So, now that Bush is out of office, there are no "troops" for Joe to support. The war in Iraq, while not over, has very little hope of continuing forever, so "support the troops" no longer means "support the war." Now that things are winding down, "support the troops" means "hide the crimes."
Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) threatened to hold up any and all legislation in the Senate until Congress passes its legislation to prohibit the release of photos showing detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We're not going to do any more business in the Senate," Graham said. "Nothing's going forward until we get this right."
Both Senators said they were alarmed that a House-Senate conference committee on the supplemental war spending bill appears poised to eliminate language -- inserted by the two Senators -- that would block public disclosure of detainee abuse photos. The $90-billion-plus bill has been held up, in part, because House Democratic leaders have said they do not have the votes to pass it with the detainee photo provision included, because many liberal lawmakers have balked at the language.
Joe says releasing the photos "to me is sheer voyeurism... and will lead to the death of Americans." Two points here; 1), it's not the photos but the acts they record that have endangered Americans. Hiding them forever merely verifies the rumors that these are really, really bad. 2), they're our photos. We own them. Unless the photos give away state secrets -- and no one is arguing that they do -- there's no compelling reason to keep them under wraps.
But Sen. Lieberman wasn't so quick to shut down funding for the war in 2007. In fact, when Russ Feingold threatened to cut off funding for the Iraq war unless Bush agreed to a timetable for withdrawal, he threatened to go Republican and give control of the Senate back to the GOP.
"We will see how that plays out in the coming months..." he said of the situation. "I hope we don't get to that point. That's about all I will say on it today. That would hurt."
From the Senate floor, Lieberman made the following address (courtesy of Media Matters, emphasis theirs):
We all know what our most important responsibility is. Our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are looking to us. They need the funding that only we in Congress can provide them. The money is running out.
I understand that many in this chamber saw the supplemental appropriations bill as an opportunity to force a withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, and that many of us argued vigorously against the amendments that attempted to do that. Each side has now had an opportunity to make its case, and the result is clear: there are not enough votes in Congress to enact a mandatory date for withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. The time for having debates and sending messages on this troop funding bill should be over.
It is time to get our troops the equipment, the training, the supplies they need -- and without delay.
We in this chamber have a responsibility to make certain that -- no matter what our disagreements and differences here in Washington -- our men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan are not caught in the political crossfire.
Of course, that was way back in May of 2007, when "troops"="Bush." If the "time for having debates and sending messages on this troop funding bill" had passed a year ago, it's hard to see how it's possible that that time has come back now. "...Lieberman is doing something he's criticized others for doing -- using the war funding bill as a political human shield," writes John Aravosis, tongue deeply in cheek. "We always suspected Lieberman's loyalty to troops and country was only skin deep."
Of course, back then Joe was selling the line that defunding the war would deprive soldiers of "the equipment, the training, the supplies they need." It was no more true then than it is now. Lieberman and Graham can play politics with the war funding supplemental all they want, but they can't do it without people pointing out their jaw-dropping hypocrisy. And they can't do it without demonstrating that their previous arguments were all lies.
It just goes to show you that the right has become completely shameless. Need to lie and engage in blatant hypocrisy for political advantage? Hey, that's cool -- that's the way things work on the right. That's why they can vote for deficit after deficit under a Republican president, then complain about all the spending once a Democrat gets in the White House.
It'd be nice if de facto Republican Joe Lieberman were consistent in his arguments. It'd be nice if he didn't feel the need to resort to lies. It'd be nice if his arguments were fact-based, rather than built on right wing radio talking-points and propaganda. It'd be nice if Sen. Joe Lieberman -- sole member of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party -- had just a little bit of class.
Apparently, that's too much to ask.
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