A bitter debate turns increasingly nasty

Any pretense of civility vanished long ago in the bitter debate over funding of President George W. Bush’s failed Iraq war.

With both sides of the issue firmly entrenched, Capitol Hill insiders see little chance for compromise and progress as the funding bill faces a certain veto from Bush today because it sets a timetable for withdrawal of troops.

Some see it as more than just a difference opinion. It is pure, unbridled hate.

Reports Carolyn Lochhead of The San Francisco Chronicle:

The escalation of the Iraq war is occurring not just in Baghdad but also in Washington, where increasingly shrill rhetoric from the White House and congressional Democrats is aimed at squeezing the moderates in both parties who ultimately will determine if and when U.S. troops come home.

From Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid’s “the war is lost” comment last week to President Bush’s characterizations of any limits on his war authority as “wrong for our troops and wrong for our country,” both sides have steadily hardened their positions.

After narrow Senate approval Thursday of an enormous war spending bill containing withdrawal deadlines, Democrats promised to send the $124.4 billion legislation to the White House for Bush’s assured veto on Tuesday _ the four-year anniversary of the “Mission Accomplished” speech the president delivered aboard an aircraft carrier while wearing a flight suit.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino responded that the bill represents “Mission Defeated.” Republicans said the deadlines were tantamount to surrender.

An unstable combination of personality, principle and political pressure pits a president determined not to relinquish any control over the war against an increasingly aggressive Democratic-led Congress backed by voters who want U.S. troops to leave Iraq.

“I don’t know where it’s taking us,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., a freshman senator who has expressed doubts about Bush’s surge strategy but backed the president in Thursday’s 51-46 Senate vote. “What we don’t need it to become is a battle of egos.”

The operating assumption since the struggle began three months ago is that Bush ultimately will get the money he needs to continue the war for another year. Democrats barely passed the spending bill and have nowhere near the two-thirds majorities in either chamber to override a veto.

But the fight has arrived faster than either side expected, evolving week by week into an institutional power struggle. On one side are Democrats who contend that Congress has a constitutional right and a moral imperative to have a say in the war; on the other is a president who throughout his tenure has jealously guarded and expanded his presidential prerogatives and whose legacy is inextricably bound to Iraq.

“The rhetoric is escalating because, in part, each side wants to see who’s going to jump out of the car first as they approach the edge of the cliff,” said Jack Citrin, a University of California-Berkeley political scientist, “and because, of course, they genuinely hate each other, in my opinion.”


  1. Sandy Price

    America is not just fighting between the right and left sides of the aisle but between right and wrong. Both sides have given up the U.S. Constitution and want instead a return to religious doctrines. Americans forget that our nation was based on individual rights not rights from the bible. Being Republicans was not good enough for most voters and they wanted a new form of a Christian government and it blew the lid off of our Congress, Justice Department and our White House.

    President Bush believes he is representing Jesus Christ and feels a pride of standing up to the Liberals in our government. Until we knock off this ridiculous fight between the right and the left, we will lose all of our Constitutional laws and nobody wins.

  2. Ardie

    Bush’s veto is his choice—his own evil choice. Congress should not take up the bill again. Let Bush suffer the consequences of his wicked actions.

    Bush is essentially putting a gun to our soldier’s head as if to say, “Congress, give me what I want or I will blow this boy’s brains out.” And Congress has essentially said, “Okay Mr. President, you can have what you want as long as you don’t kill him.”

    I say, call his bluff.

  3. jarrodlombardo

    That’s exactly what I’m hoping they’ll do too. If they take up another war spending bill they will have failed the citizens.

  4. Bill Jonke

    Of Stephen King’s novel “The Dead Zone,” where Greg Stillson, a former bible salesman gets up in the ranks to almost run for the presidency. He gives out free hotdogs and kisses babies, and in the end, when a gun is pointed at him, he uses a child as a shield, thereby bringing him to his own political demise.

    Bush is our “Greg Stillson,” though, unfortunately, he made it to the presidency.

    Bush has held up more than 3200 children in front of him as a shield.

    It’s time to strip him of that deadly protection.

    Bill Jonke

  5. Doubtom

    –and go directly to Impeachment. This guy is a crook, a pretender, a liar, a coward and a traitor to the Constitution–what more do we need?

  6. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Absolutely EFF-ING right, go strait to impeachment!
    If the Democrats give in now, give Dubya his bucks with no
    strings attached, they might as well lay down on the rail-road tracks for all the good they do.

  7. Sandy Price

    to pull off an impeachment. It will take the GOP to also see the truth of what is happening to America under Bush 43. There is nothing more we can say or do until an action is taken to show Bush we mean business. I am not a Democrat and therefore cannot pressure them to do what is right. I’m not even a Republican these days but I do vote!

  8. gene

    Is anyone surprised? Bush nor Cheney give a shit what anyone thinks as long as they can pretend to maintain their shaky foothole in Iraq. Yes, we have had our ass kicked and we will leave eventually. Of course this country should have never believed this lieing SOB president who remains nothing but a coward, muderer, and evil to the core.

    Their is NOTHING about this white house that could be consider honest, decent or good. I hope I live to see the day when this moron is totally disgraced and exposed for the murderering coward that he truely is.

  9. Jenifer D.

    Oh yeah, now I remember. To liberate Iraq; Hussein’s regime was toppled. That was the actual mission, well, the dictated one, anyway. Now, what is the IMPLIED MISSION? To put the U.S. in the poor-house! That is the real mission of Admin # 43. Read the writing on the wall, folks. The house and The Senate have a hell of a fight on their hands against a demogogue and its minions who don’t fight fair to begin with.

  10. erika morgan

    I notice a new bruise on George’s face today. His speech is full of the same lies he has been trying to scare us with right along. I see the debate as becoming more desperate. I hope and pray our legislative branch will hold the line and not blink for Bush-co lies like they did before.

    It is often best to take a lie at its word and let the consequences fall as they may, so since Bush tells us insurgents rather then the Iraqis are causing the carnage, it seems time to follow the H. Clinton plan of using our folks to seal off the borders of Iraq. This tactic is the only reason for any American to remain in Iraq past today.

    What I do know is our guys have been in Iraq 5 years, they can’t speak the language, they talk to each other in English, they don’t recognize the ethnic groups and can’t identify insurgents on the street; the Iraqi folks are fighting an occupying force and will go on doing so for 50 years (see: Palestine), 100 years (note: Britain in Afghanistan) and Iraq forever, Harry Reid is right, it is over….

    Hey! Congress it’s high time to take the shovel away, there is a cave-in coming if there is more digging. Actually ironically George was right for a change when he declared MISSION ACCOMPLISHED but it seems he needs Congress to finally make it so. Saddam is gone, Iraq has no WMD to use on us or it’s neighbors, a focus on Al-Qida is long overdue. As a side note; I’d like to see a law that placed our military’s “commander in chief” in uniform on the ground personally and physically leading his army in the tradition of Napoleon or King Henry VIII.