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Timetables are bad

Posted by Richard on March 15, 2007

At least on one issue, one Republican leader is showing a bit of spine and spunk. Sen. Mitch McConnell, speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, forcefully rejected the Reid Resolution (which calls for troop withdrawals to begin in 4 months, with all combat troops out of Iraq within a year). McConnell reminded the Democrats that they once rejected as foolish the course they now want to impose (emphasis added):

"This is the memo our enemies have been waiting for.

"Osama Bin Laden and his followers have repeatedly said that the U.S. does not have the stomach for a long fight with the terrorists. Passage of the Reid Joint Resolution will be the first concrete sign since Sept. 11, 2001, that he was right on target.

"Timetables are bad. But don't just take my word for it.

"Speaking at the National Press Club in 2005, my good friend the Majority Leader himself said this: ‘As for setting a timeline, as we learned in the Balkans, that's not a wise decision, because it only empowers those who don't want us there, and it doesn't work well to do that.'

"Six months after that, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Biden, said this: ‘A deadline for pulling out … will only encourage our enemies to wait us out' … it would be ‘a Lebanon in 1985. And God knows where it goes from there.' That was our friend, Joe Biden, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"And three months later, Senator Clinton made the same point when she said, ‘I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal,' said Senator Clinton. ‘I don't think you should ever telegraph your intentions to the enemy so they can await you.' "That's the Majority Leader, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and a prominent Democrat presidential candidate.

"Surely Senators Reid, Biden, and Clinton have not changed their minds about who would benefit the most if we set a date certain for withdrawal. They know just as well as I do that this is what the terrorists have been waiting for – and just what our allies in Iraq, and the entire region of the world have feared.

"Setting a date certain for withdrawal will send a chill up the spine of every Iraqi who has dared to stand with America. Millions of good men and women have helped us in this fight. Since we arrived in Iraq, nearly 120,000 Iraqis have volunteered to serve in their army. More than 8,000 Iraqis have died in uniform to defend the fledgling Democracy over there. And recently, in Anbar province, we're told that roughly 1,000 Sunnis volunteered for the police force over a period of a couple weeks.

"These brave men and women, Mr. President, are watching what we do here: They know, as we do, that chaos will engulf Iraq and the rest of the region on that day. They know they and their families will likely face a firing squad soon after we leave. And the message we send them with this resolution is this: good luck. 

Thank you, Sen. McConnell, for reminding your colleagues that there are many, many lives at stake.

If the Democrats have their way on Iraq, not only will U.S. interests and the long-term prospects for world peace be severely damaged, but — just in case it matters to the self-styled humanitarians on the left — there will likely be a bloodbath in Iraq to rival what happened in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.

Of course, the left pretty much tried to ignore that one, too.

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