Bush’s Slow Bleed

On the same day that Joe Biden writes in the Boston Globe in favor of repealing the 2002 war resolution, Julie Hirschfeld Davis of the Associated Press reports that Dems are backing away from the idea. Or maybe they’re just postponing it. Or not.

However, later in the article, Hirschfeld Davis claims that a rift has developed between Jack Murtha and Nancy Pelosi over plans to use congressional spending powers to force a change in Iraq policy. But a closer look reveals that Hirschfeld Davis is suffering a rift between her keyboarding fingers and her brain. HD writes,

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meanwhile, said she doesn’t support tying war funding to strict training and readiness targets for U.S. troops.

The comments distanced her from Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who has said he wants to use Congress’ spending power to force a change in policy in Iraq, by setting strict conditions on war funding.

Pelosi said she supports holding the administration to training and readiness targets, but added: “I don’t see them as conditions to our funding. Let me be very clear: Congress will fund our troops.”

Asked whether the standards should be tied to a $100 billion supplemental war spending measure _ as Murtha has proposed _ Pelosi demurred, saying it was up to the panel that drafts funding bills.

HD of the AP is comparing apples to oranges and coming up with spinach. To understand where Pelosi and Murtha are coming from, check out what Lolita Baldor (who would name a kid “Lolita”?) reports for the Associated Press

Strained by the demands of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a significant risk that the U.S. military won’t be able to quickly and fully respond to yet another crisis, according to a new report to Congress.

The assessment, done by the nation’s top military officer, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, represents a worsening from a year ago, when that risk was rated as moderate.

The report is classified, but on Monday senior defense officials, speaking on condition on anonymity, confirmed the decline in overall military readiness. And a report that accompanied Pace’s review concluded that while the Pentagon is working to improve its warfighting abilities, it “may take several years to reduce risk to acceptable levels.”

Just one more indicator that Bush’s Folly is making us more, not less, vulnerable. Anyway, Nancy Pelosi just issued this statement:

“This unacceptable state of readiness affected our military long before President Bush ordered an escalation of the Iraq war in January, but the escalation is making it worse.

“The harmful effects on the readiness crisis of the President’s escalation plan are just beginning to be seen. Two Army brigades scheduled to go to Iraq in the spring will do so without completing their normal training cycles and without all of the equipment required to do their jobs. We should not be sending troops to Baghdad unless they are fully trained and fully equipped. We already owe a great deal to our troops, and we do them a disservice by putting them in dangerous situations without being fully prepared.”

What Pelosi says it not at all at odds with what Jack Murtha has proposed. To the contrary; as David Sirota explains, Murtha’s plan also supports troop readiness. Although you wouldn’t know that from reading the “mainstream” media. Quoting the Washington Post:

To be sent to battle, troops would have to have had a year’s rest between combat tours. Soldiers in Iraq could not have their tours extended beyond a year there. And the Pentagon’s ‘stop-loss’ policy, which prevents some officers from leaving the military when their service obligations are up, would end. Troops would have to be trained in counterinsurgency and urban warfare and be sent overseas with the equipment they used in training.

Hmm, you might be saying. I thought Murtha’s plan was all about de-funding the war; what the Republicans are calling a “slow bleed.” In fact, “slow bleed” is what the Bush Administration is doing to our military, and Jack Murtha is trying to stop the bleeding.

What Murtha proposed was tying war funding to readiness. According to the WaPo article by Jonathan Weisman and Lyndsey Layton linked above, Murtha “botched” this proposal.

The plan was bold: By tying President Bush’s $100 billion war request to strict standards of troop safety and readiness, Democrats believed they could grab hold of Iraq war policy while forcing Republicans to defend sending troops into battle without the necessary training or equipment.

But a botched launch by the plan’s author, Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.), has united Republicans and divided Democrats, sending the latter back to the drawing board just a week before scheduled legislative action, a score of House Democratic lawmakers said last week.

For the life of me I can’t figure out what it was Murtha “botched.” After wading through several paragraphs reeking with hysteria, it appears that Murtha’s only “flub” was that he announced the plan on a web site associated with Moveon.org. After which all of Washington came down with the vapors.


Anyway, since Weisman and Layton announced that the Dems are rifting, our gal Hirschfeld Davis picks up the cry:

The developments on both sides of the Capitol reflected a new level of disarray in Democratic ranks on Iraq. Swept into power by voters clamoring for an end to the war, Democrats have seen their efforts falter under a reality more complicated than they found on the campaign trail.

Hirschfeld Davis doesn’t mention that most of the “complications” are being manufactured by the Right Wing Echo Chamber. The fact is, you have to go to leftie web sites to get a clear, non-hysterical explanation of what Murtha proposed. The MSM is just recycling rightie talking points and declaring the plan “botched” and the Dems “divided”; the usual narrative, in other words.

In the Strife of Truth With Falsehood

Back in 1845, American poet James Russell Lowell wrote a poem, published in the Boston Courier, protesting the Mexican War. Some time later the words were set to “Ton-y-Botel” by Welsh composer Thomas J. Williams and became the hymn “Once to Every Man and Nation.” [Workplace warning: The page plays a midi file upon opening.] First verse:

    Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,
    In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
    Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,
    And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light.

While stumbling around looking for something else I came across a post by rightie blogger Carol Platt Liebau, who misplaces “Once to Every Man and Nation” in the Civil War era, and then claims it as a pro-war hymn. Talk about the strife of truth with falsehood! The pseudo-conservative struggle to mangle and destroy all of American history, institutions, and democracy itself continues.

Last verse:

    Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong;
    Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong;
    Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown,
    Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.

Let’s hope. Anyway, I say Liebau owes James Russell Lowell an apology and her readers a public correction.

Update: I’ve found at least one source that calls what Lowell wrote an “abolitionist” poem, although the large bulk of references say it was an antiwar poem. However, no one calls it a “pro-war” poem.