Sunday, July 15, 2007

Jim Webb: Stop Putting Political Words in [Our Soldiers’ Mouths]

Did you see Meet the Press today? I always miss it but I know I can watch it online after 1 pm. Today I got to watch two US Senators duke it out over Iraq, Senators Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Lindsey Graham (R- NC).

I hate Graham. He drones and repeats himself with identical talking points. Webb is spontaneous but he has trouble getting it out. He finally did get it out, slamming Graham for his political pandering, putting words in the mouths of our soldiers in Iraq.

Graham tried to use the staged reenlistment ceremony on the 4th as proof that the soldiers are all for continuing the war. A devious spin of an event clearly staged by the Bush regime.

Webb countered (finally) with “Don’t put political words in their mouth.” And then a few moments later: “Thirty-five percent of the United States military agrees with the policy of this president.”

I’ve excerpted the exchange below from the transcript available on MSNBC if you care to read through the entire excruciating altercation.

SEN. WEBB: The traditional operational policy has been if you’ve been gone for a year, you get two years back. We’re now in a situation where the soldiers and the Marines are having less than a one to one ratio, and somebody needs to speak up for them rather than simply defending what this president’s been doing.

SEN. GRAHAM: When they re-enlist in the highest numbers anywhere else in the military, they’re speaking...

SEN. WEBB: You know, this is one thing I really—this is one thing I really take objection to...

SEN. GRAHAM: ...the soldiers are speaking, my friend. Let them win.

SEN. WEBB: politicians who—at the...

SEN. GRAHAM: Let them win.

SEN. WEBB: Politicians who—may I speak?

SEN. GRAHAM: They want to win, let them win.

SEN. WEBB: Is politicians who try to put their political views into the mouths of soldiers. You can look at poll after poll, and the political views of the United States military are no different than the country at large. Go take a look at The New York Times today.

SEN. GRAHAM: The soldiers...

SEN. WEBB: Less than half of the military believes that we should be in Iraq in the first place.

SEN. GRAHAM: Have you been to Iraq? Have you ever been and talked to them? I’ve been seven times.

SEN. WEBB: You know, have you ever been to these—I’ve been—I’ve covered two wars as a correspondent...

SEN. GRAHAM: Have you been to Iraq?

SEN. WEBB: I have been to Afghanistan as a journalist.

SEN. GRAHAM: Have you been to Iraq and—have you been to Iraq and talked to the soldiers?

SEN. WEBB: You know, you haven’t been to Iraq.

SEN. GRAHAM: I’ve been to—I’ve been there seven times.

SEN. WEBB: You know, you go see the dog and pony shows.

SEN. GRAHAM: I’ve been there as a reservist, I have been there and I’m going back in August.

SEN. WEBB: That’s what congressmen do. Yeah, I have, I have—I’ve been a member of the military when the senators come in.

SEN. GRAHAM: Well, all—listen, something we can agree on, we both admire the men and women in uniform. I don’t doubt your patriotism.

SEN. WEBB: Don’t put political words in their mouth.

SEN. GRAHAM: You know, my election...

SEN. WEBB: You do it—you’ve been doing it ever since I’ve been in Congress.

SEN. GRAHAM: I’m up for re-election. Every Republican who’s supporting this position is doing it against the polls.

SEN. WEBB: You know, you said on the floor, “Let them win. They want it.”

SEN. GRAHAM: This is not about my election, my friend...

SEN. WEBB: They want it, my friend.

SEN. GRAHAM: ...this is about the next generation.

SEN. WEBB: No, you said on the floor this week, “Let them win.”

SEN. GRAHAM: The troops are not the problem. The troops can win. I...

SEN. WEBB: Thirty-five percent of the United States military agrees with the policy of this president.

SEN. GRAHAM: Well, why do they keep...

SEN. WEBB: By poll. By poll.

SEN. GRAHAM: Why do they go back?

SEN. WEBB: Because they love their country.

SEN. GRAHAM: That’s not the problem. No, because...

SEN. WEBB: Because they love their country, they do not do it for political reasons.

SEN. GRAHAM: And they...

SEN. WEBB: My family’s been doing this since the Revolutionary war.

SEN. GRAHAM: Yeah, well, so, so has my family.

SEN. WEBB: They do it for—they do it because they love their country, because they have a tradition, and it is the responsibility of our national leaders to make sure that they are used properly.

SEN. GRAHAM: In conclusion, I think they go back because they see the face of the enemy that we’re fighting. They don’t want their...

SEN. WEBB: Well, you got to look at the polls, Lindsey, instead of...

SEN. GRAHAM: to go back, they don’t want their grandkids to go back.

SEN. WEBB: ...instead of the seven or eight people they bring in line when you make your congressional visit.

SEN. GRAHAM: Bin Laden said this is the third world war in Iraq. They go back because they know the consequences of losing. God bless them, and let’s make sure they can win, because they can.

SEN. WEBB: I’ll let them judge what you said.

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