Friday, March 23, 2007

House votes for deadline on Iraq withdrawal

The House of Representatives just voted to require the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq next year as part of the $124 billion emergency spending measure to fund the war. The requirement to pull most of the 141,000 U.S. troops out of Iraq by September 2008 was approved by a vote of 218-212. The vote went pretty much along party lines.

This is the most direct challenge to President George W. Bush's war policy since Democrats won control of Congress in January. The Bush Administration has already said that it would veto the spending measure if it contains the withdrawal provision, setting up a major political standoff.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (d-CA) called the war a ``grotesque mistake.'' ``Rather than sending more troops into the chaos that is the Iraqi civil war, we must focus on bringing the war to an end,'' she said.

Even under a veto threat and likely opposition in the Senate (where a similar measure fell 12 votes short of the 60 needed t0 pass) , the vote represents a victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It straddles a line between activist Democrats who wanted an immediate withdrawal and those who were reluctant to appear to be undercutting our troops in the field.

The Democrats also tried to buy support among lawmakers by including
$20 billion in special interest domestic spending
, with mixed results.

Republican leaders said the measure amounted to a retreat. ``Its prevailing tone is one of defeat and its abiding premise is America's mission in Iraq is over,'' said Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri.

Under the House legislation, Bush would have to certify that the Iraqi government is making progress in bringing peace to the nation on July 1 and again on October 1, for U.S. troops to remain in the country. Even if the Iraqis meet those conditions, U.S. troop withdrawals would have to begin by March 1, 2008, and be completed within six months. There are also a number of other provisions in the bill that would make it difficult if not impossible to deploy new troops and carry out the `surge' plan of General Petraeus, who's command this same congress confirmed just a short while ago.

It is particularly gutless of those Democrats in congress to link domestic spending with war funding, regardless of how one feels about the Iraq War..and it is nonsensical to appoint a commander and then undercut his ability to carry out his objectives.

If the House Democrats really have the courage of their convictions - if Speaker Pelosi really feels that the war is a `grotesque mistake' - than they should vote to cut off all funding immediately and force the Administration to end the war, rather than trying to have it both ways.

It is the same old nonsense about `supporting the troops' while undercutting their mission, and it sends a major message to both our friends and our enemies. With all the errors and misjudgments that have occurred in the War in Iraq, this is the final, capping folly.

I'll be very interested in how the Bush Administration handles this.


Anonymous said...

I agree if the war was a "grotesque mistake" we should end it immediately. The problem is Iraq has become a central front in the Jihadists war against us. If we pull out troops before we can achieve a situation where Iraq is allied with us and is a stable country, the country will become a terrorist haven. At a minimum failure in Iraq will mean that the US will be finished as a major world power. In fact, failure in Iraq will probably place the very survival of the country in grave danger. On some level, the Democrats must understand this. This is why they won't simply cut the funding for the war and pull out the troops right now.

The sad thing is the surge strategy that the military is trying to employ probably would have worked, if only it were given the time needed to work.

Even if we fail in Iraq, Americans will eventually wake up to the existential threat that they face. When they realize it, I expect them to fight vigourously. Unfortunately by the time we realize it it may be too late.

As we are currently doing things the enemy is only growing stronger. We may soon find ourselves fighting to the death not becuase we have any chance of winning but because death is preferable to slavery.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that even a worst case scenario of Iraq becoming a terrorist safe haven like Afghanistan was will end us as a major world power. It will set us back and be disastrous for our anti-jihad efforts, but it won't be the end of us. Remember, we lost Vietnam, but won the Cold War.

Also, keep in mind that we smashed Saddam's mighty army in about one week. It's the rebuilding that we are having so much trouble with. We have the power to destroy, but not to control. As long as we have the power to destroy, we are a formidable force in the world.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello, B.Poster,
As far as failure in Iraq goes, I think you know that in terms of what our aims were as defined by the president - 'a free, stable democratic Iraq that will be an ally in the war on terror' I feel we've already failed in most of those goals.

Iraq will neither be free or an ally..though it may be stable. On the plus side, we've killed a helluva lot of jihadis,smashed a good part of al Qaeda, marginalized Moqtada al-Sadr and seasoned and motivated our army.

At this point, what we're looking at is a graceful exit...and that's not entirely to be sneered at, although our victory in Iraq could have been used much more successfully.

I'm chiefly concerned with morale - that of our army, that of the people at home and that of our enemies.

Stooo-pid, cowardly legislation that sets deadlines like this, undermines our troops, holds General Petraeus to ransom and signals our enemies that all they have to do is wait us out is immoral and wrong.

Hi Nazar,
I hope you see the difference between VietNam and Iraq in terms of the effect on the US.

(and BTW: not to take anything away from our troops, but we didn't `smash' Saddam's disintigrated and much of it simply went underground. It wasn't head to head combat like the first Gulf War).

If we don't we bug out of Iraq prematurely, it will have untold consequences in our ability to fight. You also forget a singular difference between the jihadis and the Soviets..the Soviets cared about staying alive to enjoy their victory. The jihadis welcome apocalypse.

You also, I think, underestimate th efifth column here in America and theri ability to mount domestic terrorism. An Abrams tank or a B1 bomber has limited effectiveness against that kind of war.

Will we be defeated? Nah! But will it cost us much more in lives and heartache? You betcha.

Have a good weekend, y'all!