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Another Hawk regrets his vote

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Disagreeable

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Excerpts; link below; my emphasis.

'It was after 11 p.m. on Friday when Rep. Norm Dicks finally left the Capitol, fresh from the heated House debate on the Iraq war. He was demoralized and angry.

Sometime during the rancorous, seven-hour floor fight over whether to immediately withdraw U.S. troops, one Texas Republican compared those who question America's military strategy in Iraq to the hippies and "peaceniks" who protested the Vietnam War and "did terrible things to troop morale."

The House was in a frenzy over comments by Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who had called for the troops to leave Iraq in six months. In response, the White House initially likened Murtha, a 37-year veteran of the Marines and an officer in Vietnam, to lefty moviemaker Michael Moore.

Then a new Republican representative from Ohio, Jean Schmidt, relayed a message to the House that she said she had received from a Marine colonel in her district: "Cowards cut and run; Marines never do."

During much of the debate, Dicks, a Democrat from Bremerton, huddled in the Democrats' cloakroom with Murtha, a longtime friend. Both men are known for their strong support of the military over the years. Now, they felt, that record was being questioned.

"There was a lot of anger back there," Dicks said in an interview this week. "It was powerful. I can't remember anything quite as traumatic as this in my history here."

Near midnight, he drove to his D.C. home, poured a drink and wondered how defense hawks like he and Murtha had gotten lumped in with peaceniks by their colleagues and the administration.

And he thought about all that had happened over the past couple of years to change his mind about the war in Iraq."

"In October 2002, Dicks voted loudly and proudly to back President Bush in a future deployment of U.S. troops to Iraq — one of two Washington state Democratic House members to do so. Adam Smith, whose district includes Fort Lewis, was the other.

"Dicks thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and wouldn't hesitate to use them against the United States.

After visiting Iraq early in the war, "Norm told me the Iraqis were going to be throwing petals at American troops," Murtha said in an interview this week.

Dicks now says it was all a mistake — his vote, the invasion, and the way the United States is waging the war.

While he disagrees with Murtha's conclusion that U.S. troops should be withdrawn within six months, Dicks said, "He may well be right if this insurgency goes much further."

"The insurgency has gotten worse and worse," he said. "That's where Murtha's rationale is pretty strong — we're talking a lot of casualties with no success in sight. The American people obviously know that this war is a mistake."

Dicks, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, says he's particularly angry about the intelligence that supported going to war.

Without the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), he said, he would "absolutely not" have voted for the war.

The Bush administration has accused some members of Congress of rewriting history by claiming the president misled Americans about the reasons for going to war. Congress, the administration says, saw the same intelligence and agreed Iraq was a threat.

But Dicks says the intelligence was "doctored." And he says the White House didn't plan for and deploy enough troops for the growing insurgency.

"A lot of us relied on [former CIA director] George Tenet. We had many meetings with the White House and CIA, and they did not tell us there was a dispute between the CIA, Commerce or the Pentagon on the WMDs," he said.

He and Murtha tended to give the military, the CIA and the White House the benefit of the doubt, Dicks says. But he now says he and his colleagues should have pressed much harder for answers."


Full article here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002645321_normdicks25m.html
 
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Anonymous

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What's the big deal, Dis? Another wishy-washy Democrat changes his mind. It's not like fickle and wishy-washy Dems are on the Endangered Species list. Maybe he's just been reading your posts? And you've finally convinced him? Or maybe he's just been reading the polls? After all, there is certainly no reason to think that a Dem would stand on principle.

If you really get to thinking about it, there are similarities in this story to other aspects of life on the West Coast. Such as a middle-aged guy leaving his wife and kids after deciding all of the sudden that he's gay. Don't you see? Isn't that similar?
 

Liberty Belle

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How about this Democrat? Johnson is from my state. I have never voted for him and don't intend to start, but his article in today's Rapid City Journal is insightful... and one dis, koluraven, et al, will not appreciate.

Standing with our troops
By Sen. Tim Johnson, South Dakota's senior U.S. senator.

WASHINGTON - Earlier this month, the Senate overwhelmingly adopted an amendment to the 2006 Defense Authorization Act calling for President Bush to clarify his strategy for Iraq. The amendment had broad bipartisan support, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Chairman of the Armed Services Committee Sen. John Warner, R-Va.
Some have interpreted this vote as a sign that the U.S. Senate has wavered on its commitment to our troops and their heroic efforts in Iraq. This could not be further from the truth.

As the father of a soldier who served with the 101st Airborne Division and was among the initial wave of U.S. forces into Iraq, I am awed by the dedication and professionalism of our men and women in uniform. At the same time, I fully appreciate and understand the concerns of the loved ones they have left behind in order to defend freedom abroad.

I voted in favor of authorizing force in Iraq knowing full well the implications it would have on my family, as well as all the families with loved ones serving in the military. We have a duty to provide for those we send into harm's way, and that is why I have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that our troops have all the resources necessary to complete their mission in Iraq, as well as the benefits they have earned and deserve when they return home.

We also have a duty to our soldiers and their families to present a strategy for success in Iraq. The Republican-sponsored measure I supported, along with 78 of my colleagues, would do exactly that by requiring the administration to report to Congress on our progress in Iraq.

Far from sending the wrong message to our troops, it demonstrates our steadfast support by calling upon the Iraqi people to work together for a political settlement and to assume responsibility for their own security. Creating these conditions on the ground in Iraq will stabilize the country and help our troops complete their mission. These are goals we can all support.

However, I do not support and have never supported a "date certain" for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, regardless of the conditions on the ground. Neither amendment I voted in favor of would have required a date-specific timetable for withdrawal. Such a proposal could unduly compromise our efforts.

We are all proud of the men and women in uniform and for their dedicated service to our country. While 19 of my colleagues disagreed with the majority and voted against this amendment, I do not question their commitment to our troops and their mission. I do not question their patriotism or love for country.

However, to suggest that the 79 senators who voted in favor of further oversight on our efforts in Iraq demonstrated weakness or a lack of resolve is a disservice to our country's long tradition of open and honest debate.
November 26, 2005
http://rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2005/11/26//news/opinion//opin930.txt
 
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Anonymous

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Liberty Belle said:
How about this Democrat? Johnson is from my state. I have never voted for him and don't intend to start, but his article in today's Rapid City Journal is insightful... and one dis, koluraven, et al, will not appreciate.
Very interesting, Liberty Belle. Thank you for the wake-up. Sometimes I lose perspective. I must learn to repeat to myself:

"Dems are not all bad."

"Dems are not all bad."

"Dems are not all bad."

That's enough for one day, right? :lol:
 
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