Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ramstad, Kline disagree on vote of "no confidence"

Is a vote of "no confidence" really a good idea in a time of war?

In parliamentary systems, votes of no confidence may be the first step to removing a prime minister or dissolving parliament. In our democratic republic, we have votes of confidence or no confidence by the entire electorate every election cycle.

House Concurrent Resolution 63, disapproving of the decision of the President to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq, is an American version of the parliamentary vote of no confidence. My U.S. Representative from MN-3, Jim Ramstad, spoke in favor of the resolution:
As General Colin Powell, one of the most respected military leaders of our generation, put it, a surge was already tried in Baghdad last fall, and it failed...

It's time for Congress to step up and express our strong support of our brave troops, our continued support of their original mission and our opposition to the increase of U.S. troops to police a civil war in Iraq.
President Bush's new strategy is more than a troop surge. Bush intends to: let the Iraqis lead; help Iraqis protect the population; isolate extremists; create space for political progress; diversify political and economic efforts; and situate the strategy in a regional approach. Ramstad's phrase "police a civil war" is something we would expect to hear from liberals like Wendy Wilde or Al Franken.

Rep. John Kline (MN-6) sees the resolution for what it is: Congressional micromanagement à la the Vietnam war. In a thoughtful and thorough statement on the floor of the U.S. House, Kline said:
One critic of the administration's handling of Iraq, a very vocal critic, and a man who I knew and admired throughout my Marine Corps career, retired General Anthony Zinni, the former commander of Central Command, spelled it out bluntly when he noted that, "We cannot simply pull out, as much as we may want to. The consequences of a destabilized and chaotic Iraq sitting in the center of a critical region in the world could have catastrophic implications."

...Let us not promote a humanitarian disaster which is almost unimaginable. Let us support success in Iraq. Let us support the new commander in Iraq and give him what he needs to succeed in this mission.
Ramstad is one of the most patriotic, pro-troop people anywhere. While not what I would call conservative, he works hard for his district and the Republican Party. I see him across the Third District every Memorial Day, from a mid-morning American Legion ceremony in a tiny Wayzata cemetery to the flag-draped, spit-and-polish observance at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. And I will be forever grateful for his principled vote against No Child Left Behind, in spite of bone-breaking arm twisting from the Bush White House. But I question whether a vote of no confidence in a time of war is truly in the best interests of freedom and our country.

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