"I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal," declared Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), a 10-year veteran of the Senate, in a speech last night.The link provides another link where you can listen to Senator Smith's speech. Here's a slice from the same link above:
The Iraq Study Group has given us some ideas. I don't know if they are good or not. It does seem to me that it is a recipe for retreat. It is not cut and run, but it is cut and walk. I don't know that that is any more honorable than cutting and running, because cutting and walking involves greater expenditure of our treasure, greater loss of American lives.
Many things have been attributed to George Bush. I have heard him on this floor blamed for every ill, even the weather. But I do not believe him to be a liar. I do not believe him to be a traitor, nor do I believe all the bravado and the statements and the accusations made against him. I believe him to be a very idealistic man. I believe him to have a stubborn backbone. He is not guilty of perfidy, but I do believe he is guilty of believing bad intelligence and giving us the same.
In case you were thinking, huh, maybe a republican can talk some sense in to the W, Rove and co, have a look at what Tony the Snow Job has to say about this speechifying by the Senator:
Q Okay. Republican Senator Gordon Smith, last week, said, "Our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day, it's absurd. It may even be criminal," and that he can no longer support this. What is your reaction to a Republican senator saying that what's going on right now in Iraq is criminal?Nice...but wait, there's more. I particularly enjoy the line "republicans feeding on rebulicans:"
MR. SNOW: Well, we dispute the "criminal" part, obviously, and at the same time, understand the senator's concern. We share the concern about not doing well enough fast enough. But do not assume that people are simply being blown up. They are on missions. And as General Chiarelli said last week, "There's not an engagement our people have lost, but it is still important to continue the work of building greater capability and capacity on the part of the Iraqi government and helping them out."
People on both sides are going to have disagreements, much as Joe Lieberman, formerly a Democrat, apparently run out of his party for disagreeing with what was seen as orthodoxy at that time, but Gordon --
Q Republican Senator Smith is challenging the strategy. What he basically said yesterday, as well, was, when you do the same thing over and over again without a clear strategy for victory, that is dereliction, that is deeply immoral. Such is the dispute. He's saying what the President is doing is immoral.
MR. SNOW: Well, then we disagree.
Q Tony, first of all, the --
Q You're just going to blow it off? A Republican senator is saying the President's policy may be criminal and it's immoral, and you're just saying, we just disagree?
MR. SNOW: And what would you like me to say? Should I do duels at 10 paces?
Q Don't you think you should answer for that? You're saying -- you've said from this podium over and over that the strategy is a victory, right? And you have a Republican senator is saying there is no clear strategy, that you don't have a strategy.
MR. SNOW: Well, let's let Senator Smith hear what the President has to say. We understand that this is a time where politics are emotional in the wake of an election. And you know what? Senator Smith is entitled to his opinion. But I'm not sure exactly what you would like --
Q Well, how about answering the central thrust about the strategy, not about, like, politics --
MR. SNOW: Okay, the strategy is pretty simple. If you take a look, for instance -- if you take a look at the Baker-Hamilton commission report, what do they talk about? They talk about building greater capability on the part of the Iraqis so that you can have an Iraqi government that governs itself, sustains itself, defends itself, who's ally in the war on terror is a democracy.
I don't think it's immoral to be a democracy. I don't think it's immoral to have a state that is able to stand up and defend itself against acts of terror. I don't think it's immoral to defend the Iraqi people against acts of terrorism aimed at Muslims.
Q The Senator is not saying that's immoral. He's saying that the U.S. -- he's saying, of course democracy is a great goal --
MR. SNOW: You know what, Ed? Ed, I'll tell you what. You're engaging in an argument and you're trying to fill in the gaps in a --
Q It's not an argument. It's a Republican senator saying it, not me. It's a Republican senator saying it, and he's not --
MR. SNOW: Then tell me exactly what --
Q -- of course he's in favor of democracy.
MR. SNOW: Tell me --
Q Are you saying Republican Senator Smith is not in favor of democracy?
MR. SNOW: Well, I don't know. You just said he said it's immoral; when I listed the elements of the policy, you said that's not what he was talking about. So please tell me what he was talking about.
Q He's saying that day after day, that now U.S. soldiers are patrolling the same streets, that they're caught up in the middle of a civil war -- not about the government there --
MR. SNOW: Okay, here's what's immoral: the killing of American soldiers. We agree.
Q I just wanted to ask you, I'm trying to get at the central point. Senator Smith also said, in his speech, yesterday on ABC, "Let's cut and run or cut and walk, but let us fight the war on terror more intelligently than we have." He's also saying you're not fighting the war on terror smartly.Nice tap dance Tony.
MR. SNOW: Well, I'm just not sure what he's saying, because I don't know what the specific proposals are. What you have given me -- the blanket use of the term "immoral" tells me nothing because when I outlined both the stated aims and the procedures, you said that wasn't what he was talking about. So I'm not sure exactly what he is talking about, other than the fact that Americans are dying, which I think if you want to talk about the targeting of Americans, you bet that's immoral, and furthermore, so is the targeting of Iraqis.
But there is -- look, the President has made it pretty clear, he's not satisfied with the tactics that have been employed, and therefore we're taking a close look at it. So here's what we ought to do: Let's go ahead and go through this period -- because Senator Smith has said what he's going to say for now -- let's take a look at the review, and let's see if we can have more specific critiques if he wishes to give them.
But on the other hand, this is also -- as tantalizing as it is to see Republicans feeding on Republicans, the more important challenge right now is to build a consensus around success. Now I think you've accepted democracy is -- of course I don't want to make you speak for Gordon Smith -- if democracy is a goal, if an Iraq that can sustain, govern and defend itself is a goal, if turning power over to the Iraqis and building capacity is a goal, and all of those are acceptable, then the question is, how do we work together as a nation to achieve those so that in the end we can be proud of an Iraq that has achieved democracy in the face of terror strikes aimed at citizens regardless of their backgrounds, designed to blow up the country so that terrorism may in fact continue to afflict the lives of people throughout the Middle East and suppress their democratic desires?
And if succeeding in that noble aim becomes a national mission, which we think it should and is, and is thoroughly consistent with American traditions and values, then there's an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to work together to achieve this in a way that American people can support.