Or. . . .otherwise.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was testifying Tuesday about the need for military action in Syria and Iraq when Ann Wright, an antiwar demonstrator in the audience, rose and began shouting: “No more war! No more war!”
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, hammered the gavel. “You’re acting very war-like yourself,” he told Wright.
Ms. Wright is a former Army Colonel and therefore an expert on such matters, which is of course why she is being so smugly dissed.
Must be going around.
You don’t say.
With extraordinary speed, the nation and its leaders have rallied behind war to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group. President Obama still holds to a “no boots on the ground” pledge, but to listen to recent pronouncements in the House and Senate, it would appear that many Republicans are clamoring for a new ground war in the Middle East — a position even hawks hesitated to take a few weeks ago.
Consider one member of the Senate panel, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who three months ago said: “I don’t think we need boots on the ground. I don’t think that is an option worth consideration.” After Obama announced a no-boots-on-the-ground plan last week that sounded much like what Graham was asking for, Graham revised his view. “This idea we’ll never have any boots on the ground to defeat them in Syria is fantasy,” he said Sunday on TV.
Oh that Miss Lindsey — she does go on!
At Tuesday’s hearing, Graham practically pleaded with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to endorse the use of U.S. ground troops against the Islamic State. “Do you agree that somebody’s got to go in on the ground?” he asked. “Can you envision a coalition of Arab states that have the capabilities . . . without substantial U.S. military support?” Finally, the senator challenged the general: “If you think they can do it without us being on the ground, just say yes.”
“Yes,” said Dempsey.
This was evidently not the answer sought by Graham, who then asked if Dempsey would recommend U.S. ground troops in Syria “if nobody else will help us.” Dempsey, not quite as categorical as Obama, pledged that if circumstances change to merit U.S. ground forces, he’ll recommend that.
The sudden desire for a ground war is a bit suspect, both because many Republicans adopted this view only after Obama came around to their previous view and because many Republicans oppose even the modest funding Obama has requested to train Syrian fighters. (Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said she opposed “giving even more money to the so-called vetted moderates who aren’t moderate at all.”)
It may be that Republicans embraced the boots-on-the-ground position because Obama rejected it. Whatever the cause, the militancy is spreading — even though polls indicate that while Americans favor military action against the Islamic State, they aren’t keen on ground troops.
House Speaker John Boehner, asked about Obama’s no-boots vow, replied: “I would never tell the enemy what I was willing to do, or unwilling to do.”
“Now BLEED For Me!”
Backbencher Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) was more blunt. He told the Associated Press that, rather than depending on “undependable” foreigners, he favors “all-out-war” waged by American forces.
As the House kicked off its debate Tuesday on training Syrian rebels, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) declared that Obama “was far too quick to rule out options and tools that he in fact may need later.”
Said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.): “We have made this decision not to have ground troops. We do not need another half-pregnant war in the Middle East. If it’s important enough to fight, it’s important enough to win.” Kingston added that war in the former Yugoslavia ended only after a U.S. decision “to commit ground troops.”
A mere formality.
Take it away Nancy!