April 26, 2007

Harry Reid: No Clement Vallandingham

Via the ever vigilant, all-knowing Allahpundit, calls for Democrat Harry Reid to resign for saying that the Iraq war is "lost".

Says Rep. Duncan Hunter, a ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee:

"In my opinion Sen. Reid, having made that statement, which can only have a demoralizing effect on our troops and an effect of encouragement of the adversary, I think it would be appropriate for Sen. Reid to resign his position as the leader of the United States Senate," he said.

It will never happen, of course, even as Reid stakes his claim as the modern-day Clement Vallandingham.

Actually, that comparison isn't fair to Vallandingham.

Vallandingham was always against the Civil War and was consistent in his position, even though that eventually led to him being tried in a military tribunal for "uttering disloyal sentiments," prison, and his eventual expulsion from the United States.

Reid, on the other hand, was an advocate for going to war against Iraq, before he was against it.

We stopped the fighting [in 1991] on an agreement that Iraq would take steps to assure the world that it would not engage in further aggression and that it would destroy its weapons of mass destruction. It has refused to take those steps. That refusal constitutes a breach of the armistice which renders it void and justifies resumption of the armed conflict.

Addressing the US Senate
October 9, 2002
Congressional Record, p. S10145

I find it interesting to note that Reid's 2002 justification for war against Iraq mirrors my own, and is entirely accurate, even to this day. As Reid noted, whether or not Iraq actually had WMDs was irrelevant; Saddam repeatedly violated the terms of the 1991 cease-fire.

Reid voted to go to war, and most recently, was part of the unanimous Senate vote to confirm Lt. General David Petraeus to run the Iraq War exactly three months ago today.

Since then, Reid has declared that he would not believe Petraeus if the General reported any progress in the Iraq War:

BASH: You talked several times about General Petraeus. You know that he is here in town. He was at the White House today, sitting with the president in the Oval Office and the president said that he wants to make it clear that Washington should not be telling him, General Petraeus, a commander on the ground in Iraq, what to do, particularly, the president was talking about Democrats in Congress. He also said that General Petraeus is going to come to the Hill and make it clear to you that there is progress going on in Iraq, that the so-called surge is working. Will you believe him when he says that?

REID: No, I don't believe him, because it's not happening. All you have to do is look at the facts.

[Note: the above was pulled from a CNN "The Situation Room" transcript at, which has since gone missing]

Harry Reid pushed for war against Iraq when that was the popular position. Now that the war is unpopular, he declares the war "lost" and pushes for defeat.

On January 26, Harry Reid voted to confirm General David Petraeus to run the Iraq war, presumably basing his decision on Petraeus' capability and competence. Less than three months later, he publicly states that he will refuse to believe anything General Petraeus says that does not match his own weathervane opinion.

Vallandingham was perhaps treasonous, but he was at the very least honest and consistent about his positions, even as he sought to wreck the future of the United States.

We cannot say the same about Harry Reid.

Update: Captain's Quarters notes The Five Myths of Harry Reid.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 26, 2007 08:55 AM

I agree Mr. Reid should step down. He is a disgrace, even to Democrats.

Posted by: Justin at April 26, 2007 09:08 AM

I made a similar comparison a couple of days ago:

Have The Copperheads Made A Comeback?

I wish more people would equate these two eras of Democratic defeatism. It's eerie how similar they are.

Posted by: Granddaddy Long Legs at April 26, 2007 09:25 AM

I linked at 2007.04.26 Dem Perfidy // Islamism Delenda Est Roundup. Reid and Pelosi should both be hanged for treason.

Posted by: Bill Faith at April 26, 2007 11:36 AM

I strongly disagree with threats to hang Reid or Pelosi, or threatening them with any other sort of bodily harm.

Do their statements and actions hurt the United States and Iraq, and embolden our enemies? I think they do, and it seems many people, including an apparently more vocal minority of experinced war reporters, seem to agree.

But the proper way to handle Reid, Pelosi, Murtha, etc is to simply express your outrage at Democrats for their self-serving weathervane politics. Explain that they hurt not only the Democrat Party, but their chances for retaining office (the transparent primary concern of these politicians in specific, and most politicians in general). You would hope that explaining that their actions actually hurt American interests and encourage the enemy would be enough, but that is clearly not their focus.

Alternatively, you could attempt to get the Department of Justice to appoint an independent prosecutor to examine whether or not the Democrats are violation any laws for certain specific statements and acts. I highly doubt anything will come of such an attempt, but is a far better route than attempting or wishing them mortal harm.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 26, 2007 12:01 PM

In my opinion, reducing our numbers in Iraq is not tantamount to a surrender or defeat in conventional terms.

In my opinion, reducing the number of troops is merely an acknowledgement that military force has a) not brought peace to Iraq, b) defies the desire of most Iraqis, c) directed many to believe that political and diplomatic strategies may be the best course, d) that Americans of all colors are striving to understand their own morality -- if they have the depth to do so, and e) strengthened the resolve of many Americans that domestic issues should receive our fiscal attention.

Pragmatically, the attempt to gain a stranglehold on the Iraq and elsewhere in that area is Machiavellian (note that the family who commissioned Machiavelli renounced him) and based on a desire for commercial gain and control by a relatively few corporations and their boosters. In regard to that, and our current dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and devoid of morality in the short-run, the war makes perfect sense.

In the long-run, Americans will bear the burden of knowing that the United States military allowed depleted uranium to both blow in the sands of Iraq, and under the seats of our soldiers in their vehicles.

Obama's frequent reminders that Clinton and others first voted for the war annoys me. Congress was acting on information that they believed they should trust. Strikingly, they did not anticipate the level of incompetence in the CIA, the U.N., or among righteous Pentagon leaders who should have first removed WMDs before opting to request funds for a war.

In the very least, and without regard for my overall assessment of Senator Reid, I enjoyed his drama and candor. It got people talking about these issues on a more intense level, throughout our nation. However, I would like to have someone explain why, if our Democratic leaders do not want this war to continue, they didn't just close the purse-strings altogether. They have that right over the veto power of the president.

That said, the linguistic war that has been running wild, these past several years, should be a study on fear, commercialism, aggression, propaganda, and sincerity among all those who -- with or without sound minds and the ability to make fine assessments and to well communicate their thoughts -- have contributed to this element of our culture and of our history.

Barry N. Peterson, B. A., History
University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, 1996

Posted by: Barry N. Peterson at April 27, 2007 05:41 AM