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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

VI. Bennett Falsely Claims Authorship of Iraq Withdrawal Plan

If you could only read one part of the Bennett-Dent debate, this is the part I'd recommend. Nowhere is the difference between these two candidates so striking. One is knowledgeable while the other was ill-informed and deceptive.

When she discussed Israel, Sam Bennett betrayed a serious weakness on matters of foreign policy. That weakness was magnified even more when the subject turned to Iraq. I was shocked when she claimed, falsely, to have written "A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq." According to Arianna Huffington, that document is actually the work of "national security experts and retired military generals such as Major Gen. Paul Eaton, the officer in charge of training the Iraqi military immediately after the invasion."

Bennett certainly has endorsed this plan, but it was wrong for her to claim authorship.

Congressman Dent, in contrast, demonstrated a surprisingly commanding knowledge of foreign affairs. Often called an "empty suit," he displays keen insight into our relationships around the world.

Question: Please describe your position and any evolution thereof towards the conduct of the Iraq-Afghanistan operation.

Sam Bennett: [Initial comment included a complaint about Dent's campaign, covered here.] "By the way, Charlie, if you voted one way on bills, it would be very simple. But everything we have said about your voting record is true, and we have the documentation for it.

"But onto Iraq. I've said this before. I'm from a military family. I lived in Saigon. I'm grateful to the men and women that have served this nation. With fourteen hundred casualties coming from Pennsylvania alone, this is a serious matter.

"My opponent went to Washington knowing there were no weapons of mass destruction and still voted with George Bush 100% of the time on the war in Iraq. A hundred billion tax dollars later, and he votes against mandatory rest periods for veterans. When those veterans come home, he votes against health care and job training for those same veterans.

"So what is my plan?

"Well, I believe actions speak louder than words and I wrote A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq and now, fifty-three other challengers have joined me.

"We need to get out of Iraq immediately with a phased drawdown of troops. Those troops that we leave behind in order to fight terrorism and help the Iraqi forces there, they need to be given adequate body armor and adequate rest periods.

"9/11 showed us that we faced a threat without borders and post-Iraq shows us that we cannot go it alone. "

Charlie Dent: "A few things again. My opponent has a hard time with facts. She just said she wrote a book about how to get out of Iraq. Well, when she was asked by a local blogger who the President of Syria was, she couldn't name Mr. Assad. She couldn't name the President of Afghanistan, President Karzai, with whom we deal quite a bit. So I really don't believe you wrote a book on how to get out of Iraq.

"I have read a book - the Iraq Study Group, written by [Democrat] Lee Hamilton, with whom I talk on a fairly regular basis, and James Baker, a Republican. That actually provided a blueprint to get out of Iraq.

"You said you supported it, too, but you support the polls that completely contradict what's in that document, whether it is arbitrarily legislated timelines for withdrawal. You talk about rest periods for our troops. It's not for our veterans, it's for our troops. To impose that kind of a rest period - twelve months - at that time, would have extended the deployment of men and women currently serving in Iraq. That's not fair to them. It would have treated men and women serving in Afghanistan differently than in Iraq.

"A few other things I need to add. We need to draw down that presence in Iraq, the combatant presence, and we will. The question is the pace.

"I met with General Petraeus for an hour and a half in Baghdad. I've been to Iraq twice. We are making gains in the security front. We are seeing some political reconciliation there. i was there the day they passed the debathification law, which was absolutely essential. Iran and Syria continue to be a problem in Iraq, particularly Iran.

"With respect to Afghanistan, I've been to Afghanistan and I'll tell you very clearly that we need more help from NATO. NATO is an alliance; it is a collective defense organization. If we fail in Afghanistan, NATO will fail. That would be disaster.

"I believe in NATO, I believe in it so strongly. My opponent likes placing operational controls on our troops. That's what she wanted to do in Iraq. Well, that's what NATO governments do to their troops operating in Afghanistan, whether it be the Germans or the Spaniards. We can't let the Americans and the Canadians and the Australians and the Polish and the British and the Dutch do all the fighting. We need to have less operational controls on our troops in Afghanistan, not more from NATO governments. It is time that we put more pressure on some of our friends in NATO to pick up the slack. We're going to have to add more troops and so will they.

"We can win this thing, and I believe we will."


Anonymous said...

The Iraq Study Group was a load of crap written by a bunch of kabuki dancers to cover their original objective - admit defeat, declare victory, and run like hell. Charlie was a big supporter of the surrender monkey movement.

Luckily, proponents of the surge prevailed over the likes Charlie and we've turned Iraq around through strength - not the weakness Charlie advocated. I guess you might credit Charlie's demand for dishonorable surrender with applying pressure to step up the fighting and win the damn thing.

The truly sad thing is that, as much of a moron as Charlie is re: Iraq, Sam Bennett is exponentially worse. This really is a lesser of two idiots election.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The ISG ia the instrument that actually contemplates the surge. It states that military action, by itself, is not enough. It calls for a bigger effort towards reconciliation in Iraq. And it calls for a surge. " While this process is under way, and to facilitate it, the United States should significantly increase the number of U.S. military personnel, including combat troops, imbedded in and supporting Iraqi Army units."

The surge is actually part of the ISG policy so your comment is pretty much neocon nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Although she pretty much shot herself in the foot throughout the candidate forum, this particular question at the forum really brought to light just how poorly qualified and uninformed Ms. Bennett is for Congress.

Why does she think that living in Saigon as a child in a military family somehow qualifies her to legislate over current middle east or international affairs?

I actually agree with Ms. Bennett when she says, ""Well, I believe actions speak louder than words." Charlie Dent as been to the Middle East twice during his time in office and has met with leaders from Israel, Afghanistan and other countries in the region. He works with a bipartisan group continuously to find workable, responsible plans to successfully get our troops home while leaving troubled regions with some stability. Ms. Bennett falsely claims to have written a document on the war in Iraq, which she only signed on to along with other candidates from her party seeking to be elected to government offices. She is the one who only offers words on this issue, not Rep. Dent. Doesn't she recognize that?

Ms. Bennett says,"By the way, Charlie, if you voted one way on bills, it would be very simple." Exactly right. Doesn't she realize that being a U.S. representative is not "simple"? If Rep. Dent voted only one way on every bill that came before him, he would in fact be a rubber stamp who doesn't weigh each bill for it's merits and future impact. By her own reckoning, he's not! Why vote for poor legislation just because its title sounds good? When you do that, the very people you say you are trying to help or protect get screwed.

She stated Sunday night that she has documentation for every thing she has said about Rep. voting record. Please, someone from the media, ask her for these documents and show us them. Show us proof that Rep. Dent votes with Bush 100% of the time. I'm a pretty decent researcher, and I can't find evidence of this anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Dent has been a regular pain the ass to the Bush administration. He's one of 14 House RINOs who've stuck it to Bush on a regular basis. Hillary Clinton probably has a cozier voting record.

Anonymous said...

Frankly... Bennett should withdraw from the race... she continues to prove over and over again why Charlie Dent will win in a landslide. The Democrats in the area seem to always to an excellent job of picking bad candidates!

Anonymous said...

Remember all, Bennett was the DNC's 3rd or 4th choice in this race. Locals had nothing to do with picking her.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Sam schooled Dent, big time. Put a fork in him, its time to break out the mustard!

The Baker

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Baker's been exposed to too many poppyseeds...

...unless it's the vanilla extract.