Thu
May 10 2007
10:36 pm

Tonight the House passed a short-term funding bill for the Iraq war that would require a set of benchmarks to be reached before Congress would vote to release the remaning funds after July. But before that Massachusetts Congressman James McGovern offered up a full withdrawal bill that would have removed all US troops from Iraq in 9 months. The real shocker nationwide was that this immediate withdrawal bill got 171 votes in favor. The good news locally was that of the two Republican Congressman voting for this immediate withdrawal bill, one was our own Jimmy Duncan.

This is significant because Duncan voted against the last timetable bill. I thought that he was softening his antiwar position under pressure from GOP leadership. But I think he just didn't think the measure was strong enough. Duncan says "Get out of Iraq NOW!"

The Iraq War is the fundamental political issue of our time. I disagree with Duncan on many issues, especially domestic matters. But on this matter of utmost importance he has been dead right and steadfast all along. For that I say kudos to Congressman Jimmy Duncan. You have served the 2nd District of Tennessee with honor.

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Brian A.'s picture

Yes

Contrast that vote with the "No" vote of Representative Heath Shuler (D-NC).

Nothing is going to change for our troops in Iraq until more people in Washington grow backbones.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Elrod's picture

Different bill

Heath Shuler voted no on the immediate withdrawal bill but that is to be expected. 59 Democrats voted no on it; it's quite a shock how few Democrats voted no on it actually. But on the short-term financing bill that did pass Shuler voted yes. 10 Democrats voted no on the short-term financing bill. 9 Democrats rejected it for the same reason Jimmy Duncan did: it didn't go far enough to remove our troops from Iraq. The only Democrat to vote no for the wrong reason was John Tanner.

metulj's picture

One of the things we forget

One of the things we forget is that many congress peoples have constituencies at home and seats to keep. Personally, I'd rather lose my seat than continue the war another day, but there are those who say "I need to be here another 2 years to get that such-and-such program off the ground to bring jobs to my district." Now whether that's kickback-corruption politics or sincere, the fact is that many politicians (even our democrats) are one-note players and follow the lead.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Sven's picture

I suspect what's really

I suspect what's really behind many Dems' reluctance is not fear of voter backlash but simple fear of the unknown and a resulting loss of any semblance of a grip on events (the GOP is a different story).

There's a non-zero chance that pulling out will put any number of catastrophes in motion, from local massacres to regional instability. Staying in doesn't reduce those risks, of course, and in fact probably increases their probability with every passing day.

The bloody grind of the status quo is terrible, but it's relatively glacial. Once the plug is pulled, events will accelerate and become self-perpetuating, for better or worse. And there won't be a hell of a lot the U.S. will be able to do about it. Strike that. With the dumb mofos of the executive branch at the helm, we can make things exponentially worse (cf last summer's diplomatic adventures during the Israeli attack on Lebanon).

I'm not saying these considerations are reasonable - they aren't, given that it's only postponing the inevitable - but as we all know denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

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