Iraq Bill Out of Conference


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

    “The agreement reached between the House and the Senate rejects the President’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.

    “If 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.

    “Iraqis 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.

    “An 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.”

Mandatory redeployment, children. Now let’s hope it passes quickly.

The Associated Press reported earlier today,

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 — 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,

David Broder, the sagely insightful “dean” of the Washington press corps, attacked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) today over his claim that the war in Iraq is lost.

Speaking on XM radio, Broder said that Reid should “learn to engage mind before mouth opens,” and suggested that Reid’s Senate allies “have a little caucus and decide how much further they want to carry Harry Reid” and his “bumbling performance.”

Asked if Harry Reid is “an embarrassment,” Broder said, “I think so,” since “every six weeks or so there’s another episode where he has to apologize for the way in which he has bungled the Democratic case.”

Well, somebody’s a public embarrassment, but I don’t think it’s Harry Reid.

Greg Sargent writes that, some reports to the contrary, Harry Reid has not backed off from or apologized for his “war is lost” comment from last week. See also Atrios.

8 thoughts on “Iraq Bill Out of Conference

  1. Hey, watch out for the slander of a lovely and tasty vegetable, and all other members of the thistle family! I love artichokes.

    I’m very impressed. I’d expected the conference committee to drop mandatory redeployment. Of course we’re talking about October, since he’ll ‘certify’ progress in July even if the Iraqi ‘government’ has gone into exile in Paris by then.

    This makes it pretty clear just which side is really interested in bringing the troops home.

  2. Two questions:

    When did Broder turn from a cabbage into an asparagus? 🙂
    Junior insists that US troops will remain in Iraq as long as he is in the White House, so that his successor will have to clean up his mess. How is that not an “artificial timetable”?

  3. Wow, George W. Bush found his natural niche. Act 2 of the Iraq War saga…. he’ll play ‘Mr. Clueless’. He just proved to the world his unique ability to play the ‘clueless’ character in today’s Gonzales scene.

  4. I think Broder should visit his doctor. One day he says one thing, the next the opposite. Like he can’t remember what he does from one day to the next. If it isn’t an illness, which I would wish no illness on any one, then he has become an awful columnist.

  5. Reid is stepping up? By giving Bush another year to “wrap it up”?
    If my wife was being gang-raped and I told the rapists they had exactly one year to stop, would that be a good thing?
    I have nothing else to say……….

  6. No More etc.: David Brooks is a cabbage. David Broder is an artichoke.

    This has been another episode of “know your vegetables.”

  7. David Brooks is a cabbage. David Broder is an artichoke.

    And George Bush is a petulant muttonhead! History won’t be kind to Georgie with his legacy of deceit, defeat, and failure.

    OT..I was watching TV the other night and was reminded of Maha’s post about humor…when the sports segment came on I recalled a joke of Rodney Dangerfield’s…” I went to the fights the other night —and a hockey game broke out”

  8. Have I told you lately that I love you–your work? Thanks so much. Great post–and very encouraging. Your enthusiasm is infectious, even after a long, long, long day.

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