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Senator Jim Webb: "What Does It Mean To Have Majority Rule In A Democracy?

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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 07:59 AM
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Senator Jim Webb: "What Does It Mean To Have Majority Rule In A Democracy?
Senator Jim Webb

Floor Remarks, as Prepared

Levin/Reed Amendment, 7/17/07

Before I speak about Iraq, I believe it is important to mention another issue at play here tonight. What does it mean to have majority rule in a democracy?

Harry Reid and Dick Durbin are right. There is no justifiable reason for us to be denied an up or down majority vote on this and other issues. Why should it take more than 60 percent of the members of the Senate to decide a matter of policy?

If it took 60 votes to be in the Senate, most of us wouldnt be talking tonight.


I support this amendment. I have reservations about certain parts of it, and I want to make them clear. But I do intend to vote for it and I suggest to my colleagues that they do likewise.

* The strength of this amendment is that it mandates a turn-around in our current operational policy. It would be wrong to call the "surge" a strategy. It is not a strategy in traditional terms. It is simply one more in a long line of operational experiments that have kept our military forces in the middle of a problem that, in the end, will only be resolved by the Iraqis themselves.

* The concerns I have about this amendment are twofold. First, it does not explicitly state that this transition of missions is only an intermediate step toward an eventual and necessary American withdrawal from Iraq. As such, it could be interpreted as a ratification of the idea that we should keep long-term bases in Iraq.

* Second, the amendment does not really specify the nature of this transition of missions, except in the broadest terms. As a result, this Administration could conceivably choose a very minimal withdrawal and then claim that it is within the intent of the amendment.

And there is another, vital point that needs to be raised tonight. For the good of the country, we in the congress need to find a way to come together, on both sides of the aisle, and work toward a solution that will end our presence in Iraq, increase the stability of that region, increase our ability to fight international terrorism around the world, and allow the United States to focus on the larger strategic issues that have been neglected in large part for more than five years.

This is the political version of the World War One Battle of the Somme. Both sides of the aisle continue to pound on each other, neither side yielding, with little or no ground being gained by either side, and little good coming to the country despite all of the energy and frustration.

-- In World War One, great nations lost their influence and inevitably their place in the world because neither side knew how to do anything except slog directly into each other, again and again, for years. This is hardly the blood bath of World War One, but the implications for our country are just as severe. We are spending away our national treasure, burning up good people, losing the good will of other nations, and have in many ways lost the moral high ground that has always characterized the United States in the eyes of other nations. We in the congress owe the country a better way. And that way begins with an honest, logical approach to the issues we face in Iraq.

Heres what we do know:

1. The invasion of Iraq was a strategic blunder of historic proportions.

2. Nothing that has happened since the invasion has been particularly surprising. In fact most of it was both predictable, and predicted.

3. International terrorism has increased, not decreased, as the result of our invasion and occupation of Iraq. The presence of the United States military in Iraq is now the number one recruitment tool for Al Queda.

4. It is not to the advantage of our nation or of our military to continue down the road of repetitive military operations without strong, regionally-based diplomacy that might capitalize on our military effort. This has been the major failing of this Administration from the very first days of the Iraq invasion. It is wrong and unjust to claim that success or failure in Iraq is largely the province of our military.

5. This is not a classic counter-insurgency effort, as many on the other side have portrayed it. A counter-insurgency requires a defined and understandable insurgency that can be countered. In Iraq we are facing a many-headed sectarian and intra-sectarian confrontation, made even more complex by the presence of outside terrorist forces who have come to Iraq purely because the United States invaded and occupied the country. How does one build a counter-insurgency doctrine to handle that particularly when there is no real central government that would provide a safe haven toward which citizens should move? It wont happen, any more than it happened in Lebanon in the 1980s under similar circumstances.

6. Its no accident that this complex situation has resulted in more than 4 million Iraqi refugees since our invasion. Half of those have left their homes and are internal refugees inside their own country. The other half are flooding adjacent countries, particularly Jordan, straining national resources in those countries and threatening their ability to maintain local order.

Theres another reality, which despite all of the flag-waving rhetoric we tend to ignore when it comes to our military. Weve watched as the finest maneuver force in the world has been put into situations again and again, in circumstances where they are on the defensive, or are sitting ducks for IEDs as they drive their convoys through territory that is easily penetrated by guerrilla forces. Weve deployed them again and again, taking advantage of their professionalism and good will until now we have reached the absurd reality that many of our soldiers and Marines are spending more time in Iraq than they are at home. This is breaking our military force, threatening retention, and could affect our ability to act elsewhere in the world.

And heres what else we know: this vital region is in deep trouble, partly because of our invasion and occupation, and partly because this Administration has failed miserably on the diplomatic front even as our military has given us every ounce of its courage, dedication and proficiency.

* Iran
* Turkey
* Saudi Arabia
* Jordan
* The American navy in the Persian Gulf
* Israel, Palestine, Hezbollah, Syria
* Al Queda the most recent National Intelligence Estimate

Only under the steady hand of strong, creative diplomacy, with our military as our safety net rather than our principal instrument of policy, can we begin to resolve these many crises. This is what history teaches us, and history has been too often ignored.

It can be done as in our recent approach to the situation in Korea.

It needs to be done. And the passage of this amendment will help it get done.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/7/18/75020/0535
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 08:03 AM
Response to Original message
1. I loves me some Jim Webb
Edited on Wed Jul-18-07 08:07 AM by Botany



3. International terrorism has increased, not decreased, as the result of our invasion and
occupation of Iraq. The presence of the United States military in Iraq is now the number
one recruitment tool for Al Queda.
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gaiilonfong Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 08:06 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. What Webb thinks of Huckleberry Graham
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 08:05 AM
Response to Original message
2. All I know for sure this morning is that I am sure liking this new Senator Jim Webb
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southerncrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
4. Excellent, succinct stating of the situation. Webb is a treasure!
Thank God, he was able to prevail against that dope George Allen! :bounce:
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Joe_VB Donating Member (336 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 08:12 AM
Response to Original message
5. My Senator .........
That sounds so good, "My Senator". Seeing what he is doing in the senate makes what we did here in Virginia during the last election so rewarding. The miles walked, the doors knocked on, and election day standing in the rain handing out "Vote James H. "Jim" Webb Member U.S. Senate".

Thank you Senator Webb

Joe
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abluelady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. It's So Nice To Know I'm Heard
With two Repukes representing my state before, it was hard to feel my activism helped. Now I know it helps!
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Joe_VB Donating Member (336 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. That is so true now........
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peaches2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 08:17 AM
Response to Original message
6. My question exactly!
I've been following politics a long long time. When did you need to have 60 votes for every damn bill or amendment??? This is all happening recently, especially since the Dems came to the majority. This is ridiculous. They take an actual majority-rule vote on almost nothing these days. Everything falls for lack of 60 votes. How come the Dems didn't get to do this all these years the Repugs were the majority?
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Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. We'll soon see the "fruits" of that tactic.
We didn't do it for the reason that Republicans are about to learn - it's political suicide. They've got far more seats on the line this coming election than we do, and at this rate, they are going to lose a bunch of them. It won't be long before 60 votes won't be a problem.

But there is also one other reason - they have the Presidency. We don't. The President can veto anything we pass, and we can't override it. When the roles were reversed, there was no veto threat. That's an enormous difference that you're overlooking.
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Clark2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 08:20 AM
Response to Original message
7. I talked to my 70-year-old grandfather last night - he's a Virginian.
He loves him some Jim Webb, too.

And, he said something that surprised the shit outta me: he'd rather see that "Cindy girl" take over for Pelosi. :wow:

My grandfather's an old coot - I didn't think he even knew who Cindy Sheehan was. :)
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Nicholas D Wolfwood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-18-07 08:22 AM
Response to Original message
9. I agree with everything except the first part about 60 votes.
I completely disagreed when Republicans used the same line, and I completely disagree now. We have the Senate and the filibuster for a reason. I may really loathe that it's being used against me right now, but thank god we have it.
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