Iraq report leaves Dems scrambling

Democrats on Wednesday battled to scotch the notion that General David Petraeus’s upbeat report on his troop surge strategy had punctured their drive to bring US troops home from Iraq.

Party leaders said they would launch a new attempt in the Senate next week to change the mission of the war, though Petraeus’s marathon testimony in Congress appeared to have bought more time for President George W. Bush.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid said Bush’s expected announcement in a televised address Thursday that he would reduce US troop levels by 30,000 to pre-surge levels by mid-2008 did not go far enough.

“This is unacceptable to me, this is unacceptable to the American people,” Reid said.

“His plan is simply more of the same: to keep at least 130,000 troops, American troops in midst of a intractable civil war.”

Reid said Democrats would introduce a number of new amendments aimed at changing the US posture in Iraq next week, during a debate over a defense spending bill, but would not give further details.

Some Democrats have previously said they may consider dropping their insistence for a mandatory target date for troop withdrawals — hoping to pick up the votes of Republicans who are wavering on the war.

Leading Republicans, on the defensive all year over Iraq, welcomed the political respite which Petraeus’s testimony Monday and Tuesday appeared to have provided.

“I think that Democratic colleagues invested their political capital all year in failure in Iraq,” said House Republican minority leader John Boehner in a conference call with reporters just after arriving in Iraq.

“Now we are having success in Iraq, and hopefully continue to have success in Iraq, I don’t think they have any place to go.”

Boehner was referring to the breadth of the Democratic support base, which contains members in conservative districts more likely to side with Bush on the war and what he called the “anti-war left” which is demanding an immediate and total troop withdrawal.

Despite seizing control of Congress last November, Democrats have repeatedly tried and failed to woo enough Republicans to surpass the 60-vote supermajority needed to pass major legislation in the 100-member Senate.

They are also well short of the two-thirds House of Representatives majority needed to override any presidential vetoes.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama meanwhile mounted his own bid to reclaim the initiative over Iraq, announcing a four-part plan to get US troops out of Iraq.

He said withdrawals should start immediately at the rate of two combat brigades — about 8,000 troops — every month, to be completed by the end of next year.

“The American people have had enough of the shifting spin. We’ve had enough of extended deadlines for benchmarks that go unmet,” Obama said in a speech in Clinton, Iowa.

“We’ve had enough of mounting costs in Iraq and missed opportunities around the world. Weve had enough of a war that should never have been authorized and should never have been waged.”

On Tuesday, Democratic House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Petraeus’s latest Iraq strategy as a blueprint for 10 more years of war.

“General Petraeus’ testimony to Congress drew a bright line: redeployment is not an option; endless war in Iraq is the administration’s only option,” she said in a statement after meeting Bush.

Petraeus testified during hearings also featuring by US ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker that the operation to surge an extra 28,500 troops into Iraq was working and had cut sectarian violence.

But Democrats bluntly told him that the surge had failed as there was no sign that it had succeeded in its prime aim — of forging political reconciliation between Iraq’s warring factions.


  1. Sandra Price

    The Democrats are scared to death of the voters. They can’t even put together an impeachment action to back up their noise. It will be up to the voters to organize a third party for America and it should have been done in 2000 instead of allowing the religious right to take over the GOP.

    I’ve never had much respect for the Democrats as they seem to represent short cuts for their fixes with little desire to stand up for individual freedoms.

    America needs to read Thomas Paine to understand the power of the Constitution. But schools don’t bother with kind of academics and it is easy to see why. No, folks we are no longer a Constitutional Republic and must learn to reel under the leaders we brought into power.

    American values have been overrun with people who feel they need to be told what to do. It doesn’t make any difference if we leave or stay in Iraq. Our world is run from the financial leaders and we are simply wasting our time. I can’t even read this home page as nothing changes.

  2. gene

    Check this out. (

    It clearly explains where this country is currently headed…..down the drain.

    One has to wonder just how much longer can all this abuse of politics ie. power, financial greed and moral degeneration continue. I suggest our days are numbered. This kind of maddness on a national scale is unsustainable.

  3. Nogood

    We have become what we have condoned. We(they)put G.
    W. Bush in office with a false foundation for his election and since that day, we(they) have accepted his message of fear and now we find ourselves like little children needing a mother’s titty to suck on.

  4. Donnat

    Did anyone think this report would be anything other than what Bush wanted it to be? I’m surprised he didn’t say they’re renaming the country after Bush and are hugging our troops with gratitude. Why Democrats feel they have to counter a pack of lies is beyond me. Who believes this crap anymore?

    More troops, less troops, it’s more stable, it’s less stable, Iraq can take over the fight now, we have to stay because Iraq isn’t ready…depending on which way the site you visit or the newspaper you read leans (left or right) you see both arguments being presented as the real story on Iraq, and you know it’s not either.

    we will never really get the ‘truth’ about this fiasco as long as Bush is in office.

  5. LurkingFromTheLeft

    I would like the –

    …Harry Reid I heard on NPR Thursday afternoon be the HR that talks to the rest of the Senate nitwits –

    …but like the rest, he’ll cave –