Democrats rethink Iraq funding strategy

By ANNE FLAHERTY

House Democratic leaders are developing an anti-war proposal that wouldn’t cut off money for U.S. troops in Iraq while requiring President Bush to acknowledge problems with an overburdened military.

The plan could draw broad bipartisan support but was expected to be a tough sell to members who said they don’t think it goes far enough to assuage voters angered by the four-year war.

Bush “hasn’t to date done anything we’ve asked him to do, so why we would think he would do anything in the future is beyond me,” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., one of a group of liberal Democrats pushing for an immediate end to the war.

Democratic protests to the war grew louder in January after they took control of Congress and Bush announced that he planned to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq. Earlier this month, House Democrats pushed through a nonbinding resolution opposing the troop buildup.

Since then, Democrats have been trying to decide what to do next. Some worried that a plan by Rep. John Murtha to restrict funding for the war would go too far. Murtha, D-Pa., is extending his support to the revised proposal.

The tactic is more likely to embarrass Bush politically than force his hand on the war. He would have to sign repeated waivers for units and report to Congress those units with equipment shortfalls and other problems.

In the Senate, a group of senior Democrats want to repeal the 2002 measure authorizing the war and write a new resolution restricting the mission and ordering troop withdrawals to begin by this summer. But Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Iraq will have to wait until the Senate finishes work to improve homeland security.

“That would mean we would hold off the Iraq legislation for a matter of days, not weeks,” he said.

The House Democrats’ plan brought a sharp response from Brian Kennedy, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

“If this is the Democrats’ last ditch effort to appease the ultraliberal wing of their party while appearing to support the troops at the same time, I don’t think they are going to convince either one of any commitment whatsoever,” Kennedy said. “This appears to be political posturing at its worst and yet another attempt to undermine the mission of our troops in harm’s way. The American people are going to see right through it.”

As Democrats met behind closed doors to discuss their options Tuesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Bush administration would talk to leaders from Iran and Syria on stabilizing Iraq.

Rice announced U.S. support for the Iraq meeting, to be held in Baghdad next month, at a Senate hearing in which Democrats pressed her and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to explain what progress is being made in the Baghdad security crackdown and how soon U.S. troops will be coming home.

The decision to engage Iran and Syria on the war in Iraq is a major departure for U.S. policy. The bipartisan Iraq Study Group in December recommended U.S. dialogue with Iran and Syria, but until now the administration has resisted that course.

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, Republican co-chairman of the panel, welcomed the shift in a speech Tuesday night. But he went further, urging the administration to include Syria in Mideast peacemaking with Israel and the Palestinians.

Dennis Ross, a former U.S. Middle East negotiator, noted that Rice and other officials had taken pains to stress that the talks were an Iraqi initiative, which he said the administration might be using as cover to downplay suggestions of a major policy shift.

“This is a way for the administration to have discussions under a different umbrella but in a way in which they can say that they are not changing course,” he said.

The administration said its decision to take part in the Iraq conference did not represent a change of heart, although the White House has accused both Iran and Syria of deadly meddling in the war.

“We’ve always been inclined to participate in an Iraqi-led conference,” White House counselor Dan Bartlett said.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press

10 Responses to "Democrats rethink Iraq funding strategy"

  1. SEAL  March 1, 2007 at 6:51 am

    I think all of the ranting about the democrats not doing what so many people expected them to do is unrealistic disappointment. In the first place, only about 20% of the voters who voted for democrats actually voted FOR democrats. The rest voted against the republicans. They all hoped the democrats would do something right. But the primary mission was to stop the republicans. That has been accomplished.

    However, the 20%, the militant so-called liberals, voted to stop Bush and his war and his establihment of imperialism by destroying the US Constitution. They are the ones who realize/understand what the neoconartists have done. Their motivation is fear. But their expectations are unrealistic. Fantasy.

    Unlike the republicans, the democratic party never has been regimented. They have always been fragmented groups and divergent in their ideas, plans, and goals. Even if they had a overwhelming majority in both houses they would still be arguing endlessly about what to do and how to go about it. The reason the republicans were able to do so much damage when they had clear majority was because they were standing shoulder to shoulder regardless of personal opinions. They obeyed the leaders. Democrats will never do that.

    In the first place, the democrats are not in a position to be able to stop Bushco completely. They don’t have the needed votes in the senate. The only way Bushco could be stopped is if they stomp squarely on their dicks and stop themselves. They would have to commit some act that would be so dastardly injurious to the nation or events would have to occur within the course they are on that would show them to be the collossal failure that they are that a sufficient portion of those republican senators would have no choice but to turn against them. I think there is about a 30-40% chance of that happening. If it doesn’t, the best the democrats can do is to continue to embarass and harass and gain as much publicity as possible to minimize the damage until the next election. They will become more effective as time goes on. Bush will continue to slide. His failures will become more obvious to those who don’t pay attention the way we do. The exposure has already begun. Some, perhaps enough, of those repugnants will jump ship in another year as a matter of self presevation in 2008. Of course, that will be too little-too late but it will be something better than nothing. Barring Bush doing something crazy (which is the fear), he should be the lamest of ducks in his final year.

    My point is that no one should be ranting about how disappointed they are in the democrats because the expectation that they would be able to shut this gang of criminals down and/or remove them is totally unrealistic.

  2. Carl Nemo  February 28, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Last evening a sickening feeling washed over me as I realized the Dems now unequivocally “republicrats” are going to be a huge disappointment for the voters that gave them control of Congress. They are back-pedaling; i.e., waffling on any committment they might have had to end this war. While our servicepeople are spilling their blood needlessly in Iraq and Afghanistan these pink, ineffectual “weanies” are trying to take the safe, politically expedient path as usual. My suspicion is the shadowy controllers have given Reid, Pelosi, et. al. their marching orders. I wasn’t too thrilled that these two characters ended up as the so-called Congressional “leaders”, an oxymoronic term in their case. My only recommendation at this point is for non-partisan citizen/patriots to begin chanting a self-affirmation mantra…”I will never vote for a republican or a democrat again in my lifetime”! The Dems and the Repubs are joined at the hips. Their only interest is maintaining their incumbency. All our Congressional reps are partisan hacks who care nothing for this once great nation. They are scheming on how to ripoff “we the people” 24/7/365…! It’s time to vote for a “Green Party” candidate or anyone that has no past or present affiliation with these elected “disappointments”! If Americans don’t embrace a viable third party candidate soon, then we are headed for the ashbin of history. The Dems and the Repubs are the businessman’s party; “we the people” are partyless, without viable representation at this point in U.S. history.

  3. skyguy  February 28, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Yada, yada, yada.

    Did ANYONE really expect the Dem’s to clean House? The only reason they’re in power right now is because another election series was cooked in order to give the Republicans some breathing room after their 6 year run of horrors. It was well established before the mid-terms that the Dems didn’t have a clue about how to solve much of anything. So, what’s with the surprise on the peons part? Did ANYONE actually expect Nancy Pe-lousy and her vile crew to pull a rabbit our of their collective butts and make everything all shiny and new again?

    The WHOLE, ENTIRE political structure in this country is fixed, rigged, fried, whatever you want to call it. Special interests and certain power brokers rule this country – not the two Party system this nation was founded on.

    Why, oh why, oh why does it take a smack across the face before this country realizes that the ballgame is just about over. Forget the Dems and the Republicans in Washington; they’re ALL lost causes. The ONLY thing left for AMERICANS to do is to PROTEST LOCALLY! Failing that, you can bet your sweet arse that it truly will be over and in a few short years, we won’t even recognize this country.

    GET BUSY, FOLKS. Or shut up and sit down and let the real AMERICANS reclaim this nation.

  4. Kaine  February 28, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    The Bush administration is going to talk to Syria and Iran in Iraqs meeting?!?? I am about to faint! I just can’t believe that they are going to talk. Oh, I know. This must mean that we will be attacking Iran before such a meeting can materialize! Because, I just can’t believe Bush would talk to Iran or Syria!

    At this point, I am ashamed of the democrats. I expected more from them by this point in time. Oh well. I have been told many time that there is very little difference between dem and repubs. I guess they were right.

  5. Ardie  February 28, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    When you are dealing with a tyrant like Bush, you slap him down hard. I would not give Bush the $93.4 billion as requested for next year. This would be the last money he gets and if he cares about the troops he will be forced to bring them home. Make it clear to the American people that you don’t get a drug addict like the Bush Administration off the opium of war without going cold turkey. All future money for the war in Iraq will be for evacuation of U.S. forces from Iraq.

  6. JimZ  February 28, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Congress: bok bok bok bok bok (sounding like a chicken – how DO you spell that?)

    I agree with what you’re saying Carl. I’ve been predicting this, too. They will run in 2008 on “ending the war” and just pull stunts to embarass Bu$hCo. on the way. Nothing of substance; nothing of the will of the voters (well, most of ‘em). All about just getting control of the Executive Branch for themselves.

    The good news is there are a few good rebels within both major parties, Kucinich, Paul, Edwards, the anti-Iraq war caucus members, etc. The chances of them getting elected are slim, but with public support, they might have a chance. They don’t look slick on TV, but perhaps the American voter has been too taken by that for long enough. Get some dorks and nerds in there. SLICK AND REDNECK IS OUT!

    Otherwise, it’s the old third party vote again in 2008 for some of us.

    Nobody should get too excited about the announced talks with Iran & Syria. Most likely, it is a pony show to make it look like we talked to them. We’ll probably create unrealistic terms for progress on purpose, so the talks will produce nothing, enabling Bu$hCo. to attack Iran or Syria (or both) after the breakdown.

  7. mojibyrd  February 28, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Why the hell are the citizens accepting this wishy/washy attitude amongst their elected officials…just because your elected to office allows you to no longer do as the people who elected/hired you to do…what is wrong with this picture!!! It is time to bring politics back in line and for the people of the country not the globalist elite!!!!!!!! When are people going to wake up, when they are unemployed in the soup line or in a concentration camp awaiting their rfid chip implant?

  8. Mary Jane  February 28, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Congress has no backbone. They are as bad as Bush.

  9. Klaus Blix  March 1, 2007 at 12:09 am

    CHB Poster Carl Nemo’s term, ‘Republikrats’, is right on the mark. The ‘Spinelesscrats’

    (my pet term for the Democratic party) are the Incumbency Masters of the Universe just like the Elephants are.

    The Jack-Ass party didn’t get in by mandate by the public. Jack-Asses got in because things are so screwed up now that the American public made a Hail Mary pass, but the Democrats think they have a mandate. And to answer Skyguy’s very well taken point, no, I didn’t expect the ‘Republikrats’ to go at it aggressively once it got sworn in for the new Congress. I have held this opinion since the first big demonstrations in the streets of America happened in the opening volley years of the war. It was do-nothing-Democrats then, and do-nothing-Democrats now. I am again going to trim down (if not eliminate altogether) the amount of Democrats I will vote for or contribute funds to -and the list is getting next to empty.

  10. Rice Farmer  March 1, 2007 at 1:27 am

    Of course the Dems aren’t going to stop the war! They are just the “liberal” branch of the American War Party. The Dems have granted their wholehearted support to Bush’s imperial program for these past six years, so why would they stop now?

    Onward Christian soldiers!

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