For the past several days the floor in the House of Representatives has been open to every member to debate for five minutes the resolution
on the floor opposing President Bush's troop escalation. For the past three days members of both parties took to the floor to present their opinions and stances on the matter, all the while Rep. Fossella remained unseen and unheard from because he had yet to make up his mind. In that time at least 11 Republicans
have spoken out vociferously against the President's plan. While the country is at war Rep. Fossella has no problems addressing other pressing issues such as honoring Alexander Hamilton
on his 250th anniversary of his birth. However ask him to present a strategy for improving the safety of our troops in the Middle East or ask him a possible more black and white issue such as, should we send more troops or should we start bringing our troops home and this politician's thought process draws to a halt. While the citizens of this country made a clear case opposing Bush's handling of the war when they went to the polls in November, Fossella seems unmoved about what they think. While military generals such as General Colin Powell, General Abizaid, and members of the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group have come forward to oppose this troop escalation, Fossella again remains unmoved. In fact all week news sites have been reporting that Fossella remains undecided
on his stance towards the President's policy of sending even more troops into Iraq, when he disregarded similar suggestions from military leaders in the past.
In 2003 General Shinseki and General Zinni called for several hundred thousand troops to secure Iraq, yet that request fell on deaf ears.
However Fossella is not undecided on this issue as it would appear. As with foreign policy and the war in Iraq during his re-election campaign, he is just avoiding it and pretending it is a non issue. He knows his stance full well, and that is as an 'independent'
as he characterizes himself, his job is to wait for marching orders from the decider-in-chief President Bush and to abide by them irregardless of what his constituents or what our military leaders may say. Clearly the military strategy of this President out shines those of our own military generals.
This is so clearly a situation where Rep. Fossella espouses empty rhetoric of 'supporting our troops' in order to push a very partisan issue. While I could easily debate Rep. Fossella's logic and his allegiance to this President over the security of our troops and our country, I think his own words devistatingly show his true nature.
In 1999 President Clinton presided over the US military involvement in Serbia, while participating in a NATO authorized mission. Seeing the chance to attack, in nothing short of thinly veiled partisan jabs, the President, the Commander in Chief, Rep. Fossella laid out his attack as follows; [via Rep. Fossella's April 30th 1999 press release
Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY) today reiterated his continued support of air strikes against Serbia but challenged President Clinton to provide a clear vision of the military campaign.
Fossella said his vote earlier this week against a resolution on air operations was an attempt to focus attention on Clinton's failure to provide leadership as Commander-in-Chief and to clearly articulate a strategy for victory.
So Rep. Fossella has indicated his ability to on one hand support the ongoing military opperation while simultaneously challenging the President's strategy. He used his office and his vote on the House floor to stand up to what he perceived was a potentially flawed strategy, yet never let down his stance that the opperation was necessary. The parallel is that today, when there is little doubt that President Bush's strategy is not just flawed but an absolute danger, Rep. Fossella has the track record to again support the war should he choose but challenge the President's strategy by voting for the resolution on the floor. However he has not done so.
"While their concerns [those of his constituents] are uppermost in my mind, I have a responsibility to all Americans as we make these difficult decisions. But President Clinton has failed the test of leadership since this military action began. In the past, I have supported the President as Commander in Chief in military actions against Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and Yugoslavia. But in this matter, he has avoided articulating a strategy that will ensure victory, prevent a nightmarish quagmire or provide permanent security to Kosovars. The President has a responsibility to articulate America's long-term strategy before placing even one soldier in harm's way. He has asked the Congress and the American people to follow his lead, but he has shrouded in darkness where that road will take us. Leading military and foreign policy experts have questioned why the Administration won't define the mission and what plans are in place for us to withdraw." [edited text my own]
Again Rep. Fossella sets the stage for opposition to President Bush's failed leadership, as he so accused President Clinton. He can stand by Bush's decisions on the war in Afghanistan while criticizing and asking for a revised strategy for the war in Iraq. He has done it before and will not be seen as partisan cheer leading by attacking Clinton and then congratulating Bush on both of their leadership opportunities. Yet there is no press release, there are no speeches on the floor of the House that Bush, as he accused Clinton, "has avoided articulating a strategy that will ensure victory, prevent a nightmarish quagmire or provide permanent security" in Iraq. The glaring statement that closes that thought is his audacity to invoke foreign policy experts and he even dares to request plans for withdraw. Just this past fall when similar critiques were lobbed at Rep. Fossella and President Bush by Democratic challenger Stephen Harrison, Fossella chastised him for his failure to support the troops and his desire to 'cut and run.' The egg appears to be on Fossella's face, which may be what is blinding his foresight today.
Fossella said that after only six weeks of military action, the American people are already seeing the fallout of the Administration's ambiguous strategy and failure to plan for victory.
So what do the American people see now after nearly four years in Iraq? Rep. Fossella, did you hear the question because we have not heard your reply...
"It was shocking that the White House and NATO failed to realize that the bombings would lead to a mass exodus of Kosovars from their homeland,"
Redmond said his staff were seeing 2,000 people a day enter Syria from Iraq. More are believed to be entering other countries but UNHCR has not recorded those movements.
Up to 1.6 million Iraqis now live outside their country — mostly in Jordan and Syria, and in increasing numbers in Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, the Gulf states and Europe, Redmond said.
“This displacement amid the ongoing violence in Iraq is presenting an enormous humanitarian challenge and extreme hardship for both the displaced and the Iraqi families trying to help them in host communities,” Redmond said.
“The enormous scale of the needs, the ongoing violence and the difficulties in reaching the displaced make it a problem that is practically beyond the capacity of humanitarian agencies, including UNHCR.”
Is this still shocking? Is this what the President meant by 'shock and awe'?
Fossella also voted for a bill this week that would require President Clinton to seek Congress' approval before committing ground troops to combat.
Rep. Fossella the opportunity again is before you. Tell this President, just as you told the last one that you will not support committing more troops to such a failed policy. Demand the President present his case before Congress clearly stating the benchmarks of his strategy to justify his escalation request, otherwise stand up and vote to oppose committing more troops as you did before.
"It would be unwise for Congress to issue the President a blank check to wage war," Fossella said. "We learned only to well the dangers of gradual escalation. The 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution started a bombing campaign against North Vietnam that resulted in an 11 year quagmire, over 57,000 Americans killed in combat and some 600,000 American ground troops. That resolution became President Johnson's blank check to troop waves of new soldiers into combat. To many Americans, the war in the Balkans bears striking similarities to Vietnam. The President must have a frank discussion with the American people as to what our military's mission is, when victory will be achieved and how it will be achieved."
Rep. Fossella, you authorized a new blank check for a new President which has created a new quagmire. You saw the dangers of escaltion in Serbia, yet you are deaf to your own words of advice. Rep. Fossella you issued this entire press release on April 30th, 1999, only 38 days in the military opperation in Serbia. You clearly laid out your case for why the President at the time failed to adequately provide a strategy to win and a plan for withdraw in your opinion. You made the case for why you can support the war if you wanted, however you could vote down troop escalation and you could vote in favor of resolutions condemning the President's strategy or lack thereof. You asked the hard question of "whether the Administration was caught off guard or of it lacks a clear vision of how we will wage and win this war" yet you seemingly have no reservations of such today. Rep. Fossella you stood up as a member of Congress to a 38 day old war that you saw as so grievously ill-prepared for, yet now four years into this war in Iraq you barely appear to have an opinion one way or another. Rep. Fossella you stood up for our troops in a war in Serbia where the US military had no casualties, yet today we have buried
3,128 Americans because of this disastrous policy the President has provided for us in Iraq. Rep. Fossella I can understand the pain you feel when a role model of yours lets you down so terribly hard as President Bush must have done to you, however as you questioned President Clinton, I must wonder are you asleep at the wheel with your leadership? Is your failure to create or support any sound strategy for our troops an indication of your leadership abilities? Or in the end is this just a partisan issue where there is no opportunity for you to grand stand and in reality you could care less about our troops, because that Rep. Fossella
is what you are telling us.UPDATE
Rep. Fossella votes NO to the resolution and stands firmly behind President Bush and his strategy for Iraq. Vito Fossella continues to show us his 'independent' mindset. Read his speech here
Labels: hypocrisy, Iraq, NY-13, President Bush, Rep. Vito Fossella, Staten Island