Friday, February 16, 2007

It's So Hard to Disguise Their Desire to Lose as Support for the Troops

According to this Associated Press story, the Democrats may be feeling some heat over the publication of their slow bleed strategy.

Democrats face a host of risks as they move toward more substantive steps to tie President Bush's hands with funding restrictions on the Iraq war.
Leaders are wary of allowing the more intense anti-war activists define the party's image.

Simmering divisions within the ranks over how soon to move _ and how far to go _ could quickly diminish a tactical victory this week on a resolution criticizing Bush's conduct of the war.

"There are those in our caucus who would rather we not do anything, and there will be people who want to see us extricate ourselves overnight. We'll have to balance those interests," said Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, House Democrats' chief vote-counter. "We're not going to sit anybody out, but we will have to decide how to weigh those things."

Senior House Democrats will huddle next week during a congressional break to plot strategy on their next move, which will be seeking to restrict some of Bush's Iraq war spending by establishing high readiness and equipment targets for troops and requiring those targets be met first.

The Republican National Committee has been quick to respond to the announcement of the slow bleed strategy.
The Democrat strategy on Iraq is finally clear.

We've known all along that they want to cut and run before the job is done. But they've been afraid to confront President Bush directly. Today, Democrat Rep. John Murtha let slip what he and Nancy Pelosi really intend to do, and it is genuinely frightening.

They call it their 'slow-bleed' plan. Instead of supporting the troops in Iraq, or simply bringing them home, the Democrats intend to gradually make it harder and harder for them to do their jobs. They will introduce riders onto bills to prevent certain units from deploying. They will try to limit the President's constitutional power to determine the length and number of deployments. They will attempt to keep the Pentagon from replacing troops who rotate out of Iraq. They may even try to limit how our troops operate by, for example, prohibiting our armed forces from creating and operating bases in Iraq.

'Slow-bleed' is exactly the right name for this incredibly irresponsible and dangerous strategy. Cutting and running is bad enough. But the Murtha-Pelosi 'slow-bleed' plan is far worse. It is a cynical and dangerous erosion of our ability to fight the terrorists while we still have men and women on the ground in Iraq. It will put their lives in far greater danger, as resources slowly dry up. How can our troops operate without bases? How can they fight without backup?

'Slow-bleed' cannot become law. Luckily, we have an opportunity to stop it. The Murtha plan depended on stealth. Now, however, the press has broken the story. And now we can act.

I was amused when I first heard that Republicans were striking back. In order for slow bleed to gain traction, it needed almost no publicity. But being the majority power in Congress means your decisions get, well, publicized.

Since suffering humiliation last year, when Republicans forced a vote on Murtha's cut-and-run proposal, Murtha has been itching to find a way to force us to fight the war from Okiinawa. Now that Murtha thinks he's found the way, he's still got to figure out how to get it past an American public that wants victory, even if they are war-weary.

My hope is that Murtha's strategy doesn't have a chance, but we will see.