Dems: 120 Days?

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Congress, Democratic Party, Iraq War

This afternoon Dems in the House and the Senate announced an Iraq redeployment plans.

David Stout writes in the New York Times,

House Democratic leaders intensified their debate with President Bush over Iraq today as they announced legislation that would pull American combat troops out of Iraq before the fall of 2008.

“Only then can we refocus our military efforts on Afghanistan to the extent that we must,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. She said the Iraq withdrawal deadline would be attached to legislation providing nearly $100 billion requested by the Bush administration for the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns and money to expand health care for veterans.

Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said the leadership’s proposal “will essentially redirect more of our resources to the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, fighting the right war in the right place against the people who attacked us and who are giving Al Qaeda sanctuary.”

Sounds good to me, although I suspect the GOP will find some way to make the attachment to the veteran health care appropriation seem unethical, somehow. Watch for it.

Stout goes on to say the provision has little hope of passage, since Republicans are united against it.

Indeed, the Republican minority leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, practically invited his Democratic colleagues to bring the measure to the floor.

“Can you defeat this bill?” Mr. Boehner was asked at a Capitol news conference.

“Oh, we can,” he replied.

Fine. Bring it on, Boehner. I would like the provision enacted. But if there’s no hope, It’s good to see the Dems put forth a tangible, workable plan, even if the Republicans knock it down. Then they can go to the American people and say, look, we have a plan, but the Republicans block it.

Stout writes that Dems are split on the provision, because conservative Dems say it goes too far and liberal Dems say it doesn’t go far enough.

Ms. Pelosi refused to concede that the proposal’s chances are dim, even as a questioner noted that as many as 70 House Democrats want the United States out of Iraq by the end of 2007. “We will come together and find our common ground,” she said.

I firmly believe in not allowing perfect to become the enemy of good. At the moment, it seems more important for the Dems to present as much of a united front as possible.

Now for the Senate — this is from a news release

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today joined Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer, Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray, Senator Russ Feingold, and Senator Evan Bayh to announce a new Joint Resolution to revise U.S. policy on Iraq. Iraq has fallen into a bloody civil war, and as conditions on the ground have changed so must U.S. policy change to meet them.

The Reid Joint Resolution builds on the longstanding Democratic position on Iraq and the Levin-Reed Amendment: the current conflict in Iraq requires a political solution, Iraq must take responsibility for its own future, and our troops should not be policing a civil war. It contains binding language to direct the President to transition the mission for U.S. forces in Iraq and begin their phased redeployment within one-hundred twenty days with a goal of redeploying all combat forces by March 31, 2008. A limited number of troops would remain for the purposes of force protection, training and equipping Iraqi troops, and targeted counter-terror options.

Sen. Russ Feingold released this statement:

“Senator Reid has worked hard to rally the caucus in support of binding legislation to reject the President’s failed policies in Iraq and require redeployment of most U.S. troops from Iraq. While the legislation doesn’t go as far as I would like, it is a strong step toward ending our involvement in this misguided war. I will continue to push for Congress to use its power of the purse to end our involvement in this war.”

If Russ can live with it, so can I. Other opinions?

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8 Comments

7 Comments

  1. patrick  •  Mar 8, 2007 @5:38 pm

    From what I heard on the radio it sounded like a decent compromise, but I was too busy being incensed at NPR’s new approach to reporting on democratic proposals: give us a brief staff report and then get a republican on to tell us what’s wrong with it. I’m not making this up. They have a report by Brian Naylor which features “contentious intra-party debate” (because that’s a really important story line when you talk about democrats), and they follow that immediately with a featured interview with Adam Putnam (R) of FL in which Melissa Block lets him tell us how it’s all just a scheme. Then they’re on to something about tourism in new Orleans. Grr. I gotta go outside and play baseball with my kids before I blow a gasket. This “liberal media” is giving me an ulcer!

  2. Bonnie  •  Mar 8, 2007 @7:01 pm

    You just have to stop all those donations to NPR. Write them letters telling them there is no point in contributing because they are no longer fair and balanced.

    I agree with maha and “believe in not allowing perfect to become the enemy of good.”

  3. Doug Hughes  •  Mar 8, 2007 @8:43 pm

    Folks, if the Republicans stand united in blocking moves from Democratic Congress to redeploy the troops – so be it. Come 2008, they have become the party of the Iraq War and they will get their clocks cleaned on election day.

    That’s not what I want; frankly, I would rather the war ended now with Republican support, even though that muddies the water for the uninformed voter in 2008. But if the Republicans want to make the choice for the voter that clear and easy – bring it on.

  4. zeus  •  Mar 9, 2007 @12:56 am

    This is off-topic but I’m incensed and just had to note this somewhere. Just watched “the factor” (my bad). O’Liely covered a story about two 12 year olds having sex in a classroom in Indianapolis. As if the story isn’t bad enough, this ass did his best to make his guest say that the students were poor blacks. When the guest wouldn’t go there, BO made sure that his viewers were left with exactly that impression. God forbid the audience think that little white boys and girls capable of such abhorrent behavior.

    Again, I apologize for commenting off-topic. But this guy has reached a new low (and that’s saying something) and he shouldn’t get away with it.

  5. patrick  •  Mar 9, 2007 @9:36 am

    Hmm. Last night I submitted a comment which I’d hoped would follow the “white flag” pingback, but instead it didn’t appear at all.

    I said something to the effect that it’s nice context for the Democrats’ plan that it came on the same day General Petraeus said, “any student of history recognizes there is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq.” I suppose that makes Petraeus another white-flag-waving, America-hating traitor. Of course, Petraeus is not himself arguing for withdrawal, but then it’s his job to prosecute the very military solution that he’s telling us won’t work.

    The latest non-partisan polling shows that a solid majority of Americans support withdrawal from Iraq as soon as possible; many more want us out but feel we’re obligated to at least protect innocent Iraqis from the mess we created until something more stable can be achieved. On the other hand, the number who are still buying the president’s “victory” rhetoric — without the slightest inkling of what victory might mean in this context — is shrinking fast.

    Congress should take heart from the will of the majority and stop worrying about a few pseudo-patriot bullies who can’t think beyond war. This proposal looks like a step in that direction, and as Doug said, members who oppose it can do so at their peril. Perhaps anyone whose will is flagging can take comfort from the likes of General William Odom

  6. Ian  •  Mar 9, 2007 @10:53 am

    Just spent some time exploring that “rightvoices” sight … read a post where they said the democrats “just don’t get it” because we want, you know, justice for the people there, rather than bush-style “justice” (indefinite illegal detention with torture and the like) …. and in the very next post, talked about their big campaign to “free Jack Idema”, apparently a special forces guy that has been indefinitely detained, illegally, with torture and the like, in Afghanistan.

    How do their heads not explode??

    -me

  7. patrick  •  Mar 9, 2007 @11:52 am

    Ian: if you shriek loud enough, you can drown out the cognitive dissonance. Or if you’ve suffered certain kinds of brain injury, maybe you fail to feel the dissonance in the first place.

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