The House-Senate Conference Committee has just approved the Iraq Accountability Act, which includes the troop readiness standards and benchmarks for the Iraqi government found in the bill that passed the House, as well as a mandatory date to begin redeployment. If the President cannot certify progress by the Iraqi government, redeployment must start by July of this year, with a goal of being completed within 180 days. If the President can certify progress by July, redeployment must begin by October 1 of this year, with a goal of completion within 180 days. Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement on the Conference Committee approval:
Pelosi and Reid Call on President to Support New Direction in Iraq
â€œThe agreement reached between the House and the Senate rejects the Presidentâ€™s failed policies in Iraq and his open-ended commitment to keep American troops there indefinitely and forges a new direction for a responsible end to the war.
â€œIf the President follows through on his veto threat, he will be the one who has failed to provide our troops and our veterans with the resources they need and it will be the President who has rejected the benchmarks he announced in January to measure success in Iraq. The bill ensures our troops are combat-ready before they are deployed to Iraq, provides our troops the resources and health care they deserve in Iraq and here at home, and responsibly winds down this war.
â€œIraqis must take the tough and necessary steps to secure their nation and to forge political reconciliation. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates understands the value of timelines in motivating the Iraqi Government to accomplish these goals. The President should carefully consider the views of his Secretary of Defense in making a judgment on this legislation.
â€œAn overwhelming majority of Americans, bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress, military experts and the Iraq Study Group believe that a responsible end to the war best advances our national security needs. It is now up to the President to make a decision: continue to stay his failed course or join us to give our troops a strategy for success.â€
Mandatory redeployment, children. Now let’s hope it passes quickly.
Defying a fresh veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Congress will pass legislation within days requiring the start of a troop withdrawal from Iraq by Oct. 1, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday.
The legislation also sets a goal of a complete pullout by April 1, 2008, he said.
In remarks prepared for delivery, Reid said that under the legislation the troops that remain after next April 1 could only train Iraqi security units, protect U.S forces and conduct “targeted counter-terror operations.”
Bush reaffirms rejecting timetable
Reid spoke a few hours after Bush said he will reject any legislation along the lines of what Democrats will pass. “I will strongly reject an artificial timetable (for) withdrawal and/or Washington politicians trying to tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job,” the president said.
Bush made his comments to reporters in the Oval Office as he met with senior military leaders, including his top general in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus.
Taken together, Reid’s speech and Bush’s comments inaugurated a week of extraordinary confrontation between the president and the new Democratic-controlled Congress over a war that has taken the lives of more than 3,200 U.S. troops.
Nine U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq today by a single suicide bomber.
Reid isn’t backing down. He said today that Bush is “in denial.”
“No more will Congress turn a blind eye to the Bush administration’s incompetence and dishonesty,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record) said in a speech in which he accused the president of living in a state of denial about events in Iraq more than four years after the U.S.-led invasion. …
… In his remarks, Reid criticized Bush and called Vice President Dick Cheney the president’s “chief attack dog,” lacking in credibility.
He likened the president to Lyndon Johnson, saying the former president ordered troop escalations in Vietnam in an attempt “to save his political legacy,” only to watch U.S. casualties climb steadily.
Bush, he said, “is the only person who fails to face this war’s reality â€” and that failure is devastating not just for Iraq’s future, but for ours.”
The Right is throwing everything they have at him, including David Broder of the Washington Post. Think Project explains,
Speaking on XM radio, Broder said that Reid should â€œlearn to engage mind before mouth opens,â€ and suggested that Reidâ€™s Senate allies â€œhave a little caucus and decide how much further they want to carry Harry Reidâ€ and his â€œbumbling performance.â€
Asked if Harry Reid is â€œan embarrassment,â€ Broder said, â€œI think so,â€ since â€œevery six weeks or so thereâ€™s another episode where he has to apologize for the way in which he has bungled the Democratic case.â€
Well, somebody’s a public embarrassment, but I don’t think it’s Harry Reid.