Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Levin On What Really "Emboldens The Enemy"

I guess when you're a Republican in Washington and you've got a good, digestible smear going on your opponents, you stick with it even if the slime is now directed at the vast majority of the American people. Such is the case with the most recent use of false choices by the GOP in which they say that the only course of action to take in Iraq is to stick with whatever knuckleheaded scheme the White House picks next to salvage George W. Bush's legacy or you are, in fact, "emboldening the enemy."

The application of that charge may be the only bipartisan thing that's happened on Capitol Hill in the last couple of years, as it now appears to apply to Democrats and Republicans alike. Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE), John Warner (R-VA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) all oppose the Bush-McCain Doctrine of escalating the Iraq war so they're also accused of emboldening the enemy.

According to the GOP spin machine, roughly 70 percent of Americans who oppose sending any more troops to Iraq must be in bed with the insurgents as well.

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) -- you know, the guy cosponsoring the Warner-Levin bill that the Republicans refuse to debate -- took to the Senate floor on Monday to knock back attempts by the GOP to stall debate on the war and to let everyone know he's tired of the low-rent language about "emboldening the enemy" when Congress tries to do exactly the job it's supposed to do.

"The administration says this bill emboldens the enemy," said Levin, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Congressional debate over Iraq policy doesn't embolden the enemy. The enemy is already emboldened."

Levin then went on to give Republican leaders and the White House a lesson on what truly emboldens the enemy as follows:
"What emboldens the enemy is the almost 4 years' presence of Western troops in the middle of a Muslim country's capital, which causes over 70 percent of the residents of that country to oppose our presence.

"What emboldens the enemy is the open-ended presence of Western troops, which serves as a magnet for extremists and gives a propaganda club to our enemies.

"What emboldens the enemy is invading Iraq without the support of the international community.

"What emboldens the enemy is lawlessness and looters ransacking public buildings and institutions in Iraq.

"What emboldens the enemy is invading Iraq without a plan for the aftermath of the invasion.

"What emboldens the enemy is increasing the number of American troops, which results in Iraqis taking less responsibility for providing security for all the citizens of Iraq.

"What emboldens the enemy is the creation of Green Zones protecting Iraqi political leaders, in which they pursue a winner-take-all political approach."
"We owe our troops everything. We owe them the best equipment we can provide. We owe them the best training. We owe their families the best support we can give them," said Levin, in his plea to Republicans to put the national interest over providing cover for Bush. "We also owe them our best thinking. I think it is an insult to the intelligence of our troops to suggest that debating the wisdom of deepening the military presence in Iraq somehow or other emboldens the enemy."

And Levin reminded his fellow lawmakers that an election was held in November in which voters made clear their desire to see a dramatic change in Iraq and not the same old rubber-stamping they saw from the do-nothing, Republican Congress.

"The American people have strong opinions about what is happening in Iraq. They want their elected officials to debate this issue, and we should do it," said Levin. "The president's course of action, which he has been on for 3 1/2 years and which he has now proposed to continue on to deepen our involvement in Iraq, does not enhance our security. It does not maximize chances of success in Iraq."

"The debate should go forward. A filibuster is out of place on war and peace issues, on something of this magnitude."