Cheney: Anti-War Dems Undermine Troops

Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at the American Israel Publlic Affairs Committee 2007 Policy Conference, March 12, 2007 in Washington, D.C. There he said that members of Congress who don't support war funding "are undermining" U.S. troops. GETTY

Anti-war lawmakers in Congress are undermining U.S. troops in Iraq by trying to limit President Bush's spending requests for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday.

Hitting out at lawmakers who profess to back the troops but oppose Mr. Bush's plans in Iraq, Cheney said proof of their commitment would come as they consider legislation to provide nearly $100 billion for the rest of this year's costs of the war.

The House of Representatives plans to begin considering a bill this week that would fully finance the administration's request. Senate action is expected to come later.

"When members of Congress pursue an anti-war strategy that's been called 'slow bleed,' they are not supporting the troops, they are undermining them," Cheney said in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

"Anyone can say they support the troops, and we should take them at their word. But the proof will come when it's time to provide the money," he said.

House Democratic leaders want to add provisions to the war spending measure requiring the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops by the end of August 2008 and possibly by the end of 2007. Some anti-war Democrats prefer limiting the funds so the administration would essentially be forced to remove U.S. forces, a strategy that party leaders have abandoned.

"We expect the House and Senate to meet the needs of our military and the generals leading the troops in battle on time and in full measure," Cheney said. "When members speak not of victory but of time limits, deadlines and other arbitrary measures, they are telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out."

Cheney said the House's nonbinding vote against troop increases in Iraq last month was an example of "twisted logic" and "not a proud episode in the history of the United States Congress."

Cheney added, "Very soon, both houses will have to vote on a piece of legislation that is binding, a bill to provide emergency funding to the troops, and I sincerely hope that this time, the discussion this time will be about winning in Iraq."

He predicted "disaster" and "chaos" in the Middle East, with either al Qaeda or Iran emerging dominant from a bloody sectarian battle and compromising regional security if U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq before their mission is completed.

Of particular concern, he said, would be a powerful and possibly nuclear-armed Iran, criticizing as inconsistent some lawmakers who are pressing for tougher action on Iran but opposing Mr. Bush's Iraq plan.

"It is simply not consistent for anyone to demand aggressive action against the menace posed by the Iranian regime while at the same time acquiescing in a retreat from Iraq that would leave our worst enemies dramatically emboldened and Israel's best friend, the United States, dangerously weakened," Cheney said.
  • Christine Lagorio

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