Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Strategy Is Ending the Troop Surge; the Tactic Is Persuading Congress that the Troop Surge is Anti-Military, Anti-Veteran, and Anti-War on Terror

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Via reader Chief, here's a WaPo article about VoteVets.org, a group of mostly Republican veterans who are trying to foist war supporters in Congress on their own petard:

When Iraq war veteran Jon Soltz accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of "aiding the enemy," the Democratic senators gathered around him yesterday did not wince. Nor did Democrats object when Soltz, the chairman of a group called VoteVets.org, called President Bush and Vice President Cheney "draft dodgers."

In the United States Congress, where decorum usually holds sway, Soltz and his small band of veterans are saying things many Democrats would like to express but can't. And as the politics heat up over the Iraq war, Democratic leaders increasingly are being drawn to Soltz and his angry soldiers.

VoteVets.org appears to be the most active group trying to influence the debate about the president's plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq. Last month, it dispatched veterans to the home states of Republican senators waffling over resolutions on the war. Next, it ran a stark television ad on Super Bowl Sunday that drew national attention. And this week, group members crisscrossed Capitol Hill, trying to persuade lawmakers and their staffs to oppose the troop increase.
[...]
The veterans are selling a blunt message: The Bush strategy in Iraq is a failure, and adding troops sends more young men and women to their deaths. If you care about the military, they told lawmakers, vote against the troop increase. Legislators who are stalling debate on the matter are "cowards," they said.

This week marked their third pilgrimage to the Capitol. They met privately with the staffs of 11 senators, mostly Republicans. They talked strategy behind closed doors with the Democrats who run the House and then held a media event with those leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), who praised them for speaking out.

Soltz, the group's intense 29-year-old co-founder who served in Iraq in 2003, displayed a fiery impatience with the procedural morass that has paralyzed the Senate. "I don't need some fancy Senate talk about why they can't vote," he said in an interview. "We just want a vote. We need a vote that tells the president that his strategy is not working."

In several news conferences, Soltz accused McConnell of "aiding the enemy" by allowing the Bush administration to build up troops in Iraq at the expense of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. "We are not fighting the war on terrorism, we are in the middle of a civil war," he said, referring to Iraq. "Meanwhile, the guy who attacked this country on 9/11 is living in a cave in Afghanistan."

Soltz called Cheney a "draft dodger," repeating charges he made last month when he disparaged a "president who frankly knows nothing of war and a vice president who knows even less." He said: "Senators on the fence have a choice. They can stand with veterans like us, or they can stand with the draft dodgers down the road."

Democrats said they will not muzzle the veterans. In many ways, the former soldiers and Marines are expressing sentiments the lawmakers want broadcast, and they help inoculate Democrats against Republican claims that opposing the president's plan undermines the troops.
[...]
Soltz said the group is pro-military and not a front for the Democrats. "I'm a conservative," said Soltz, who volunteered on Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "I don't think 20,000 more troops is Democratic, I don't think 20,000 troops is Republican. I think it's stupid."

2 comments:

Chief said...

Please explain your take on the 'petard' angle. I thought to "be hoisted on your own petard" ment that you were caught in your own trap or blown up by your own bomb.

I took the article as straight forward. Your take is apparently diffewrent.

Kathy said...

To be "foisted on one's own petard" does mean to be caught in one's own trap. I'm saying that pro-Bush war supporters in Congress are being caught in their own trap. Their trap, which they use on opponents of the war, is to call opponents of the war anti-military, or tell them they are aiding the enemy. This group, VoteVets.org, is using exactly that tactic to defeat the war supporters. Their support for the war and the escalation of the war is anti-military, is hurting our troops, and is aiding the enemy.