Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Faces of Appeasement


Three members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted "yes" on H. Res. 571 ("Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately"):

U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney, 4th District of Georgia

U.S. Representative José E. Serrano, 16th District of New York

U.S. Representative Robert Wexler, 19th District of Florida

Six other Democrats voted "present" -- which I take to be "yes" in a whisper. Those Democrats are:

Michael Capuano, Massachusetts 8th
William Clay Jr., Missouri 1st
Maurice Hinchey, New York 22nd
James McDermott, Washington 7th
Jerrold Nadler, New York 8th
Major Owens, New York 11th

Many other Democrats -- including one John Murtha (Pennsylvania 12th) -- would like to have voted "yes" but claimed that they voted "no" because the resolution was a Republican "trap." Well, yes, it was a trap. You could vote "yes" and reveal yourself as an appeaser or you could vote "no" and send the enemy the right message: America is not about to back away from the Middle East.

UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge, an avowed conservative and quasi-Republican, takes issue with what he calls the GOP's "stunt":
So the House GOP pulled off its little stunt last night, winning by havings its own proposal for immediate withdrawal from Iraq voted down 403-3. . . .

Alternatively, the House GOP could have been honest and given Murtha an up-or-down vote on what he actually proposed:

  • To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
  • To create a quick reaction force in the region.
  • To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
  • To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.

1. There's no practical difference between immediate withdrawal and "redeployment" consistent with the safety of U.S. forces. We know what "redeployment" really means, and who would think that a withdrawal that might begin immediately would be accomplished without an effort to ensure the safety of the withdrawing forces?

2. A quick-reaction force to do what? If it isn't necessary to have troops in Iraq, why would we need to have them elsewhere in the region?

3. Ditto for those over-the-horizon Marines.

4. Pursuing diplomacy with thugs is a pipe dream. Ask Neville Chamberlain. Ask Ariel Sharon. Diplomacy is best pursued by talking softly, carrying a big stick, and using it as necessary.

The enemy will have noticed that Murtha's proposal would effectively withdraw American forces from combat with no assurance that they would return. The enemy will have noticed that Murtha's proposal says nothing about actually ensuring the security of Iraq. It's a poll-driven plea for the withdrawal of U.S. forces, whether or not the job is done and regardless of the consequences for Iraqis or for the rest of the Middle East.

Not only is Bainbridge naïve about Murtha's proposal, he's also naïve about the need for the GOP to do precisely what it did, given the din of defeatist rhetoric coming from Democrats and knee-jerk anti-war factions in the U.S. The House leadership cleverly delivered a message to the enemy: No matter what you hear to the contrary, we're not bugging out of Iraq.

Some may call it a trap; some may call it a stunt; I call it a job well done.

UPDATE 2: Patterico and Dafydd ab Hugh agree with me.