You are herecontent / "Victory Means Exit Strategy..."

"Victory Means Exit Strategy..."

Published on Saturday, September 24, 2005 by The Nation
By John Nichols

It's anti-war quiz time.
Who made the following statement:

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now."

A.) Cindy Sheehan?
B.) Phil Donahue?
C.) Michael Moore?
D.) A prominent politician who was not afraid to dissent in a time of war.

Answer: D.) A prominent politician who was not afraid to dissent in a time of war.

Defenders of the occupation of Iraq will, before the weekend is done, have some choice words for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are marching and rallying for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from that Middle Eastern nation.

They will pull out all the deliberate misreads of intelligence and paranoid fantasies that were employed by George Bush in his relentless campaign to win support for the invasion of Iraq. But, above all, they will peddle the lie that since the beginning of this misguided war has been their favorite: The suggestion that those who oppose the war are somehow harming the troops.

A marketing campaign, launched shortly after the war began and continued to this day, has sought to link support for the men and women serving in this country's military forces with support for even the most foolhardy and dangerous of the president's policies. There are even bumper stickers that declare: "Support President Bush and the Troops."

But this is just political gamesmanship, nothing more.

How do we know?

Because House Majority Leader Tom DeLay tells us so.

Back in 1999, after then-President Bill Clinton had ordered U.S. forces to begin a massive bombing campaign and missile strikes against Yugoslavia, the House of Representatives considered a resolution supporting the mission. The leading opponent of the resolution was DeLay, who dismissed the notion that opposing the war was in any way an affront to the troops. In a visceral floor statement delivered in March of that year, DeLay declared, "Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly. We must stop giving the appearance that our foreign policy is formulated by the Unabomber." As the war progressed, DeLay condemned "(President Clinton's) war," and grumbled in April, 1999, that, "There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today."

To those who dared suggest that such aggressive language might be dispiriting to the troops who were engaged in the mission, DeLay told USA Today, "It's very simple. The president is not supported by the House, and the military is supported by the House."

DeLay's sentiments were echoed in the Senate by Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, who explained that, "My job as majority leader is be supportive of our troops, try to have input as decisions are made and to look at those decisions after they're made ... not to march in lock step with everything the president decides to do."

DeLay and Lott has allies in the media who were, if anything, even more passionate in their criticism of the war. Anticipating the current comments of Cindy Sheehan and other family members who have lost loved ones in Iraq, they framed their anti-war arguments as a plea to save the lives of U.S. troops who had been put in harm's way as part of a fool's mission. Sean Hannity growled into his Fox New microphone about how supporters of the war should be forced to: "Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life." Hannity was an "out now" man: "No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That's why I'm against it," he argued. Hannity's fellow peacenik, conservative commentator Tony Snow, even went so far as to make quagmire comparisons, suggesting on a March 24, 1999, Fox program: "You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to Kosovo."

The commander-in-chief's critics found an ally in a candidate in the 2000 contest to replace Clinton. Sounding an awfully lot like U.S. Sen Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, who in August suggested that it was time to set a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Texas Governor George W. Bush told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on June 5, 1999: "I think it's also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long (U.S. troops) will be involved and when they will be withdrawn."

What about "stay the course"?

No way, said Bush the candidate. "Victory means exit strategy," he told the Houston Chronicle on April 9, 1999, "and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

Critics of this weekend's anti-war marchers will surely dust off the claim that the protesters are merely recycling the slogans of the 1960s. Fair enough. No more: "Make Love, Not War." Instead, why not recycle an anti-war slogan from the 1990s? Something catchy, like: "Victory means exit strategy." And while they're at it, foes of the Iraq occupation might want to recycle some of the better rhetoric of that decade, like the line: "I cannot support a failed foreign policy." Just be sure to credit the prominent politician who was not afraid to dissent in a time of war -- even if it meant criticizing the commander-in-chief: Tom DeLay.

John Nichols, The Nation's Washington correspondent, has covered progressive politics and activism in the United States and abroad for more than a decade. Formerly a writer and editor for The Toledo Blade and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspapers, he is now editorial page editor for The Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

(note: reach Lungren here and congressman green , and congressman flake

What do you think of this letter?

"Dear Mr. Lungren,

Thank you for the well-formatted and important reply.

Unlike certain other members of Congress, you do pay attention to what your constituents say and also understand that the Downing Street Memos can not be dismissed.

However when you say, "It is not clear the president had the same reasons for going to war as Prime Minister Tony Blair" what exactly is it you are really implying?

Was the president not privy to the exact same information as Mr. Blair was?
Is the intelligence he received somehow not the same intelligence that Mr. Blair received?
Does the article of law, in our constitution differentiate between "lying with justification" and "lying without justification" or "not "knowingly" lying" ?

With due respect it seems to be word semantics that do not stand up the rule of law. I believe on a matter which is as serious as a war, semantics should not be used and there must be a severely strict investigation of what the leaders did who ran that war.

I agree with the importance of stopping the human rights abuses in Iraq and there were some good developments. However continuing to stay there, when there is not even clearly valid or legal reason for being there is just like Congress signing over a blank-check to the Presidency and hoping they come out good on the other side.

At the outset of this war, Congress agreed with certain steps to be taken in Iraq and did not in any word agree to declare full out war. It was only after the weapons of mass destruction "smoking gun" and corresponding evidence was shouted, that Congress agreed to justify the entire war and invasion.

In a manner of speaking, Congress allowed themselves to be bought and bamboozled. And it is either too corrupt, or violently polarized now to hold the executive branch accountable which is why I'm presenting this evidence.

I'm a firm believer in bringing this country back to order, and that no impeachment nor conviction should be done without hard, solid evidence.

Evidence which shows below, clearly how CIA agents were pressured politically to make false estimates for things Congress has not investigated to this day.

Which is why I am calling for you and other Chairmen to review the case and figure out how to do an investigation.

If such an investigation is to be done, it needs bi-partisan support. Whether or not this was a case which is properly deserving of impeachment, needs to be completely reviewed and analyzed with respect to the law of our land.

It comes down to this: We're no longer going to sit on the sidelines, and we are going to get Congress to act whether we have to replace them or not.

My father was a fiscal conservative, my uncle is as well and neither of them believe any of the various lies about the Iraq war justifications. They want the truth, and rightfully demand the truth and accountability.

Many represenatives keep treating it as a partisan issue and pooh-poohing it from both sides, but it really is not. Its about the truth and about all of us, versus they who very well may be war criminals. And only through getting to that place, and agreeing on a full Resolution regarding all things Downing Street will we have that truth.

This man below is the result of Bush's GOP policies, and there are millions like him.

Other Congress members seem to be simply falling apart, either stressed out or just not able to face the real enemy.

And it has had a drastic cost on both parties while damaging the ones in power the worst.

There is a clear, vastly corrupt threat which is neither conservative nor liberal, but who is anti-american that Congress needs to challenge and face it head on.

I'm talking of the neo-conservatives, neo-luddite liberals of the Project of New American Century.

Get educated about them please, everyone is concerned with them now.

Read their plans, their proposals and motivations. Find out just what these people have to do with the President or anyone else on the Federal Bench, or in Congress because they are clearly hellbent on only one thing: Their agenda of globalization.

We as americans need to rise up and stop them as we're the only ones who can, given what the truth is showing. And to do so we need to all stop drinking the kool-aid or reading the talking points.

The Republican party could be destroyed otherwise, and many more like this man will flood the country.

And many more Democrats as well, since the Democratic party itself could lose its entire foundation.

We don't try to change the future, Mr. Congressman. We stand up right now and change ourselves, and then change the future with it.

Do the right thing and support a Resolution of Inquiry about the Iraq war. Do not let the country down, and help change our country now, like all true americans wish to do and must do.


William Kristol, CHAIRMAN of PNAC, was war-mongering on The Chris Matthews Show:

"...WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 24-25, 2005
Kelly O'Donnell -- NBC News
Joe Klein -- Time Magazine
Kathleen Parker -- Tribune Newspapers
Bill Kristol -- Weekly Standard
Can Saddam Hussein himself keep America from Victory in Iraq?
Will Americans look for a hard-charging maverick for President in 2008?..."

John McCain, former president of the New Citizenship Project which initiated PNAC, was war-mongering on This Week :

"Coming Up on ThisWeek
We'll have the very latest on Hurricane Rita from ABC News correspondents throughout Texas and Louisiana. And George speaks to federal, state and local officials in charge of the emergency response.
Plus, we'll speak exclusively with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, about Rita's impact on her state, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., about the tough choices ahead for Congress and the White House..." Previous quote is from This Week for Sept. 25th

How dare these two Fascists defy the WILL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE !!!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


Support This Site


Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.



Speaking Truth to Empire


Families United


Ray McGovern


Julie Varughese


Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.



Ca-Dress Long Prom Dresses Canada
Ca Dress Long Prom Dresses on

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.