Lawmakers step up pressure on Bush

The White House found itself under renewed political pressure Monday as top US lawmakers expressed impatience with Iraqi leader Nuri al-Maliki and called for a withdrawal of US troops to begin.

Republican John Warner, one of the Senate’s most influential voices on military affairs, amplified his bombshell demand of last week that President George W. Bush should start a limited troop withdrawal from Iraq by Christmas.

“Our troops have performed magnificently, under brilliant leadership, and have done precisely as the president asked,” he told NBC television Sunday.

“But the government, under the leadership of Maliki and other Iraqi leaders, have totally failed to put the other part of that partnership in place, namely deliver greater security.”

Bush last Wednesday defended Iraq’s beleaguered prime minister as “a good man with a difficult job,” seeking to dispel any sense that Washington is distancing itself from the government in Baghdad.

As pressure mounted on Maliki, top Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders announced in Baghdad they had agreed to resolve key disputes that have aggravated sectarian divisions and plunged the country into political turmoil.

A statement from President Jalal Talabani’s office late Sunday said the leaders agreed to ease restrictions on former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party serving in government ministries, to hold provincial elections — a key demand of Washington — and help security forces in stopping the bloodshed.

The White House quickly seized on the news as an encouraging sign of political progress.

“Today’s agreement is an important symbol of their commitment to work together for the benefit of all Iraqis,” White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said in a statement.

The deal, which still needs to be approved by parliament, comes as Bush faces mounting calls at home for a change in course in Iraq and two weeks before a pivotal progress report on Iraq is presented to the US Congress by top US officials.

Bush has launched a campaign to fend off demands for an early pullout of US troops, saying his “surge” strategy deploying an additional 30,000 troops shows promise and needs to be given more time to work.

But Democrats on Sunday slammed Maliki’s government as a failure and said the current US troop “surge” could not halt sectarian turmoil.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a Democratic presidential hopeful, said the “Maliki government is falling apart” with no discernible progress on security and the sectarian rift.

Democratic Senator Jack Reed also expressed disappointment with the Baghdad government but said Iraq’s unrest could not be pinned on a single person after Maliki lashed out at US politicians urging him to go and demanded France apologize for pushing for his departure.

“The notion that if Maliki goes and everything will be fine I think misses the point that the institutional capacity in Iraq, the ability to do simple things — make contracts, provide simple services to people — that’s not present after four years,” Reed told Fox News on Sunday.

The dissident views now being expressed by prominent Republican figures like Warner have piled pressure on the Bush administration for a change of course in Iraq as the mid-September report looms.

Warner declined to rule out a possible break with the US president on a deadline for withdrawing US troops as advocated by Democrats.

Asked if he would vote for a timetable for a pullout, Warner said: “It’s an option we all have to consider.”

Speaking on CNN while drumming up support in Washington for an alternative government, former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi joined calls for Bush to reexamine his pro-Maliki stance.

Allawi, whose mixed Sunni-Shiite party joined a boycott of Maliki’s government earlier this month, accused it of stoking sectarian violence and made clear he would be ready to return to politics if Maliki leaves.


  1. Caine

    Pulease! The day lawmakers pressure Bush is the day I give childbirth! (I am male)

    The lawmakers will make it LOOK like they are applying pressure, but it would take real guts and leadership for them to actually apply real pressure! Never happen!

  2. gene

    (Caine) I couldn’t have said it better. Limited withdrawal of troops. What the f**k are we doing their in the first place!! These criminals (Bush and Cheney….f**king cowards) have killed tens of thousands of innocent people and cause so much suffering and our great congress (laughing) wants to pressure this piece of human garbage..our “commander in idiot”.

    God somedays this shit is really hard to handle!!!

  3. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    No No No -The Democrats have a stupendously bold
    strategic retreat in the works.
    They will stand TALL with ALL NEW Non-Binding Measures!

    The Mules will have another sleep over in the capitol building with deep-fried Hostess Ho-Hos to show
    their unabashedly brave resolve.

    Please! Let us not make fun of the Jack-Ass-Crats, the noble party of the Donkey! Shame! Shame!

    “I fear all we have done is to anaesthetize a
    retarded Donkey, and fill him with a deep fried Ho-Ho”

    -Klaus Hergeschimmer, 2007

  4. Ardie

    Bush is thinking, “No, we can’t leave Iraq. It has 526 years of proven oil reserves. We have only 10 and my Saudi buddies only have 55 years left. I wonder what I can do? I got it! Attack Iran! Then we will have to stay in Iraq! Yeah, that’s it!”

    Per omnia extrema

  5. SEAL

    First: just as information, a donkey, a mule, and a jackass are three different things. The jack ass is a cross between a horse and a mule with no capacity to reproduce. The average mule is about 2/3 the size of a thorobred horse and a donkey is half the size of a mule or smaller. They are three entirely different breeds.

    Second: Surely I’m not the only one who believes this wonderful resolution is bullshit engineered by Maliki to help Bush (and him, of course) and will never come to pass as long as Maliki is in power. He is Bush’s twin in Iraq. He wants to be dictator no matter what they call the government. He is and always has been the problem insisting that everything be done his way which would be total shiite domination. I truly believe Bush is too stupid and pig headed to know that. Maliki has him snowed.

    The only way there will ever be a workable Iraqi government is to remove Maliki the exile who has come back to get even with all the sunnis. He is the one who told Bush that if we invaded and knocked Saddam out he could put the country back together in no time. It was his misinformation relied on when we invaded. He isn’t really an Iraqi except by blood. Just another con man and Bush fell for it. He still is because he can never admit he was/is wrong about anything.

    The obvious is that Maliki has had 4 years in power and absolutely no progress. In fact, everything has regressed. And Bush lies when he says only the Iraqis can remove him. He could simply disband the government and hold another hell of a lot more representative election. Very few sunnis participated in the first one.

    BTW: about the credibility of the reports to congress on the 15th of September. Yesterday the military reported being attacked by a band of insugents. The report says they called in a “plane” that bombed the house the insurgents were hiding in. The result was they killed 10 insurgents and captured 14. The Iraqi officials at the hospital said the dead victims were a man, his mother, his wife, and his 5 children.