Friday, December 07, 2007

Sen. Levin and Sen. Biden Oppose Deadline

Congress considers pulling troops out despite Department of Defense warnings. Gwen Ifill on PBS NewsHour with Sen. Levin and Sen. Biden. Gwen Ifill asks Senator Biden to make his case.

GWEN IFILL: Let's try to get to the other side of this story. Senator Biden, we just heard Secretary of State say today that she believes that action on the Senate on this bill would be playing with fire. You've heard the field Commander also say that this would give the enemy the victory he could not achieve in the battlefield. How do you make that case on the floor of the Senate?

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN, (D) Delaware: I think it's real easy to make the case on the floor of the Senate. People aren't dying now. The carnage has ended. There is the beginning of stability in that region a building of a stable region. And lasts point I'll make is this: The idea that we can in fact withdraw all our ground forces from that area and expect there not to be a change in the environment in that area in a negative way is, I think, is pollyannaish to think that's the case. I just think this is a bad idea.

GWEN IFILL: Senator Levin, let's talk about presidential prerogative for a moment. This president obviously has already threatened to veto the entire under lying military construction bill if this language is included. Is this a question of presidential prerogative, or is this a question of that this Congress does not trust this president that we have right now?

SEN. CARL LEVIN, (D) Michigan: In my judgment, it's a question of whether it's wise to set a deadline, and we might as well address that issue first and foremost. This language sets a deadline. That creates between now and then, a very dangerous period of uncertainty and instability, which in the words of our commander there, creates danger for our forces, that period of uncertainty is very dangerous because the enemy will seek to gain an advantage during that period.

This bill means the effective pullout of American forces is threatened and that will do severe damage. What this does is, after we have won a victory there, after we have returned refugees to their home, it just sort of grabs defeat from a victorious situation. Now, there's plenty of problems there, let me tell you, but there's no use turning a victory into a defeat by creating a deadline and the uncertainty which is then created.

GWEN IFILL: Senator Levin, what should our mission be?

SEN. CARL LEVIN: Our mission is to maintain the stability in there. We're doing a very good job of it. We're gradually getting that stability back. We've returned refugees to their homes. For us to pull the rug out from under our own allies after we have won this success it seems to me is an absolute non-to policy, it is the worst thing we can do after we have been able to bring some stability back and avoid a much wider war, which could drag us in even deeper.

Now if you have read this far you might think that I have a.) gone off my meds or b.)started new meds that put me in an alternate universe. Actually this conversation took place in May 2000, and Kosovo is the region that Senators Levin and Biden are arguing to oppose setting any deadlines to pull troops out. As Paul Harvey would say
Now you know the rest of the story. Page 2.

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