April 25th, 2007

Reid’s proposal: not quite treason, but cynical managed care for war

I haven’t been especially easy on Harry Reid lately. I think his behavior despicable, shortsighted, pernicious, self-serving, and bordering on the traitorious.

But it doesn’t fit the definition of treason, even though Tom Delay recently has called it “very, very close.” Treason has been defined by the US Constitution in such a way as to make it difficult to prosecute, and traditionally in most countries it has included intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy.

Reid’s intent is manifestly different: to defeat George Bush, placate his own party, and win the 2008 election. He said as much when he addressed the Democratic base:

I understand the restlessness that some feel. Many who voted for change in November anticipated dramatic and immediate results in January. But like it or not, George W. Bush is still the commander in chief – and this is his war.

Note the distancing from any sense that are all in this together, and might need to pull together to face a difficult enemy. No concept of the message such intense divisiveness gives to that enemy.

No, the war and everything to do with it is all tied to the personage of the hated Bush—the true enemy—and when it goes away, his power goes away. And then all the problems go away. We need to look no further than that.

This, of course, is demented, although a powerfully seductive point of view that has taken hold among a large portion of the populace. And so the latest in Reid’s battle against top enemy Bush is to propose a bill that will force a troop withdrawal by October 1 (beginning as early as July 1), if Bush has not proven to Congress’s satisfaction that the surge is working.

It’s a variation on a theme that’s become more and popular in this country of late: managed care. The executive branch and the military who have been tasked with such decisions since the beginning of this country, subject only to Congress’s ability to fund or not fund, is now to be micromanaged by the middlemen (and women) of Congress, who will set up demands for quantifiable and provable results by a certain date or they will pull the plug on this patient.

In the insurance business, it’s all about money. But this is most manifestly not about money, not really; it’s about power. Domestic power, played out on a world stage, with possible horrific consequences for Democratic victory, consequences about which Reid and his supporters couldn’t care less.

When questioned about those possible horrific consequences, Reid tossed them off with an answer almost breathtaking in its failure to take responsibility for what he is proposing:

Reid was asked what the U.S. should do if U.S. troops leave and Iraq collapses into chaos. “We know this is an intractable civil war going on now,” he responded.

I couldn’t find a transcript of the full interview, and I sincerely hope that’s not all Reid could find to say on the matter. But what he appears to be saying here is: “Not my fault; it’s already hopeless, so anything that happens after a pullout has nothing to do with the pullout itself.”

That, by the way, is the key to why Reid is so hot to define the war as already a failure: he hopes that any subsequent consequences cannot be laid at the Democrats’ feet. His hands, he is saying, will be clean—and this, as I’ve written before, is one of the most pressing concerns of many liberals.

Reid’s proposal is a profoundly cynical move, as well, a bone tossed to the ravening bloodthirsty (thirsty, that is, for Bush and Republican blood) hordes on the Democratic Left.

Why do I call it cynical? Because Reid knows his bill has virtually no chance of going into effect, since Bush has declared at the outset he will veto it, and the votes are there to sustain such a veto. And so it is merely a move in the ongoing chess game against Bush, and Reid sincerely hopes it’s checkmate (note the derivation of the word “checkmate:” the king is dead).

[ADDENDUM: Austin Bay isn't too fond of the weather on Harry Reid's planet, as well.]

43 Responses to “Reid’s proposal: not quite treason, but cynical managed care for war”

  1. OverGourd Says:

    It’s inevitable that the Democrat Party will overeach itself in the zeal to win, what for them, is the only real prize, domestic power. And, as polarized as the country is, it will have the effect of vomiting at a church social; it’ll spread.

    We are witnessing the death throes of a dying political coalition. The Democrats can’t hold it together, the coalition is too diverse and their payroll is too big to cover. When the dust settles we’ll have a new poltical landscape.

    My only fear is a man on horseback selling nostrums from the saddle.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    blackfive.netIf you think you’re hard on Reid, you should check out Jimbo and others at http://www.blackfive.net

    Slaughtering going up there.

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    Hey Neo, Benedict Arnold thought he was helping the United States via his efforts.

    You think the definition of traitor wouldn’t apply to him because his “intent” was to make sure the US got out of the war and got out before it lost?

  4. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    Lots of talk about treason but not much about the proposal:

    “It is unquestioned that we have long term security interests in seeing Iraq become stabilized, peaceful, and yes, one day, a functioning democracy. The President’s current path does not take us there –

    – But let me offer you that different course – one that is supported by majorities of the House and the Senate, and I believe reflects the will of our military leaders and the American people.

    Our first step immediately transitions the U.S. mission away from policing a civil war– to training and equipping Iraqi security forces, protecting U.S. forces and conducting targeted counter-terror operations.

    This transitions our mission to one that is aligned with U.S. strategic interests, while at the same time, reducing our combat footprint. U.S. troops should not be interjecting themselves between warring factions, kicking down doors, trying to sort Shia from Sunni or friend from foe.

    Our second step calls for beginning the phased redeployment of our troops no later than October 1, 2007 with a goal of removing all combat forces by April 1, 2008, except for those carrying out the limited missions I just mentioned.

    This puts pressure on the Iraqis to make the desperately needed political compromises;

    It reduces the specter of the U.S. occupation which gives fuel to the insurgency;

    It allows some of our forces to be moved to other areas of the world where they are needed, such as Afghanistan;

    And it allows our badly strained military force a chance to rebuild. With not a single non-deployed Army unit battle- ready, this is critically important.

    Our third step imposes tangible, measurable and achievable benchmarks on the Iraqi government so that they will be held accountable for making progress on security, political reconciliation, and improving the lives of ordinary Iraqis who have suffered so much.

    Our fourth step launches the kind of diplomatic, economic and political offensive that the president’s strategy lacks, starting with a regional conference working toward a long-term framework for stability in the region.

    And our fifth step rebuilds our overburdened military to give them the manpower and support they need to face the daunting challenges that lie ahead. We call for an end to the deployment of non-battle ready forces and we include billions to improve the military health system.

  5. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    By the way, did I miss all the props you guys gave out to the MSM for breaking the Walter Reed Army Hospital travesty?

  6. Lee Says:

    UB, probably as much as you’ve mentioned Dianne Feinstein’s no bid contracts awarded to her husband.

  7. Lee Says:

    Which, by the way, included procurements for VA.

  8. Lee Says:

    You DO realize, UB, that one of the biggest complaints about Rumsfeld’s plan of a “light footprint” was that we didn’t have enough troops in country to keep the peace.
    Now, Reid is saying one of the solutions is “reducing our combat footprint”. But since “his” plan is now “our” plan, it’s going to work.
    BAAAH……HAA……HAA…..HAA!

  9. Lee Says:

    Was the solution to the Gustav Line in Italy a “phased withdrawal” to Sicily?
    Was the solution to Montgomery’s failure to breakout of the Normandy beachhead a “phased withdrawal” to England?

  10. MartyH Says:

    UB-

    The strategy that Reid outlines is EXACTLY the strategy the Rumsfeld (remember him?) implemented. Troops lived in megabases, deployed down known routes (thus more likely to have IEDs) to engage with the enemy, kill a bunch of them, and return to base. Rinse, cycle, repeat.

    In November this plan was a “failure”, and the Democrats called for Rumsfeld’s head. THe implementation on the ground changed-troops were added and are now deploying side by side with Iraqi forces. Now that this new strategy is in place, Reid is recycling the old strategy again (the one that he claimed was a failure six months ago), and saying that it is the only thing that will work. He is either an idiot for not recognizing that he is proposing Rumsfeld’s plan again, or he is a reactionary opposing whatever is being done in Iraq now. Neither option makes him look very good.

  11. OverGourd Says:

    Dim Harry is just blowing smoke because he knows that the left is driving his party. The new Blue Pups in Congress are losing patience with the party. There are people on both sides of the aisle who simply want government to get to work on solutions and will put Dim Harry and Nasty Pulloutsi over the side.

    Due to the strictures of modern campaigning it will take a congressional alliance to break the impasse. The current leadership in both parties will attempt, as they have in the past, to capture and strangle bi-partisan initiatives while paying them lip service so it will take some exceptional efforts like Lieberman’s to make it work.

  12. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    Hi Marty-

    So if you believe that Reid’s plan is just recycled Rumsfeld (which I am not conviced of), I guess you would agree that it might be many things (iditotic, reactionary) but that it is “bordering on the traitorous,” would that be correct?

  13. OverGourd Says:

    “In law, treason is the crime of disloyalty to one’s nation. A person who betrays the nation of their citizenship and/or reneges on an oath of loyalty and in some way willfully cooperates with an enemy, is considered to be a traitor. Oran’s Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: “…[a]…citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation].”

    “Intent in law is the planning and desire to perform an act.”

  14. Lee Says:

    It’s not the “recycled plan” we’re describing as “bordering on the traitorous”, it’s his continuous public statements that give “aid and COMFORT to the enemy”.
    Let me ask you, UB: How do you think you would feel if your fencing opponent says “touche”?
    Do you play chess? How would you feel if, after taking a pawn, your opponent says “I concede”.
    You’d feel good, wouldn’t you?
    Words mean things. It shows in your attempts to focus on the “plan”, rather than what Reid is saying.

  15. Deshawn Q. Williams Says:

    msnbc.msn.com Dim Harry is just blowing smoke because he knows that the left is driving his party. The new Blue Pups in Congress are losing patience with the party.

    Americans siding with Dems against Bush

    NBC/WSJ poll: Skepticism on Iraq policies reflected in 2008 candidates

    By Mark Murray
    Deputy Political Director
    NBC News

    Updated: 6:56 p.m. ET April 25, 2007

    WASHINGTON – As the Democrat-controlled Congress
    and the White House clash over an Iraq spending
    bill, with President Bush vowing to veto it
    because it contains withdrawal deadlines, the
    latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds
    that a solid majority of Americans side with the Democrats.

    In addition, a nearly equal number believe that
    victory in Iraq isn’t possible, and about only
    one in eight think the war has improved in the
    three months since Bush called for a troop increase there.

    Source: MSNBC,
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18312789

  16. Lee Says:

    Hello, Joe, this is Tokyo Rose. Boy, you really hit us where it hurt in the Marianas the other day. We really thought we had you there with our carrier ambush, but, you were waiting for us and we, as evidenced by your determination and skill, are effectively berift of airpower, and it is clear we cannot win.
    But don’t get too cocky, there, Joe; already we are implementing our phased withdrawal to Okinawa to rest and reorganize. And besides, we know all you really want is for us to end our occupation of Guam. So, since there is no need or want to pursue us to the Home Islands, I’m sure you will stop fighting us, and this way, we all win.

  17. Reggie Says:

    WASHINGTON – As the Democrat-controlled Congress
    and the White House clash over an Iraq spending
    bill, with President Bush vowing to veto it
    because it contains withdrawal deadlines, the
    latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds
    that a solid majority of Americans side with the Democrats.

    You’re an idiot, DeShawn. Manstream media like Wall Street Journal are vicerally anti-Bush and out to “get” the Repubs. Rags like the Wall Street Journal cannot be trusted with any polls.

  18. Chuck Says:

    Manstream media like Wall Street Journal are vicerally anti-Bush and out to “get” the Repubs. Rags like the Wall Street Journal cannot be trusted with any polls.

    Ha, ha, ha!

    Are the neocons calling the Wall Street Journal “not to be trusted” these days?

    So this is where things have come to?

    Ha, ha, ha!

  19. Ariel Says:

    Chuck,

    Going from what ONE person wrote to typify an entire group smacks of a bigot. Perhaps you should rephrase your response.

  20. Synova Says:

    And polls have nothing at all to do with prominent politicians public insistence that we’re losing in Iraq and can not win?

    All a poll shows is that Reid and those like him influence popular opinion here. Words have consequences. They demoralize our side and give props to the enemy.

  21. Deshawn Q. Williams Says:

    All a poll shows is that Reid and those like him influence popular opinion here.

    That’s possible. But it could be the other way round, too — it may be popular opinion which is finally emboldening the Democrats to finally stand up and show some spine on this issue.

    Rather than the democrats influencing popular opinion, it is very likely that it is popular opinion which is influencing the democrats.

  22. Lee Says:

    “..it is very likely that it is popular opinion which is influencing the democrats.”

    That’s possible. But, when “popular opinion” in the beginning was saying “stay the course”, it was the democrats, enabled by the MSM, who were saying “we can’t win”. If democrats reflect “popular opinion”, why did they oppose it back then?
    And who, if not the democrats, enabled by the MSM, convinced those Americans initially “in favor” of the war that it “is over” now?

  23. The Bunnies Says:

    The Wall Street Journal’s editorial section is far from hostile to Bush, but the news section is as liberal as it gets.

    AB, the traitorous part of Reid’s comments aren’t the advocacy of the plan he opposed a few months ago (that part’s just duplicitous), it’s saying exactly what our enemies hope people like him say.

    Reid’s comments improve enemy morale and convince ordinary Iraqis who might be inclined to help us not to do so. If “the Americans have lost” (like the Senate Majority Leader says they have) then telling US soldiers where the weapons caches are stored is suicide. Why help the Americans if they’ll abandon you to your enemies in October?

    And no, Petraeus did not say the war is lost–he said that the military alone won’t be sufficient to win. There’s a HUGE difference.

    As expected, we still haven’t heard AB’s response to Diane Feinstein’s little corruption scandal. I notice people like him change the subject every time they haven’t been provided with a talking point.

  24. The Bunnies Says:

    PS: Just so I don’t get accused of ignoring my own points, I’m glad the MSM exposed the Walter Reed stuff–you know what they say about broken clocks.

  25. Deshawn Q. Williams Says:

    If democrats reflect “popular opinion”, why did they oppose it back then?

    I didn’t say that that the democrats “reflect” popular opinion. I said that the fact that popular opinion is not against the war, is finally emboldening the Democrats to do the right thing (i.e. publicly stand up and take a firm stance) which they were afraid of doing so far because of potential political fallout.

    Remember that I’m no fan of the Democrats. (I volunteered for the Ralph Nader campaign in 2004.) The Democrats (especially the Democratic National Committee) are a sorry lot who are only marginally less in bed with Big Money compared to the Republicans. For this reason, the Democrats, especially the Clintons, would have avoided opposing the war if they could. However, now the groundswell of public opinion against the war has become so strong that the Democrats are being pulled, kicking and streaming, to oppose the war.

    The Democrats know that if they don’t oppose the war, they risk losing votes to third-party candidates in 2008 who will oppose the war.

  26. MartyH Says:

    UB-

    I said that Reid has to be an idiot or a reactionary. Neither one of those makes him a traitor, and proposing that paticular plan does not make him a traitor either. After all, it was essentially our war strategy until six months or so ago. If his reason for proposing this course of action is for pure political gain (and I believe it is because it is the Rumsfeld strategy repeated), then that is unethical and spineless. Backbone is defunding a war you believe is lost. Spinelessness is declaring a war lost but continuing to pay for it in blood and treasure.

    Marty

  27. Deshawn Q. Williams Says:

    Sorry, I made a typo in the previous post.

    I meant:

    I said that the fact that popular opinion is now [I'd mistyped "now" as "not"] against the war, is finally emboldening the Democrats to do the right thing (i.e. publicly stand up and take a firm stance) which they were afraid of doing so far because of potential political fallout.

  28. Deshawn Q. Williams Says:

    If “the Americans have lost” (like the Senate Majority Leader says they have) then telling US soldiers where the weapons caches are stored is suicide.

    Do you think that ordinary Iraqis are so stupid that they can’t see that the war is unwinnable by the US? They probably figured this out quite some time before Harry Reid spoke about this. (Any sane person would figure this out after seeing that the much-touted “surge” was failing to control the violence.)

  29. Lee Says:

    DeShawn, this blog has a link to “Iraq the Model”, an ordinary Iraqi. Read the article “End the War: Right Message Sent to the Wrong Address” and see what “ordinary Iraqis” think.

  30. Lee Says:

    Have you EVER read it, DeShawn?

  31. Lee Says:

    Or is he just one of the “stupid” ones?

  32. Deshawn Q. Williams Says:

    DeShawn, this blog has a link to “Iraq the Model”, an ordinary Iraqi. Read the article “End the War: Right Message Sent to the Wrong Address” and see what “ordinary Iraqis” think.

    What makes you think that “Iraq the Model” represents all (or even the majority) of Iraqis?

    Take a look at other blogs written by ordinary Iraqis, such as the young Iraqi woman who posts as “Riverbend”:

    http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

    Seems to express quite a different viewpoint to “Iraq the Model”.

  33. Lee Says:

    “Seems to”, but, in your mind, her “view” seems more “plausible” to you than his?

  34. Deshawn Q. Williams Says:

    “Seems to”, but, in your mind, her “view” seems more “plausible” to you than his?

    I make no claim as to which is more plausible than the other. I’m merely pointing out that there is more than one view coming out of Iraq, and there is no a-priori reason to think one of them as more plausible than the other.

  35. Lee Says:

    But, you said “Do you think that ordinary Iraqis are so stupid that they can’t see that the war is unwinnable by the U.S.?”.
    So, by your thinking, Omar and Mohammed there are “stupid”?

  36. The Bunnies Says:

    Deshawn:

    Some Iraqis think the US can win and would like it to, some think the US can win but would rather it didn’t, some think the US can’t win but wish they could, and some think the US can’t win and are glad that they can’t. We can all find examples of Iraqis to support our own viewpoints.

    The problem is that Iraqis who want us to win and still actually think we’ve got a shot are discouraged by Sen. Reid’s comments. Not all Iraqis fit into this category, but there are enough of them to matter. Sen. Reid is encouraging those Iraqis who might help us out not to.

    I’m certain that this isn’t Harry’s intention–he probably thinks he’s doing the right thing. However, Harry Reid’s noble motives don’t matter; friendly Iraqis being told by powerful Americans that we are about to abandon them does.

  37. Tom Says:

    We may be witnessing the admittedly very slow evolution of America’s descent into battle zones, the Reds vs. the Blues (whoever in the Media tagged us as Red was very clever indeed). The electoral maps show the Blues as islands surrounded. Recall the Maoist strategy of holding the countryside, surrounding the islands. I won’t live to see it played out but have hope for the end result, wishing all the while it wasn’t necessary. The battle cannot be fought electorally…that time is past. We’ll close the circle by bringing Vietnam truly home.

  38. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    I’m not sure what you mean about broken clocks, but thanks for acknowledging the MSM for the Walter Reed scandal.

    And that was the point, about the blogosphere giving props to the MSM. Dianne Feinstein has nothing to do with it, it was just a dodge.

  39. The Bunnies Says:

    (Even broken clocks are right twice a day.)

    And I know that the Feinstein comment was a dodge (I can admit it when people on my side use techniques I don’t like, pace Lee). I find that people on both sides are reluctant to acknowledge evidence that doesn’t make them look good.

    From what I can tell, Feinstein’s actions exemplified “the culture of corruption” the dems ran against this last election, so people on Feinstein’s side don’t like to talk about it. Harry Reid’s land deal also looked pretty shady, and the only defense I’ve seen his supporters present is to pretend it didn’t happen.

    These cases aren’t relevant to every discussion, but they do make it harder for the Dems to claim the moral high ground.

    I can’t say I never “dodge,” but I really try not to. I believe what I believe in large part because my ideological opponents so often refute the points I make by evading them–if there were a valid refutation, they would present it.

  40. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    Fair enough.

    Re Feinstein: Let’s not forget we are talking about politicians here. My problem with this group is that they treat unseemly political behavior (or even normal political posturing) as if it were exclusively the domain of the Democrats, and that’s simply not the case.

    As if to prove my point, I wasn’t aware of the Reid land deal so I googled it and came up with this:

    Why has CNN devoted 50 times as much coverage to Harry Reid’s land deal as Dennis Hastert’s?

    I don’t want to get into the details of these things, I am just pointing out that no party is above them.

  41. Lee Says:

    What a surprise that UB doesn’t want to get into “details”.

  42. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    I’ve been told it’s polite to stay on topic.

  43. joe blough Says:

    U.S. Constitution: Article III

    Section 3.

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    The question is whether or not he is “adhering to their [our] Enemies“.

    To demonstrate the point, one would have to find utterances by White-Feather Harry that indicate that he considers the jihaddi opposition in Iraq to be justified.

    Can’t say as I know.

    Certainly it walks like a duck.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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