To make amends for my sloppy post that originally credited Rep. John Boehner with Rep. Charlie Norwood’s quote, here are Rep. Norwood’s remarks from the debate in full from his Congressional website:
Mr. Speaker, this rule will allow perhaps one of the most critical actions to date in the War on Terror.
This action is not military in nature â€“ it is entirely political. But it will determine victory or defeat as surely as any battle.
Our troops can defeat any enemy on earth, under any conditions â€“ if we have the will. That is what we debate under this rule â€“ do we have the will to win.
Many â€“ not all â€“ of the other side of the aisle lack the will to win. The American public needs to know precisely who they are. If there are any on this side of the aisle who hold the same view this will allow them to be found out as well. Then the public can decide the course of this war in November, by throwing the defeatists out of office.
This debate, under the rule, is as critical a fight as any our troops could have on the battlefield. No one has any doubt our soldiers will win any fight we send them to. The world’s doubt is entirely over the backbone of this Congress.
Because of the statements of Members of this body and the Senate that have given substantial propaganda assistance to the enemy, this rule, this debate, is absolutely essential to preserving the victories our troops have won with their blood and their lives.
Time to decide â€“ Al Qaeda or America? Let the voters take note.
This is hyperbolic nonsense, of course. This was a nonbinding resolution that has only symbolic significance. News accounts, such as the WSJ print article I quoted and this New York Times article, have quoted Rep. Norwood as having said, “It is time to stand up and vote. Is it al Qaeda or is it America?” But the meaning of that version and the one given by Rep. Norwood’s own site is the same: agree with standing Iraq policy, or be effectively counted a tacit supporter of al Qaeda.
Rep. Norwood very clearly sets this question in the context of accusing members of the House of virtual treason (giving “substantial propaganda assistance to the enemy” sounds an awful lot like an accusation of giving aid and comfort to the enemy). He makes it absolutely clear that he considers this resolution a vote to prove one’s loyalty to the country. Defeatists support al Qaeda, and Rep. Norwood and his side support America–it doesn’t get any more blunt and obnoxious than that. That is the level of the debate on the side of the supporters of this war. Let the supporters of the war defend it, if they can.