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January 11, 2007

Why We Need A Line Item Veto

America, behold your handiwork:

Murtha told USA TODAY that he plans to use his subcommittee's control over the Pentagon budget to force a new direction in Iraq.

Specifically, Murtha, a former Marine and Vietnam War veteran from Pennsylvania, said he'll focus on the administration's supplemental spending request for Iraq, which is expected to be as high as $160 billion.

Murtha says he will hold extensive hearings on the budget request. "We're going to make them justify every cent," he said. He also said he may use the funding bill to hamstring the efforts to add more troops to Iraq.

Among the options Murtha said he's considering: barring the redeployment to Iraq of troops who haven't had the recommended one-year respite in the United States and prohibiting those who are in Iraq from having their tours of duty extended.

Murtha said that by inserting language into the administration's request for more money to fund the Iraq war, he can avoid a Bush veto. Murtha said legislation introduced Tuesday by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., that would require congressional approval of Bush's plan could be vetoed with little consequence. If Congress adds conditions to the Iraq funding bill, Bush will have to accept them or cut off money for the troops. "The supplemental is where the money is," Murtha said. "Nothing else means anything. They can veto anything else."

Yes, Hope Is On The Way. Wonder who gets to break the happy news to our troops serving in Iraq:

First, the surge. A popular fiction circulating in the press has the nation's military commanders all but unanimous in their opposition to sending more troops to Iraq--Exhibit's A, B, and C being General John Abizaid, General George Casey, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But the generals themselves are divided, with Lt. General David Petraeus and Lt. General Raymond Odierno on the other side. Further, none of these men are, strictly speaking, serving as ground commanders in Iraq. It is the rare field officer who will say, "I don't want any reinforcements," and, in fact, American brigade commanders in Iraq have been the chief behind-the-scenes authors of the surge.

No doubt these gentlemen will want to send their regards to Rep. Murtha personally.

Posted by Cassandra at January 11, 2007 12:15 PM

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Anything derogatory that has thus far been said about Murtha has obviously fallen far short in adequately describing his perfidy and dishonor.

Posted by: FbL at January 11, 2007 02:47 PM

I am having a great deal of trouble not putting my fist through the wall today for some reason.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 11, 2007 03:01 PM

That's about how I feel, Cassandra.

Posted by: FbL at January 11, 2007 03:07 PM

Murtha, this SCUD's for you.

Posted by: Cricket at January 11, 2007 03:08 PM

How "unprincipled" of any Democrat to try to avoid yet another Bush disaster!

I must say, Cass, that I'm just buffeted t-over-a trying to figure out your recent "principled" complaints and postings. No doubt I haven't been paying close enough attention to perceive the underlying thread of consistency. My bad.

Posted by: dgf at January 11, 2007 03:40 PM

Yes, dgf.

Murtha's tactics are undoubtedly entirely in concert with progressive values.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 11, 2007 03:52 PM

No clue as to what that means, or as to how it is responsive to my comment. Silly, dense, me.

Posted by: dgf at January 11, 2007 04:00 PM

I think the lack of 'principle' comes in where politics takes precedent over the lives/safety of the soldiers. So Murtha wants to save our soldiers by cutting their funding... bring them home. Well, sure he'll bring them home, but in greater numbers of body bags because they didn't have money for adequate armor, or food, or ammunition, or vehicle repairs. Just to make a political point.

An argument might be made that the same thing is going to happen to them since Bush intends to increase the amount of troops and aknowledge the war, but that's hardly the same as getting soldiers killed because somebody that pulls the strings decided to *hold back* the necessary funds that might have kept some of them alive. Kill a few unfortunates as a way to strongarm Bush.

Regardless of whether or not you approve of the war, hearing that someone is going to play games with something that could keep people alive is 'unprincipled' and heartless.

Posted by: Kevin L at January 11, 2007 04:29 PM

[Kevin L]

Obviously I don't know what all Murtha'll end up doing or attempting to do in detail, but, for example, if he can (as the reporting in the post describes him to be working on) limit troop movements into Iraq("barring the redeployment to Iraq of troops who haven't . . ." [etc]), perhaps the escalation/surge/whatever can effectively be undone/precluded. And doesn't that approach effectively avoid the particular bind you posit?

To my mind, that's also the best first step in a sucessful strategy to get us out of Iraq entirely (tho I don't have a problem with attempting, too, to forge consensus for a non-binding bi-partisan resolution contra the troop expansion, a-la what's being reported being underway in the Senate as well.)

We'll see how savvy the Dems are and the White House is. The deck is strongly (hugely) loaded in favor of the Prez, but, well, we shall see ...

Posted by: dgf at January 11, 2007 04:48 PM

So....how many rubber ducks does it take to fill a bathtub with water? Is that the question?

Posted by: spd rdr at January 11, 2007 04:59 PM

"Obviously I don't know what all Murtha'll end up doing or attempting to do in detail, but, for example, if he can (as the reporting in the post describes him to be working on) limit troop movements into Iraq("barring the redeployment to Iraq of troops who haven't . . ." [etc]), perhaps the escalation/surge/whatever can effectively be undone/precluded. And doesn't that approach effectively avoid the particular bind you posit?"

Certainly, to some extent. It is a matter of trust and the use of budget to effect these matters. The matter of more troops or less troops seems to be secondary.

Kind of like the health industry HMOs, where boards determine whether or not someone 'needs' a certain procedure done. Here we have someone with known antagonism towards the military determining what they 'need'.

But, yes, you're right. We shall see what happens.

Posted by: Kevin L at January 11, 2007 05:04 PM

[Kevin L]

Here we have someone with known antagonism towards the military determining what they 'need'.

Well, I had thought the received wisdom was that Murtha was quite the friend to "the military", tho I'm familiar with the fact that some on the right have looked upon him differently for a year or so now. In any event, someone's got to determine what the military "needs", and ultimately that is a political question, subject to political compromise/resolution, with all the sausage-y implications there-involved. The Prez will point to his boys (and if'n they don't support him, he'll switch boys), and opponents will point to those authorities and arguments they feel will advance their position. And so it goes.

Posted by: dgf at January 11, 2007 05:45 PM

First of all, "principle" is dgf's word, not mine. Which is why I refuse to waste my time on his red herring of an argument.

Congress is never going to pass an appropriations bill fast enough for this to "prevent" anything, and if he thought for two seconds he'd know that. Murtha certainly does - that's just a little piece of info he didn't see fit to share with you. The surge is being manned in good part by extending tours of people already over there, many of whom (Marines for instance) are on short 7 month rotations.

So what Murtha will do, in the end, if he's successful is imperil troops already in theater by pulling the rug out from underneath them while they're in the line of fire. Bravo.

And that doesn't even begin to address the ludicrous spectacle of a US Congressman using subterfuge because he can't get a bill passed or is worried the President will use his perfectly Constitutional power to veto that bill as the Founding Fathers intended, which of course if Congress felt STRONGLY ENOUGH about it, they could override.

But no. We're going to use cheap tricks to do what there isn't the democratic support to do in Congress, all on the backs of our troops.

No wonder we can't seem to make any headway. The Democrats won't take a stand, say what they truly believe, and fight an honest battle because they are afraid of losing. But hey, gutting your opponent is always an option too. And if the troops get in the way, well that's just collateral damage.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 11, 2007 05:46 PM

Well, I had thought the received wisdom was that Murtha was quite the friend to "the military",

dgf, what bizarre alternate universe are you living in?

There are few in the Marine Corps who aren't ashamed to number Murtha in their ranks, and that's putting it politely. I've yet to run into a Marine who doesn't spit when his name is mentioned.

Just FYI.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 11, 2007 05:50 PM

Stepping outside my military spousal association here for a second, and adopting a civilian hat,
yes, we have to wait and see, but for their morale and for them to know we have their back, Murtha ain't it.

Now if he were truly afraid of an escalation,
then by all means, give the prez a definate date and figger to support those we already have, and then a withdrawal date. This bill will have to be debated, put in committee, vetted, watermarked,
scrutinized, fingerprinted, rubberstamped and
analyzed before ONE DIME is forthcoming.

I think this will be the one time Congress and the Senate actually reads the ENTIRE bill
and highlights key areas. For once they will be doing their jobs.

'Friend to the military' means one who will fight
for our men and women. Murtha may give that impression, but not when he opens his mouth to
make a comment on an investigation over some alleged atrocities before all the facts are in.
That is not being a friend. That is self serving politics.

And he wants to use his office to deny aid and comfort to our men and women for political gain.
We in the military, retired, spousal associations and children of troops have long memories. We don't forget. Neither do our families or loved ones.

Posted by: Cricket at January 11, 2007 05:58 PM

Is your attempt at "southern" talk something meaningful/relevant or more of the same stupid crap?
Just a-wondering...
yur fren...
PS: Halp us, were stuk....
PPS: that jon Murtha fella..he's quite a site, ain't he? He wants to halp us lose so that we can come on home to pa-rades and such, right? I'm not so shure that that is right but what do I know?
I'm just a dum Ma-reen wife...I sleeps wif Gomer Pyle...thank ya, thank ya, thank ya for all of yur su-pport. Thank ya kind-lee.

Posted by: Carrie at January 11, 2007 06:14 PM

Murtha would be an excellent "poster child" for abortion.

Posted by: camojack at January 11, 2007 06:21 PM


First of all, "principle" is dgf's word, not mine. Which is why I refuse to waste my time on his red herring of an argument.

See, e.g.,: Either this issue is important enough for them to stand by their principles, or it isn't. Remember: they ran for this Congress on the premise that, if they regained the majority, they'd take action. [Cass at http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/archives/2007/01/another_indicat.html#comments]

Re: your other remarks in that same comment, I don't follow. I said, I think, something along the lines of getting the troop expansion effectively precluded/undone. Not simply stopped dead in its tracks from the get-go. And I don't follow the "subterfuge" and "cheap tricks" remarks as well, but that's fine (and no need for you to feel even slightly compelled to respond/clarify [seriously; no sarcasm/snarkiness whatsoever intended here])

Posted by: dgf at January 11, 2007 06:36 PM


Whut 'zacly wuz you referrin' to dahlin'? Sumpin' in this thre-yad, and wise you askin'? Jes' wundrin'? Ain't you just the cutest thang, going on 'n' tryin' to thi-yunk, and wundr an' all. :)

Posted by: dgf at January 11, 2007 06:44 PM

Obviously, you're much smarter than I and your use of colloqualisms was an attempt to let the rest of us know just that.
Thank you so much for condescending to speak and educate us.
We're so much the better for it.

Posted by: Carrie at January 11, 2007 06:52 PM

I have no idea what any of this has to do with my last post.

Posted by: spd rdr at January 11, 2007 09:03 PM

Are you a disciple of Islam? I certainly hope so. If not, I fear for you. Just as I fear for every person in this country who is not a disciple of Islam. Why? Because they are coming. If you have honestly convinced yourself that all we have to do is to leave Iraq and this whole "jihad thing" will just magically go away, I feel for you. I truly do. Because you have an awakening coming, and, unlike an epiphany, the awakening will come violently, painfully, fatally. For you, your sister, your family, your friends. And not just for you. For every single person who is not already a convert to Islam -- or those who will refuse to convert. And just in case you're thinking, "I'll *tell* them I've converted. Then, when they aren't looking, I'll just not practice it." You'll be wrong -- dead wrong. Literally. There aren't any "former" converts to Islam in the caliphate. Well, not any that have lived to tell about it anyway.
You see, dgf, once we cut and run, the jihad will come to our streets, our malls, our marketplaces, and our back yards.
Tell me, have you ever had a bomb explode right by you? Have you ever even heard one explode in the distance, say 5 or 10 miles away? Have you ever been shot at? Ever spend your nights at home crawling on the floor to get from one room to another, from one side of the room to another, because you never know when bullets are going to come flying through the windows, the walls, the doors? My guess is no to all of the above. Why? (And no I"m not questioning whether or not you've been in the military or lived in our darker gang affiliated neighborhoods.) The answer is because you live in America, where you live in freedom and safety without the daily fear of religious fanatics suddenly deciding that today is YOUR neighborhoods day to taste their power.
That freedom and safety were provided to you by the men and women who've worn the uniforms of the United States of America and their allies. Starting with the American Revolution to this day in Iraq, they've paid and continue to pay with their sweat, tears and blood. They took/take the bullets, lay prone over bombs and grenades to protect not only their brothers in arms, but you, and me, and every person who lives on American soil -- so we don't have to. They don't really ask for much. Their job is one they volunteered to do. Just as you "volunteered" to do whatever job provides sustenance and a place in this world for you and your family. The big difference is they know that there may be a day that they don't come home. Do you ever wonder if you'll come home to see your family each morning when you walk out the door? I'm sure those who suffered and died on Sept. 11 didn't think about it. But they do. And all they ask is that we let them do their job. To the best of their ability. So they, too, can come home. However, they don't want to come home before that job is done. That is failure. And our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines don't believe in failure. It simply doesn't exist in their everyday vernacular. Sure, they know "what" the word means. Which is why it is not in their vernacular. They also know the price of failure "over there".
If you don't believe that the jihad will come to our back yard, you need to read the mujahadeens (sp) mandate. Quite simply it states that all followers of Islam must kill all infidels. This isn't something that they are only doing "for a little while" or "until the US and her allies leave the Middle East". This is something that must be done globally. Any disciples of Islam who do not follow the mandate are infidels, and, therefore, must be killed. Yes, even those who consider themselves "moderate Islamic". We MUST win now. The line MUST be drawn (in blood, if need be, for nothing is more powerful than the sacrifice of one man in defense of another) at this point in history. Or, quite frankly, we are all history.
Think about this, if you will, while you ponder Rep. Murtha, Rep. Pelosi, et al's idea of the best way to end (not win) this war.
Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you:

1. Jesus Christ
2. The American G. I.

One died for your soul.
The other for your freedom.

Posted by: Sly2017 at January 12, 2007 12:03 AM

Amen, Sly!

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 12, 2007 02:49 AM

Damn, Sly...you rock!!

Posted by: Carrie at January 12, 2007 06:49 AM

Who elected Jack Murtha Commander-in-Chief? That "man" needs to be reminded (forcibly?) of his position: one of 435 LOCAL representatives to the House. Rep. Lack "Abscam" Murtha (D - Unindicted Conspirator) could also use a reminder as to why his credibility on any topic requiring an ethical stand is exactly nil.

So then, are we supposed to be in awe over his military prowess instead, exhibited by the same stellar strategic thinking that proposes a base on Okinawa, a mere 5000 miles away, as a great place to base a rapid response force?

I also wonder how Murtha the Marine would have felt about one of his troops (assuming any were unlucky enough to be under his command) responding to a lawful command with "Screw you, I'm not going to put any bullets in my gun."

STFU, Jack.

Posted by: Daveg at January 12, 2007 09:11 AM

Every day I watch this, I get madder at the Republican Party, Bush included, who forgot why they were elected in 1994 and made this takeover possible. The Dems didn't win back the Congress. The Reps handed it to them.

They have 2 years to get back in shape. I hope they can do it. For all of us.

Posted by: KJ at January 12, 2007 09:35 AM

dgf, if Murtha actually inserts language usurping the President's authority as Commander in Chief, President Bush will be perfectly justified in signing the law, spending the money, and ignoring the language.

Posted by: SDN at January 12, 2007 03:34 PM


Well, without adopting your precise characterization, there well may be a constitutional question and escape-hatch for the Prez along the lines you suggest. I suspect it may depend somewhat on the details of the legislation, but re: the constitutional parameters as applied to the legislation, I confess I have no legal opinion at this stage.

Posted by: dgf at January 12, 2007 05:49 PM

That jesus line was great. I'll pass it on to my local fire department.

Posted by: actus at January 12, 2007 08:51 PM

I am not the original author of that particular sentiment. (Although, I wish I were, I'm just not that good.) I received that in emails from other friends, and it struck a chord of *truth* within me along the lines of one of my fav movie lines by R.Lee Ermey: "He told the truth, and once you tell the truth, everything else is just cheap whiskey."
However, from one firefighter to another, please, pass it on.

Posted by: Sly2017 at January 13, 2007 01:57 AM

well, i'm an atheist, so i'm not going to be passing it on *that* much.

Posted by: actus at January 13, 2007 10:37 AM

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