Michael Swartz writing at Monoblogue describes the recent meeting of the Wicomico County Republican Committee and a cameo appearance by our local windsock Wayne Gilchrest. Please read it and I give Michael kudos for sitting through this without either guffawing or having his nose bleed from boredom.
One item picqued my interest. Mr. Gilchrest claims that:
First of all, he stressed that no bill he’d voted for mandated a pullout date for our troops in Iraq. The bills only were to express the “sense of the Congress” and carried no weight as far as the number of troops was concerned.Unless he's engaging in some sort of Kerryesque "I voted for it before I voted against it" moment it is pretty obvious that Gilchrest was being, as they say, very parsimonious with the truth.
More follows below the fold
On two occasions Mr. Gilchrest has voted with the Democrat bloc to end the war in Iraq.
The first occasion took place back on March 23, 2007 with the defense supplemental bill number HR 1519. That bill passed 218-212 with Mr. Gilchrest and Walter Jones of NC being the only two Republicans to vote for the bill. What does the Washington Post say about this bill:
But Democrats were in no mood to compromise after a 218 to 212 vote that largely united the fractious Democratic caucus behind one of the toughest antiwar measures ever to pass a house of Congress during combat operations. Just two Republicans, Reps. Wayne T. Gilchrest (Md.) and Walter B. Jones (N.C.), voted in favor. Fourteen Democrats -- the party's most conservative members and its most liberal -- voted no.A summary of the bill says this
The bill would establish strict standards for resting, training and equipping combat troops before their deployment and lay down binding benchmarks for the Iraqi government, such as assuming control of security operations, quelling sectarian violence and more equitably distributing oil revenue. If progress is not made toward those benchmarks, some troops would be required to come home as early as July. In any event, troop withdrawals would have to begin in March 2008, with all combat forces out by Aug. 31, 2008.
:(Sec. 1315) Directs the President to commence the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq no later than 120 days after the enactment of this Act, with the goal of redeploying, by March 31, 2008, all U.S. combat forces from Iraq except for a limited number essential for: (1) protecting U.S. and coalition personnel and infrastructure; (2) training and equipping Iraqi forces; and (3) conducting targeted counterterrorism operations. Requires redeployment implementation as part of a comprehensive diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community to collectively bring stability to Iraq. Requires reports from the President to Congress every 90 days on progress made in implementing such redeployment.This is not a "sense of the Congress" bill. This is the bill to fund the war and it requires a withdrawal from Iraq by March 31, 2008.
The second instance was Mr. Gilchrest voting for the conference report which would have made HR 1591 into law. The conference report passed 218-208 and was later vetoed by President Bush.
The bill passed yesterday sets strict requirements for resting, training and equipping troops but would grant the president the authority to waive those restrictions, as long as he publicly justifies the waivers. The bill also establishes benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet: Create a program to disarm militias, reduce sectarian violence, ease rules that purged the government of all former Baath Party members and approve a law on sharing oil revenue.Once this disgraceful bit of legislation was passed and the president vetoed it, Wayne Gilchrest voted with the surrender caucus to override the veto.
Unless the Bush administration determines by July 1 that those benchmarks are being met, troops would begin coming home immediately, with a goal of completing those withdrawals by the end of the year. If benchmarks are being met, troops would begin coming home no later than Oct. 1, with a goal of completing the troop pullout by April 1.
Right there are three votes that mandated a US pullout from Iraq and set dates by which this shameful act would be accomplished. I don't know what Wayne Gilchrest thought he was voting on, perhaps he doesn't know himself, but the facts are the facts.