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Dems walk tightrope on Iraq

By
April 17, 2007

Congressional Democrats say there is no doubt Iraq war.

But the new majority must decide how far to go in trying to tie Bush’s hands and what will happen after the president’s inevitable veto.

The debate is likely to expose fissures among Democrats, who remain divided on whether to cut off money for the unpopular war and risk leaving troops in the lurch.

“My feeling is at a certain point we’re going to have a ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment in the caucus and talk about whether you fund (the war) or not,” said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.

McDermott is one of 218 House members, mostly Democrats, who voted March 23 for legislation that would order combat troops out of Iraq by September 2008.

Like some of his anti-war colleagues, McDermott was initially reluctant to endorse the bill because it included $96 billion for the military, much of which would keep the war afloat for another six months.

The narrow 218-212 vote came only after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., launched an aggressive whip operation to convince party liberals the bill was their best shot at ending the war. Most Democrats do not support yanking funding for the war.

On March 29, the Senate voted 51-47 for a similar, but less sweeping measure. That bill would require that Bush begin pulling out an unspecified number of troops right away with the goal of ending combat by March 31, 2008.

As early as Tuesday, House and Senate appropriators were expected to begin negotiating a final bill. In doing so, congressional leaders will be seeking a compromise that won’t turn off more liberal Democrats like McDermott and retain the backing of the party’s more conservative members like Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who is against imposing a firm deadline on military commanders.

The compromise bill will require a final vote in both the House and Senate before reaching the president’s desk. Most members regard such a vote as merely procedural so Democratic leaders are not anticipating serious opposition to the conference agreement no matter the outcome.

Nevertheless, the conference negotiation and Democrats’ response to Bush’s veto is expected to tip off a fresh round of debate on how far Congress should go to end the war.

“Listen, I understand Republicans and Democrats in Washington have differences over the best course in Iraq,” Bush said Monday. “That’s healthy. That’s normal, and we should debate those differences. But our troops should not be caught in the middle.”

Administration officials and congressional Republicans say the fate of the U.S. military in Iraq should be in the hands of the president and his military commanders.

Democrats shouldn’t “make political points by delaying the essential supplies, materiel and training our forces in the field,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, added: “Each day that passes without a clean troop funding bill puts our soldiers in greater danger and weakens their ability to fight al-Qaida.”

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., told reporters Monday that should Bush veto the bill as expected, Democrats would likely opt to replace the withdrawal language with a “softer version” that ties U.S. aid to political progress made by the Iraqi government.

“It’s the second-best approach in terms of how to force the Iraqi government to reach a political settlement,” he said. “Everyone is saying there is no military solution, yet the president’s path is a deepening military presence.”

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters Monday he was open to the idea.

“The president is not going to get a bill that has nothing on it,” Reid said.

Reid also repeated assertions that Congress was committed to funding the troops, despite the leader’s support for separate legislation that would cut off money for combat missions after March 2008.

Reid said his promise to fund the troops is not at odds with the proposal because the measure would fund troops to stay in Iraq so long as they were engaged in non-combat missions. Those include counterterrorism and training of Iraq security forces.

–ANNE FLAHERTY

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press

7 Responses to Dems walk tightrope on Iraq

  1. gene

    April 17, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    It doesn’t matter how much (money) they throw at this so called war in Iraq, its simply NOT winable for many good and very valid reasons. Pull the troops out now or work something out because we will eventually leave and will have wasted lives and again…money we certainly don’t have.

    This country produces basically little it can export. We import almost everything we use now and how do we pay for it….simple, just keep PRINTIG those dollar bills. We are so in debt as a nation and as individuals that their is no way this country can avoid a major crisis of, you might say “biblical” proportions.

  2. Carl Nemo

    May 23, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    Huh…?! They need to “walk the plank”…!:)) As I’ve surmised they are going to roll over like puppies and let the Bushistas scratch their collective tummies. They’l withdraw the specified deadline to leave, then enjoy their “pulled pork sandwiches” at the Treasury Deli courtesy of Bush’s signature. America will be in the same fix with these elected disappointments at the helm; i.e., no plan to shut this ongoing Iraqi debacle all started on cooked intelligence courtesy of the Wolfowitz, Feith, Cheney rogue intelligence operation. Plain and simple they are all on the same “shadow team” working for the same shadowy controllers. Fie on them all! America is in harms way with these mattoids in control. While we are being distracted with this faux combative nonsense the Senate is getting ready to pass another freedom robbing “intelligence bill”. It means a tighter leash on Americans while Akbar the terrorist skates as usual. Real criminals and terrorists don’t play by legislated laws and rules. As it’s said, they just “do it”…! http://www.conservativeusa.org/megalink.htm

    A list of upcoming Senate and House Bills

    Upcoming Congressional Bills –
    Senate: Intelligence Authorization Act, FY2007
    Senate: Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007
    House: RECOVER Act
    House: Water Resources Development Act of 2007
    House: Sowing the Seeds Through Science and Engineering Research Act

  3. Will Write

    April 17, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    Tightrope? How does the Administration again turn the tables on Congress to shift the blame for losing in Iraq? This war-mongering criminal that poses as one who gives a damn about, much less has the capability of defending the Constitution can’t be taken seriously. The Congress needs to rescind it’s authorization for deployment of troops and command the President to bring them home — pronto.
    We’re talking like by June 1, 2007. This could be done for like oh, say, $50 Million. Just the troops. Leave the overpriced junk Humvees and crap that Halliburton and their ilk has already ripped us off for, and just fly the troops home commercial and that’s that! Contractors can do what they want with their staff. If the Iraqis want to pay for them, go for it. Enough is enough. Once the troops are home, impeach the evil bastard(s) and we can all move on.

  4. Carl Nemo

    April 18, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Well said Will Write and probably the best “keep it simple” solution concerning this debacle. Leaving all the over-priced junk behind will allow the Iraqi’s to become wealthy scrap dealers…:)) Iraq isn’t worth one more “plugged nickel” as far as I and many others are concerned. Even the Iraqi leadership is in on the shake-down of the American taxpayer. The money leaves the U.S. and boomerangs back into the business accounts of Halliburton, Bechtel, KBR, Blackwater and a host of other camp-following free-booters. The Iraqi’s get to skim their piece of the action by continuing to act like the three stooges when it comes to protecting their new found freedom and homeland. We pay their wages too…?! Based on how they’ve conducted themselves concerning our saving intervention, they all deserved Saddam Hussein. They are all just a bunch of raghead, gypo carpet dealers or worse. Screw their oil, I’d rather walk or ride a bike…!

  5. SEAL

    April 18, 2007 at 4:11 am

    I can’t understand why they continue to buy into this stupid idea that cutting off the funds would “leave the troops in a lurch” or harm the troops in any way. If you cut off the funds for the so called war the troops will have to leave. That sure as hell wouldn’t be a “lurch.”

    Doesn’t anyone in congress get it? Are they all that damn stupid? Don’t they realize that when Bush says crap like that he is only saying that if you cut off the money I will not withdraw, I will leave the troops out there with no money for bullets or food or anything else. Why don’t the dems point out how insane this “commander in chief” is that he would do that? And how he would be disobeying the people of this nation?

    They are the dumbest damn people in America or they have been bought by the corporate/MIC/banking/etc. “real” government. Which is it? I am fed up with them insulting my intelligence. Every week I talk to some of the Guys I have known for years that are in Iraq now and they all know the stupidity of what they are being forced to do there. They know it isn’t a war. They call it a cluster fuck because that is exactly what it is. If you have been in the service you know what that means. It’s a lot worse than a FUBAR.

    Four years and they can’t get a decent flak vest or armored vehicle. They can’t tell the good guys from the bad. They have TV and computers. They see what is and isn’t on the news. They know how the truth is being hidden. They know the lies being fed back home. They want the hell out of there.

  6. Carl Nemo

    April 18, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Great commentary as usual SEAL…! I’ve been meaning to compliment you for some time now concerning your on-the-mark posts.

    These elected disappointments aren’t stupid, in fact they are all cunning predators! They know if they shut down the war they aren’t going to be leaving the guys without guns, ammo, them standing in their skivvies. I’m sure they all have stock portfolios quite plump with defense and oil stocks. They have a vested interest in keeping this money-making scam going; i.e., money-making for them, treasury draining for us. They are a bunch of cunning, scheming, tax-payer rip-off artists. All they want is their pork sandwiches courtesy of the Treasury Deli and they are in the same camp as Bushco. This faux partisan stand-off is just for public consumption. I believe they will back off on the time table for our exit, Bush will sign the bill and they’l all go home grinnin’ and burpin’ with a toothpick in their collective mouths.

    The electorate best start a political diary and remember these clowns when they come back to Mayberry to pitch their lying screed hoping to go back their D.C. “feed-trough”. America is in harms way with these mattoids in control of this once great nation. Based on our public debt of 8.7 trillion dollars, with almost three trillion (three thousand billion dollars each billion one thousand million dollars) run up while Bushco’s been at the helm alone, I figure we are truly finished. The dollar is tanking against all currencies both major and minor and the U.S. stock market is the worst performing of all nations. We indeed have become a “banana republic” with Bush as our new Generalissimo leader! It’s truly the “twilights last gleaming”…! Carl Nemo **==

  7. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    April 18, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    The SpinelessCrats as I like to call them are again reverting back to their spineless Jellyfish mode. I had a faint glimmer of hope that they wouldn’t, but alas, it was but a daydream.

    For days now Democratic senator Carl Levin has been a more accurate indicator of the flop the Dems are about to pull with his comments about in the end the Dems will acquiesce, give the little Fuhrer his money with no mandatory withdrawl date for getting the troops out of Iraq.

    The Republikans for days have been ragging on the
    Democrats for being cut & run bunnies, and the Dems have just been vaguely defining their intentions but with no clear indication of whether they’ll turn Dubya down outright.

    The Dems should have been saying they have no intention of meeting with Dubya with Dubya being quite clear that he’s just going to tell the Dems it’s his way or the highway.