Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Dems capitulate on war funding-and Bush holds an interesting press conference

The Democrats in Congress suffered something of a defeat themselves today, voting for legislation to fund the troops in Iraq without a written-in-stone pullout date. Not only that, but as President Bush revealed in his press conference today, he forced them to cut out billions of dollars worth of special interest pork they had larded the bill with.

For the Democrats, this was a case of choosing the path of least resistance. They didn't have the votes to overide the president's veto, and they didn't have the courage to risk any political fallout for their convictions and look like they weren't supporting the military by simply holding out and shutting off the cash flow to force President Bush's hand. So they went with a bill that funds the war until September and endured the fury of their Angry Left constituency, figuring that these people will forget about it come November 2008.

I wouldn't count on that, if I were the Democrats...but I guess we'll see.

For President Bush's part, his Rose Garden press conference pretty much went over this ground from his point of view, along with a few other topics of interest.

He made the rather elephantine point that Iraq is a sovereign government that has asked us to be there, and that we will leave whenever they ask us to. Hmmmm...does that mean that we going to spend billions of dollars and lives and bring the troops in for any sovereign government that asks us to? I can already hear the phones ringing from half the countries inthe world.

He also reemphasized his support for the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group's words of wisdom, and apparently still hasn't been convinced that his fetish for Arab democracy is a tad misplaced and unrequited.

The president responded to one rather rudely put question about al-Qaeda and why we haven't captured Osama bin-Laden by saying, again, that we will catch him, thathe is in hiding and that if he knew for certain where bin-Laden was he'd go after him.

What the president didn't say (and I honestly can't blame him, given the venue)is that there's another sovereign government,namely our `ally' Pakistan that is sheltering the Taliban and the resurgent al-Qaeda and is most assuredly not asking us to send our military in. Insisting on us staying out, in fact, even when al-Qaeda and the Taliban cross the border into Afghanistan to kill our troops and then run back to safety into Pakistan again.

The president also talked a bit about Iran, saying that he is working with our allies in the EU, as well as with Russia and China for tougher sanctions in view of Iran's continued ignoring of UN resolutions calling for them to stop nuclear enrichment.I wish him luck with that.

Actually,the president's hard line on Iran might hopefully be more than mere bellicose rhetoric this time...we just moved substantial military strength into the Gulf. More on that later...

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