Democrats back down, give Bush victory

Soldiers in Iraq (Reuters)President George W. Bush won a battle over nearly $100 billion to fund the Iraq war as congressional Democrats on Tuesday abandoned troop withdrawal efforts for now but pledged to try again in July.

Instead of setting schedules for withdrawing U.S. troops, it appeared the Democratic-run Congress and the Republican White House agreed for the first time to include conditions prodding Baghdad to make better progress toward quelling violence or risk losing some U.S. reconstruction aid.

"We've been led to believe that that is the language that is likely to be in the final version," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters.

That provision passed the Senate last week, with a few Democrats supporting it. At the time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said of the language crafted by Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner: "If you look in the dictionary under 'weak' the Warner amendment would be listed under it."

White House spokesman Tony Snow said the measure would provide "the funding and flexibility the forces need. That's what we've wanted all along."

On May 1, Bush vetoed Congress' first version of this year's emergency war funds bill because it set an October 1 deadline for starting to pull most of the 147,000 soldiers out of Iraq, a goal of anti-war Democrats.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said lawmakers were putting the finishing touches on a new bill, and acknowledged the political realities.

"The president has made it very clear he's not going to sign timelines (for withdrawing troops). We can't pass timelines over his veto," he told reporters.


That will be a disappointment for some Democrats who say they won control of Congress last November largely because voters wanted to see an end to the 4-year-old war in Iraq. But it was welcome news for Republican leaders who have argued Congress should not be "micro-managing" the war.

"Democrats have finally conceded defeat in their effort to include mandatory surrender dates in a funding bill for the troops," said House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio.

Some Democrats have predicted for months that it would take longer to force troop withdrawals. They argue that even with a weaker bill, they have ended four years of "rubber stamp" war funding bills of the previous Republican-run Congress.

Hoyer and Reid said Democrats would continue pushing for a "change in direction" in Iraq, where at least 3,420 U.S. soldiers have been killed and more than 34,000 wounded.

"Certainly we'll do it in July when Mr. Murtha's bill is on the floor," Hoyer said.

In the meantime, Democrats are fully funding Bush's war financing request.

Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha has led efforts in the House of Representatives to end U.S. combat in the Iraq war. In July, Murtha will shepherd a military funding bill through the House for the next fiscal year, starting October 1.

Bush and most Republicans have argued that setting dates for withdrawing U.S. troops would rob military commanders of the flexibility they need to conduct the war.

Despite those charges, even some congressional Republicans, Boehner among them, have spoken of autumn as the timeframe for reassessing progress in Iraq and possibly producing "Plan B."

Under the Democrats' latest strategy, the war funding bill will pay for combat in Iraq and Afghanistan through September. Aides said there would be benchmarks for measuring Iraq's progress toward stability and setting up a competent army.

There would also be consequences for Iraq not meeting the benchmarks, the aides said — likely to be limits on about $1.6 billion in reconstruction aid, as in Warner's proposal.


  1. Wayne K Dolik

    Now I’m going to say a few things to sober us all up. Mr. Gore Vidal says we live in a two party duopoly of “property interests”. After I left the Republican Party last July 2006 I joined the Democrat Party in protest. I even worked for a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives. I headed the finance committee for my candidate. They lost in their bid.

    Being a former conservative (the old fashion type) and a civil libertarian, I began to see some flaws in the Democratic Party as well. As a result of this the Democratic Party lost about 15 close races in 2006 because the established democratic machine did not fund progressive candidates properly. Had, many of these races been fairly funded we would not be in the mess that we are in today. Those, in power blinked today. Just, like they blinked with the progressive democrats that ran.

    This leads me to the next conclusion. We need to fix our two party systems. Let’s get the liars out of both parties.

    Let all of us be willing to take this Country back one-brick-at-a-time!

  2. Jerry

    The consolation prize (booby prize) is simply that the war remains “Bush’s Folly” and the Repubs don’t get to blame the Dems for defeat, which obviously they would love to do.

  3. SEAL

    Did anyone really expect the democrats to do what was right. I think not. Everything stated above is true – the illusion of a two party system carefully correographed in lock step to continue the Iraq war profits for the corporate fascist government of the United States.

    This will now be followed by Bush declassifying one of his fictional pieces of al Qaeda intelligence to prove how justified continuing the Iraq war is. It will describe how bin Laden’s plans are using Iraq as the staging ground for attacks upon the United States. Therefore, it is imperative that we contain their operations to Iraq – “we fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here.” This is the routine he has used every single time the public polls increase aqainst his war.

    This bit of intelligence he is now releasing must have been concocted by some hollywood screen writer. From what I have been able to read so far it describes bin Laden sending one of his top operatives in 2005 sneaking through the night time desert bush into Iraq to hide in dark hovels and conspire with the head al Qaeda guy there to jointly plan some sort of terroist attacks on the US and other countries. Apparently, their cell phones and computers aren’t working and all the couriers are on holiday. Its been two years now and they’re still devising the plan? Must really be complicated.

    I spent the major portion of my life involved in many capacities combating terroist threats to my country. I have seen at least a thousand different intelligence reports. Anything that would be considered credible enough to look into would not include the nonsense above. Why send someone to Iraq to plan an attack on the US? Why risk capture sneaking around in the desert? Plans are made in the living room of a house where it’s guarded and safe. The whole point is secrecy, look normal, not drawing attention, no risk. Outside communication is throw away cell phones, coded E-mail, couriers. Never risk the top guys. Face to face is the last act.

    Another thing that totally destroys any credibility about a bin Laden plan is the absense of any proof that bin Laden is alive. There has been no verification of it or even a claim to investigate for a long time. For a couple of years, now, we have been left with the impression that he is holed up in a border cave with his dialysis machine and a AK-47 from which he directs the most sophisticated world wide terrorist operation in history. He must have an enormous flock of pigeons.

    Who dreams up this crap? Who could possibly believe any of it? Who would have the balls to expect anyone to believe it? What the hell has happened to the American people? What is it going to take for them to stand up and just say bullshit!, throw all these charlatans out of office, and vote to take the damn country back? Maybe if we hijacked the beer supply “lets get ready to rumble” would stampede that absent 50% of eligibles to a ring of voting booths – with paper ballots. Something has to be done.

  4. Carl Nemo

    Superb commentary SEAL! Unequivocally OBL is dead! Bush/Cheney and their Orwellian pack of “running dogs” are perpetuating the mythos of OBL to justify their continual shakedown of the U.S. taxpayer. People need to read, re-read Orwell’s 1984 or if they aren’t readers to simply rent the movie. Of course you’ll see “Big Brother” featured; i.e., a generic, anyman’s face, a collage of Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Adolph Hitler, George Bush, Dick Cheney and a host of these atavistic demagogues that have controlled people for all time and all places. They go boo and the people are supposed to quiver, and crap in their collective shorts…!:)) It’s my hope-beyond-all hope that the world has somewhat matured beyond the influence of these childish ploys that these stereotypical, evil pols try to pull-off on the masses. Folks I can assure you OBL is dead! Then again maybe he’s not…Boo…! :))

    The only function he serves at this point is the duty “bogeyman” to justify the shakedown of the American taxpayer til the 12th of never. Wake up AmeriKa…wake up world…! The war on terror is an endless Orwellian War to turn planet earth into a taxpayer-based goldmine for the M.I. Complex.

    Nemo **==

    p.s. In answer to your question who dreams up this crap? The CIA/NSA/DIA has a staff of “International Social Psychodrama” script-writers who keep “heat-to-feet” of the people’s of the world for the benefit of the shadowy money-guys who shake us down endlessly. I’m not joking either.

  5. Paolo

    Let’s see if I understand this. The Democrats in Congress are going up against a president whose popularity in the polls hovers around 30 percent. They have a chance to de-fund a war that is opposed by about 78 percent of the people. They were elected on an anti-war tide, and people expect them to do something to end the war.

    So what do they do? They cave!

    What am I missing here?

  6. Carl Nemo

    Paolo there are no Democrats. They’ve been phased out and absorbed into the greater body politic in D.C. and are simply “republicrats”. Both parties march to the drumbeat of the same shadowy, super-wealthy, oligarchs that control this nation and the world. It’s simple as that.

    I’m sure both sides of the aisle have their portfolios plumped with oil, oil sector, and defense stocks to the max. If they end this war prematurely, the value of their collective portfolios will dry up like “slugs in the noonday sun”.

    There is no two-party system in this country, but simply one, and we’ve now witnessed that predicated on your aforementioned Democratic strengths vs. Bush Republican weaknesses and they still managed to fold in the final analysis. They’re buds and are all “team players” to use the modern, nauseating, corporatist jargon for compromised individuals.

    Nemo **==

  7. Carl Nemo

    start making your shortlist of all the Blue-Dog democratic fence-sitters, and Yellow-Dog democratic traitors to “we the people” and kick them out of office in November 2008 at least those that are coming up for re-election. “We the People” sent them there,but they evidently know how to spend our money and support dead-end enterprises until the 12th of never without concern for the 72 percent that want this nation out of Iraq asap. None of the dems or republicans deserve more than a single term in office and those that have been there for decades need to get the boot too. It’s time for a massive change in our representative based government.

    So they just authorized the spending of 2.9 trillion bucks worth of more annual budget “debt-money” along with this additional off-budget, wasted expenditure of another 96,000 million bucks to tide the Iraqi debacle over until September along with billions for un-authorized pork, other than they stuck us with that too in the end with nothing for the people concerning their demands. I guess we best get used to knowing who our betters are…no?!

    So with three quarters of a trillion dollar trade deficits, a profligate, out of control, spendthrift Congress who knows how to waste a goodly portion of the 3 trillion dollar annual budget and to wage endless, financially nation destroying wars, you’ll know why your dollar is heading into the abyss against all world currencies and the price of gold, uranium, oil, copper and every other utilitarian commodity has become a “moonshot” pricewise.

    Some links are provided so you can contact them and say your less than tearful goodbyes to them early… :))

    Nemo **==

  8. incog99

    Unbelievable. If it comes down to Hillary vs. Paul I will cross over and vote for Paul, the only honest candidate. Hillary goes to Youtube asking for input for her campaign song then censors all the comments. Do you want her to be your President? Dems appear just as bad as Reps these days.

    A third party may be the answer. We can leave the crazies on both sides in the legacy parties.

  9. Bill Jonke

    The Democrats we voted into office are nothing but blithering wimps. Naive too!

    And the California Turnip Award goes to Nancy Pelosi after all!

    I just may rethink my strategy during the next elections, or maybe not vote at all.

    After all, what good does it do?

  10. incog99

    Agree, while Americans wallow in fear and anger over 9/11 the psychopaths use this “opportunity” to move their plans along. Most fear that 9/11 was an inside job so badly they cannot accept the truth. They manipulate us around like lemmings.

    Psycohpaths have no emotion, look at Guiliani.

    Time to be rational and stop being emotional, psychopaths play on emotion, and take our country back before Bush declares martial law. His decrees have already given him all the power.