The war in Iraq | Arkansas Blog

Friday, June 16, 2006

The war in Iraq

Posted By on Fri, Jun 16, 2006 at 10:43 AM

Sorry for light posting today. We're trying to attend sessions at the Alternative Newsweeklies convention here.

We heard Wesley Clark this morning. He got a rousing reception. He started slowly -- we liked his capsule history of Arkansas, but we live here -- but picked up steam. His political outlook was popular in the room and the breadth and depth of his understanding of war, peace, economics, education and more were obvious and forcefully expressed. His explanation of how we arrived where we are in Iraq and how we must work our way out of it -- with an unavoidable continued commitment of troops -- should be mandatory viewing side-by-side with that of the nominal commander in chief.

And speaking of Iraq, U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder has a typically thoughtful statment on the House Republicans' ploy to pass a stay-the-course resolution. Read it on the jump.(As a reader noted, it didn't stop Snyder and the rest of the Ark. delegation from voting for the largely meaningless resolution -- an election year ploy -- against setting a specific withdrawal date.)


Congressman Vic Snyder delivered the following speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives last night on House Resolution 861, the Iraq Resolution.


“Mr. Speaker, this resolution contains phrases such as ``we will prevail,'' words like ``determination,'' ``resolve,'' ``we are committed to the completion of the mission.'' It is a good, well written pep talk. But where is the discussion of how?


“As Mr. Gilchrest, our colleague from Maryland and a decorated Vietnam war veteran said, where is the urgency in figuring out how we are going to do those things?


“We should be having a debate and a discussion on how we will prevail, not just that we want to prevail.


“Specifically, how are we going to equip a very poorly equipped Iraqi army? How are we going to set up a system of support and supply and repair for the Iraqi army? How are we going to ensure that more Iraqis are employed and develop the economy? How are we going to increase electricity production, which is below prewar levels? How are we going to increase access to potable water and sanitation, which is below prewar levels? How are we going to increase oil production and the oil production sector, which is below prewar levels? How are we going to finish putting together the provincial reconstruction teams? How are we going to increase and improve the training of police? How are we going to help create and improve local courts and the judicial system? How are we going to improve the refining capacity? Iraq is an importer of gasoline. How are we going to improve the accountability for contractors? That means how are we going to quit wasting billions of U.S. tax dollars? How are we going to find more allies to share in this burden? How are we going to keep our Army, our military from breaking down? How are we going to strengthen our Reserve component, our blessed Guard and Reserve people? How are we going to preserve our all volunteer Army? How are we going to increase our public diplomacy, so that people will quit hating America all around the world? How are we going to make our troops safer?


“Those are the kinds of discussions we should be having. But what are we doing? We are rehashing the past. We are talking about the 1990s. We are talking about the war resolution. Let us look ahead. How are we going to prevail? How are we going to keep this commitment to the completion of this mission?


“Specifically, I think we need to do far better oversight. I am a member of the House Armed Services Committee. We are abysmal in our oversight, abysmal.


“Years ago when the Republicans took over, and maybe it was a good move at that time, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations was eliminated. It has not worked to do that.


“I see friends over here. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to bring back the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations so we can ask these kind of questions. How are we going to do the things? How are we going to achieve this pep talk that is going to be voted on today or tomorrow?


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