The media is right on cue spinning this negatively toward Republicans claiming that they are preventing debate on Levin’s anti-surge resolution, but they are doing no such thing. The senators can debate this resolution until the cows come home; they were simply prevented from voting on the resolution. Senator Joe Lieberman, of the Conn. for Lieberman party, spoke on the floor of the Senate earlier this evening and explained why this resolution should not go forward:
Now, a new course has been chosen. A new commander is in place in Iraq, confirmed by this Senate. A new Secretary of Defense is in place at the Pentagon, confirmed by this Senate. And a new strategy has begun to be put into action on the ground in Iraq by our troops.
It is altogether proper that we debate our policy in Iraq. It should be a debate that is as serious as the situation in Iraq and that reflects the powers the Constitution gives to Congress in matters of war.
But that, sadly, is not the debate that the Warner-Levin resolution invites us to have. I am going to speak strongly against this resolution because I feel strongly about it. I do so with respect for my colleagues who have offered it, but I believe its passage would so compromise America’s security, present and future, that I will say so in the clearest terms I can.
The resolution before us, its sponsors concede, will not stop the new strategy from going forward. As we speak, thousands of troops are already in Baghdad, with thousands more moving into position to carry out their Commander’s orders. This resolution does nothing to alter these facts.
Instead, its sponsors say it will send a message of rebuke from the Senate to the president, from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other. But there is a world beyond Pennsylvania Avenue that is watching and listening.
What we say here is being heard in Baghdad by Iraqi moderates, trying to decide whether the Americans will stand with them. We are being heard by our men and women in uniform, who will be interested to know whether we support the plan they have begun to carry out. We are being heard by the leaders of the thuggish regimes in Iran and Syria, and by Al Qaeda terrorists, eager for evidence that America’s will is breaking. And we are being heard across America by our constituents, who are wondering if their Congress is capable of serious action, not just hollow posturing.
This resolution is not about Congress taking responsibility. It is the opposite. It is a resolution of irresolution.
For the Senate to take up a symbolic vote of no confidence on the eve of a decisive battle is unprecedented, but it is not inconsequential. It is an act which, I fear, will discourage our troops, hearten our enemies, and showcase our disunity. And that is why I will vote against cloture.
Cloture failed 49-47. Sixty votes were required to bring the anti-surge resolution to a vote.