The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Biden Gets Vote On Iraq Plan

All the '08 Democratic candidates have plans to end the Iraq war. But only Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. gets to bring his to a Senate vote.

The Foreign Relations Chairman's proposal to create a federal Iraq with separate Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regions will be called up Tuesday as Amendment 2997 to the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill. It's a non-binding resolution, so even if it does pass, it won't force President Bush to do anything. But sources close to Biden describe the senator as positively giddy about the exposure.

Biden has pitched his Iraq political settlement for months, both on the Senate floor and on the campaign trail, and it has quietly collected an unusually diverse array of Senate co-sponsors, from conservatives Sam Brownback (Kan.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.) to liberals Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Barbara Mikulski (Md.). But Democratic leaders paid it little heed, preferring to keep the congressional debate focused on the U.S. military mission and bringing home troops.

Earlier this month, Biden walked into Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (Nev.) office for an Iraq planning meeting prepared to lobby that his proposal be added to the legislative mix when the war debate returned to the Senate floor. But Reid didn't need much convincing; he liked Biden's political focus, as viewed it as a way to broaden the debate. Earlier this week, Reid announced that the Biden amendment would be one of four Iraq measures that Democrats would offer to the defense bill.

Biden has missed 99 votes so far this year, nearly 29% of the total number held, but this week he skipped Iowa campaign appearances to stay in Washington, drumming up votes for the Biden plan.

--Shailagh Murray

Posted at 5:46 PM ET on Sep 21, 2007
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in | Digg This
Previous: Edwards Unveils
Education Plan
| Next: Florida Democrats Stick With Jan. 29 Vote

Add 44 to Your Site
Be the first to know when there's a new installment of The Trail. This widget is easy to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry on The Trail.
Get This Widget >>


Please email us to report offensive comments.

The history of Iraq has been full of strife. You can look at a time line that shows how Iraq has developed as a nation throughout the years at

My husband just deployed for another 15 month (455 day) tour in Iraq. We have done extensive research on the area and it's history in trying to figure out what in the world to do about this mess. Not that he and I and our four kids can change anything on our own, but we like to stay educated. Joe Biden's plan for Iraq is the best thing that we have seen to date. Nothing that has happened yet has done any real good. Iraq is a disaster. Our foreign policy is a disaster. The human toll is too high, the price we are paying monetarily is outrageous for the amount of progress (if you can call it that)that has been made. This is the first plan that I have seen that might give my husband and other Service Members a chance to come home and finally stay home for more than 9 months. I look forward to the vote on this amendment today.

Posted by: mary.c.johnson1 | September 25, 2007 3:50 PM

The Biden plan is the only one I've heard that is a "bad" option, rather than a "worse" or "worst" option.

It's a bad option, but not the worst.

Posted by: DoctorPangloss | September 24, 2007 3:42 AM

The "Biden" plan offers a way to provide sanctuaries that will reduce the post-war slaughter in Iraq such as happened in Vietnam and a way to stem the mass and destabilizing immigration of the Iraqi people into surrounding nations, which has been underway for four years. How the U.S. exits Iraq is vital, given the way we entered that nation and acted while there. While Senator Biden is unlikely to win his Party's nomination for President, his plan for Iraq makes clear that if a Democrat wins the Presidency in 2008, Biden would be an outstanding choice for Secretary of State.

Posted by: patchoate | September 23, 2007 9:54 AM

It is obvious that no matter how evil Saddam was, the one thing he did accomplish (like Tito did in Yugoslavia) was keep these Iraqi Islamic religious sects from tearing out each others throats, mainly by keeping his boot firmly pressed into all of theirs.

This administration's tragically incompetent and naive assumption that some greater Iraqi National identity would emerge once Saddam was disposed of has failed to such an extreme extent that the lethality America is inflicting, directly... and indirectly because of its stupid bungling, on all Iraqi citizens -will eclipse even Saddams murderous death tolls unless some more realistic course of action is taken.

At this point, there is probably no acceptable outcome. But Biden's idea at least holds some remote possibility of working well enough to buy time for the Iraqi's to find their own way out of this mess. The Bush non-strategy and non-plan has proved itself a total impossibility.

The laughable so called "success" in Anbar is nothing more than the USA arming and training a Sunni faction that will eventually turn on us, on their way to the blood bath to come the Shia have planned for them unless something similar to what Biden suggests can be implemented. Biden's plan is almost accomplished already in the Kurdish north.

Bidens plan is the most politically realistic, albeit desperate, shot we have at salvaging any redemption for what this "administration" has inflicted on Iraq -and America.

Posted by: plaza04433 | September 23, 2007 12:19 AM

I am a conservative and I like Joe Biden. I may not always agree with him, but I believe him to be a serious, sincere man. It's about time somebody in the senate started pushing a serious plan that everybody can rally around. The Iraq war may or may not have been a mistake, but we've got to get things under control. We owe it to the Iraqis and to our fallen Americans who gave their lives over there. Go Joe!

Posted by: foutsc | September 22, 2007 11:47 AM

I strongly agree with jillcinta. The Biden Plan, which is misrepresented as a "partition" takes into consideration the history of this region and combines it with a structure consistent with the Iraqi constitution. It allows the breathing room for the three disparate sects living in this land to begin a time of healing. We will not accomplish that healing with any amount of military force.
Biden and his partner Les Gelb have thought this one through. It is what will happen eventually in Iraq--the US should want to play a large part in helping it happen.
Mr. Biden is doing some real presidential thinking here--we ought to listen to him

Posted by: boboloughlin | September 21, 2007 11:12 PM

Cord -
First of all Biden's plan was written from the Iraqi constitution.
Second of all - Iraq used to be divided up by religious sects.
Third of all - the Iraqi's are already doing this by themselves.
4th - Biden's plan has them sharing the oil revenue.

You should look into it more.
It could be the only way.

And what other political plans has anyone else come up with?? There is alot of talk on how to leave, but no one else has an actual political plan.

Posted by: jillcinta | September 21, 2007 10:15 PM

Biden's partition plan is terrible. In fact Biden's plan will probably cause even worse problems. People coming in partitioning countries into ethnic groups does not work very well. Look what happened on the continent of Africa and in the Middle East as well. This partition plan fails to take into account the unique history of Iraq and the the present conditions where oil is not located only certain areas which do not exactly correspond to all 3 groups.

Posted by: Cord1 | September 21, 2007 6:48 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company