-up if ("when"-lol) he can crack into the 'teens in the polls. So Alan, even the arch-conservatives aren't willing to help you get there? Why even bother saying that? Schlesinger has done considerable damage to the Republican congressional incumbents by remaining in there. Even Phil "if they're old enough to pee..." Giordano could be counted on for 25%. Kevin Rennie hit the nail on the head: "He's in a dead heat with the margin of error."

I could go on forever--literally forever. Oh, and since it seems to be the norm on this blog to assert some sort of qualification of you remarks, I am a 'very engaged' Republican.

Thank you for your time.

bluecoat said...

Joe's second to last sentence is as follows:My friends, great causes are clearly on the move in the world today. We were attacked by Islamist terrorists – attacked here at home. The centers of American power, our great cities, were attacked. The main battleground in this war is now Iraq and it is almost identical to Bush's assertions from the Oval Office last Monday night - and both are wrong - there are some international terrorists operaring in Iraq against our military but the majority of the violence is sectarian. And the thought that somehow the terrorists are only operating in Iraq is ludicrous - just ask scotland yard, INTERPOL or even our own counterterrorism people here in the US.

As I have said in the past, our country is fortunate to have atleast 25 Republican US Senators who deal in reality and not biblical bologna.

LiebermanForLieberman said...

A "War on Lightning" makes about as much sense as a "Global War on Terror". Increasingly, it's looking more and more like Clinton was right about terrorism all along.

Terrorism is probably best dealt with using international law enforcement and espionage. Using the US military to run around in the desert chasing shadows is a profound waste of our resources, and makes us look extremely foolish as well.

Clinton's anti-terror efforts were more successful than what Bush/Lieberman have been doing. The results speak for themselves - under the Bush/Lieberman "War on Terror" program, there have been ZERO convicted terrorists. Time to try something else.

Anonymous said...

anonymous: - Alan Schlesinger is a much better and far more credible candidate than Joe Lieberman. Especially after this past six years with all of his skipped votes and Democratic back-stabbing, not to mention all his lying, Joe Lieberman is simply not credible.

Additionally, Alan Schlesinger is a moderate, unlike neoconservative Lieberman. I am supporting Alan Schlesinger in this election, and you should consider doing so too. Alan is worthy of our support. Alan may count cards, but he doesn't have the track record of lying, vote-skipping and indifference towards constituents and our troops that Joe Lieberman has demonstrated.

bluecoat said...

and another Joe Quote: It would carry forward the cooperative spirit of the Warner-Levin amendment which recently passed the Senate. in late 2005 calling on Bush to bring about significant change in Iraq in 2006 BUT Joe didn't vote for the amendment as I recall anyway.

Anonymous said...

A vote for Schlesinger is a waste of time, energy, and intellect.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Klintonista was real successful with his anti terrorism policies, I mean look at the way he dealt with the embassy bombings, USS Cole and OBL and the WTC,

GMR said...

under the Bush/Lieberman "War on Terror" program, there have been ZERO convicted terrorists.

I don't know if counting convictions in a court of law is the best way to count successes. This administration has a few hundred people locked away in Guantanamo and elsewhere -- the so-called illegal non combatants. These people were caught while fighting the US military, but were not wearing military uniforms and thus not eligible to be treated as POWs. Same as the German soldiers caught in 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge who were all summarily shot the next day, since they weren't wearing Wehrmacht uniforms but instead were wearing US military uniforms.

common sense over partisan politics said...

bluecoat - Your leap of logic fascinates me.

Lieberman said: "The main battleground in this war is now Iraq...."

You acknowledge that: "there are some international terrorists operaring in Iraq against our military...."

Then you reach the following conclusion: "the thought that somehow the terrorists are only operating in Iraq is ludicrous."

Arguing that the "main battleground" is in Iraq IS NOT THE SAME AS (emphasis intended) arguing that "the terrorists are onlyoperating in Iraq."

A complete disconnect between the two yet it totally escapes you.

Can you please refer me to one quote (just one) attributed to Lieberman, Bush or anyone for that matter, claiming that the terrorists are only in Iraq.

Quite frankly, I find your conclusion ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:00 said "Alan Schlesinger is a much better and far more credible candidate than Joe Lieberman."

I guess this is the latest attempt by the Lamont folks - try to bolster Alan Gold's numbers.

LMAO

bluecoat said...

Lieberfool's conclusion that Iraq is the main battleground is the ludicrous conclusion.

bluecoat said...

the treatment/execution of the Germans masquerading as American soldiers during the BotB was consistent with the interpretation of all parties to the Geneva Conventions at the time - 1944 I beleive - but since then the conventions have been modified and clarified.

Nobody's saying the terrorists are model citizens but some in Congress who have served in the military in combat - like Warner, Graham and McCain who was tortured as a POW for a number of years - can testify to why these people are best treated as POW's.

common sense over partisan politics said...

Bluecoat - Why is Lieberman's conclusion so ludicrous? If not Iraq, then where is the main battleground? Is there one? What evidence do you have that Iraq is not the main battleground?

One last point, you never answered my question as to how you reach the conclusion that Lieberman believes that the terrorists are only operating in Iraq based on his belief that Iraq is the main battleground?

As far as I know, Lieberman has never said that terrorists only operate in Iraq, yet you say that is his position. Please tell me how you reach that conclusion (other than you say it because you don't like him and therefore feel that you can say anything).

Anonymous said...

Schlesinger sux.

Bumper stickers to follow.

Anonymous said...

Lieberman won't even articulate his position on Iraq. I wonder why?

This editorial addresses Joe's now-legendary reticence on Iraq. Check it out:

Give Him Another Week

Delicious Quote:

"Why should Lieberman, after all the time this issue has been before us, and all the time he has been in the Senate, and all the resolutions he has co-sponsored on foreign policy and on Iraq, have to figure out what he thinks, package it, and embargo it until such time as he unveils his new position?"

Why Indeed?

bluecoat said...

Lieberfool also said this in his squirrely speech: We are there not just to defeat the terrorists – not even mostly to defeat the terrorists – we are there to provide the security for a self-government by the Iraqis where the creation of a modern, open, thriving state in this historic center of the Arab and Islamic worlds.
Lugar, Warner, McCain, Graham - i.e. Republicansn are talking straight about Iraq and counterterrism but not squirrely Joe.

David in NY said...

[S]ometimes the best way to make a person trustworthy is to trust him. There is wisdom there. It is time that America’s leaders, in the White House and Congress, Republicans and Democrats, who agree on our goals in Iraq but disagree on tactics to start trusting each other again so that we can work together again.

Joe thinks that Bush is trustworthy, I guess. He is even more foolish than I thought.

Anonymous said...

The sentence is what it is, the remarks are what they are. Same 'in context' or not, IMO - and yes I've read the text backward and forward several times. This post is nothing but a ludicrous waste of space and bandwith. Your time would be spent better getting Joey short ride to run as the non-de-facto repuglican.

Dem Blue and Gold said...

Forget the context. This quote illustrates just how bad of a politician Joe Lieberman has proven himself to be. His job is to present ideas in a way that attracts the most people, especially people who are supposed to be his supporters. He should be smart enough and experienced enough to know that, even a short soundbite like this, isn't going to sit well with Nutmegers, most of whom are in fact very critical of the executive. If Lieberman is the experienced politician he claims to be, he should know the implications of this statement's wording. The big advantage of Joe is that he's supposed to have the experience to get things done for CT, but if he can't demonstrate a mastery of political language this quote illustrates, how am I supposed to trust that he will use the right, convincing language when he's trying to get the funding he claims to be able to bring in? Just as is the case with Joe's blogophobia, his poor press relations in the primary, and an inability to connect with his base, the speech illustrates how Joe isn't the experienced politician he claims to be. If he can't illustrate his experience, then voters have no choice but to look at issues. And frankly, again in part because of his inability to communicate well, it seems like Lamont, sadly, has him beat. I'd rather have an inexperienced politician who I agree with than an incapable politician who I don't.

Anonymous said...

anonymous:

Why is Joe waiting to "unveil" his new Iraq position? Well, I'll bet I know the answer. I will wager that Lieberman wants to poll test his new Iraq packaging before "unveiling" it.

Principles my arse!