On October 2, by a vote of 98 to 1, the Senate approved a symbolic amendment to the 2003 supplemental spending bill (S. 1689) to commend the Armed Forces of the United States for their role in the war on terrorism.
Normally, a vote on such a resolution would have been a pure formality, since no politician, no matter how partisan, would want to make the unpatriotic gesture of refusing to support the troops.
But Sen. Fritz Hollings (D.-S.C.), the cantankerous and bitterly partisan senior citizen from South Carolina, who has already announced his plans to retire next year, chose to do just that.
“[T]he majority ought to be ashamed for wasting the Senates time with this political booby trap,” he declared in his often incomprehensible lowland accent.
“The amendment states that Saddam was a threat to our national security. He was not. . . The amendment states that the United States pursued sustained diplomatic, political, and economic efforts to remove the so-called threat peacefully. That is wrong. We said to the United Nations, Get out of the way. Youre irrelevant. We said to the international community, Youre either with us or against us. Before we removed Saddam, we removed Hans Blix. The amendment says we eliminated terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan and Iraq. Just read the morning paper and you will know that is not true. They have plenty of terrorist infrastructure, and they are killing our soldiers every day.”
Hollings has displayed erratic behavior for years, but this vote may be remembered as one of his most puzzling acts. It immediately drew a storm of criticism from Palmetto State Republicans.
None of Hollings fellow Democrats would follow him in this bizarre and futile gesture.
A “yes” vote was a vote to congratulate the Armed Services of the United States for their work in the war on terrorism. A “no” vote was a vote against supporting the troops.
|FOR THE AMENDMENT: 98||AGAINST THE AMENDMENT: 1|
|REPUBLICANS FOR (51):
DEMOCRATS FOR: (46):
INDEPENDENTS FOR (1):
|DEMOCRAT AGAINST (1):
NOT VOTING: 5
|REPUBLICANS (0):||DEMOCRATS (1):|