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Baker to Vote Against Democrats' 'Petulat, Craven' Iraq Resolution

Location: Washington, DC

Baker to vote against Democrats' ‘petulant, craven' Iraq resolution

U.S. Rep. Richard Baker, R-Baton Rouge, issued the following statement today on his intentions to vote against a Democratic non-binding resolution expressing disapproval of the President's decision to deploy additional troops to Iraq:

"The setbacks and lack of progress toward victory in Iraq over the past year have been frustrating. But if an ineffective strategy during that period has made it difficult to say that America is winning this fight, neither can it be said that the terrorists are winning, nor that they have any realistic chance of defeating us on the battlefield. The only way they win, therefore, is to wear us down long enough and we become so disheartened that we come to view stalemate as defeat and throw in the towel. This resolution seems purposefully designed not only to agree with this assessment of the situation but to welcome it.

"I do not believe it is in the American character to walk away from a fight that is not yet won but that is also a far cry from being lost. But I do believe it is characteristic of Americans to grow impatient with a tie when we appear to fight with one hand behind our back instead of giving it all we've got to win. The President seems to have gotten this message and is undertaking a new strategy to take the fight to our enemies with renewed vigor. In response, House Democrats have put forth a resolution essentially admitting that when they spent the last year demanding that the President ‘change the course' in Iraq, what they really meant was ‘give up.' The effect of this resolution, if it had any, would be to set in place a status quo strategy that its sponsors spent the past year telling us was a failure.

"But that's the thing about non-binding resolutions; their only purpose is to send a message. I fear, however, that in their zeal to send the President a message disapproving of his new strategy, House Democrats either don't understand or don't care that that their message will also be heard by the troops being sent to implement the strategy and by the enemies it is intended to defeat. The drafters of this resolution apparently hope to cover over this problem by prefacing their disapproval of the mission with a boilerplate statement of support for the troops. To the age-old question of whether it's possible to ‘separate the dancer from the dance,' the Democrats are attempting to say that they're behind the dancer 100 percent; it's just that whole dancing business they're not fond of. I don't buy it, and if I heard such an expression of ‘support,' I'd say ‘thanks but no thanks.'

"If the House Democratic leadership truly meant what they say, of course, they wouldn't offer up a symbolic, non-binding resolution disapproving of sending more troops to Iraq. Instead they would act upon the courage of their convictions and take steps to cut off funding for the deployment of these troops. The fact that they don't do so reveals this ‘expression of disapproval' for what it is: petulant and craven.

"I will vote against this resolution because defeat in Iraq would have catastrophic repercussions for the safety of our nation, because we owe it to the American people to finally give it all we have to win what we started, and because we owe genuine support for the troops whom we're sending to win it."

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