Supporting the Troops
James Taranto issues a correction:
So it turns out we erred in an item yesterday on a House resolution honoring the troops who liberated Iraq. The 228-195 near-party-line vote to which we referred was on a procedural matter, not the resolution itself. We’re told that such procedural votes almost always come down along party lines. The House voted on the actual resolution yesterday evening, and it passed by a much bigger margin, 327-93.
Voting “no” were 90 Democrats, two Republicans (Jim Leach of Iowa and Ron Paul of Texas) and independent self-styled socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont. One of the “no” votes came from Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, who in December 2002 urged the reinstatement of the military draft on the grounds that “a disproportionate number of the poor and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military.”
Rangel seems to think the poor and members of minority groups who choose to serve their country–along with the better-off and members of majority groups who do–are unworthy of his respect. This isn’t the first time he has voted against a resolution honoring the troops in Iraq; he did so also just under a year ago. And as with the 2003 resolution, the vast majority of members of the Congressional Black Caucus voted “no”–23, against only 6 voting “yes” (and 3 “present”). Especially disappointing are the “no” vote from Georgia’s Denise Majette and the “present” vote of Alabama’s Artur Davis. Both are freshman representatives who ousted far-left Black Caucus members with histories of anti-Semitism. Also voting not to honor the troops was Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader.
The crux of the Resolution:
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) affirms that the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq;
(2) commends the Iraqi people for their courage in the face of unspeakable oppression and brutality inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein’s regime;
(3) commends the Iraqi people on the adoption of Iraq’s interim constitution; and
(4) commends the members of the United States Armed Forces and Coalition forces for liberating Iraq and expresses its gratitude for their valiant service.
Now, clearly, this Resolution–especially section (1)–is an attempt to embarrass those who opposed the war and to make political hay in an election year. Indeed, I think passing proclamations that have no public policy impact are almost always a pointless exercise. Still, I’m amazed that 93 Members voted against a Resolution that is going to paint them as “not supporting the troops” when surely everyone agrees with the statements above.
Even if one opposed the war, surely one must concede that the world is a safer place without Saddam’s regime in power. One can believe that and simultaneously believe that the way he was removed was a violation of international law, it wasn’t worth 500+ American lives to achieve, the resources could have been put to better use, or even that the war had wider repercussions that made us, on balance, less safe. So why vote against?
(Hat tip: Black Five, who has some additional thoughts on the matter.)