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The Iraq Withdrawal Debate, Part 1

Mark your calendars for April 27, give or take a day.

That's the rough estimate of when President George W. Bush might have his first chance to veto a piece of legislation approved by the Democratically controlled 110th Congress.

Over the next few days, Capitol Briefing will give readers a primer on the showdown over the $123 billion supplemental spending bill passed by the House and Senate. The bill sets a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. A conference committee is now set to hammer out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, a process that has already begun informally among staff.

"It started about an hour after the Senate passed its version of the bill," said Tom Gavin, spokesman for Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Byrd and others have pledged to send the final bill to the White House by the "end of the month," but that will require quick work by lawmakers. House and Senate aides said that there is only so much work that can be done on a staff level, meaning the final details won't be negotiated until each chamber returns from their spring recess. The Senate is back next Tuesday, but the House doesn't return until the week of April 16.

The two bills have major differences, not the least of which are the withdrawal dates -- the Senate version mandates almost all troops out of Iraq by March 31, 2008, while the House bill calls for near full redeployment by the end of summer 2008.

Signalling that members of the House and Senate are ready to compromise, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said on "Meet the Press," Sunday, that the key thing for Democrats in Congress is to send Bush a bill that includes a withdrawal date.

"I think the most important thing and the worst thing that's ever happened to this country in recent history is getting involved in the Middle East, and I didn't care what was in that bill if there was anything to slow down, to, to say what the American people said in the last election, 'Get out of Iraq!'" Rangel said.

Later this week, Byrd and Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, are expected to announce the official start time for the public portion of the House-Senate conference on the supplemental bill. There is general optimism among Democrats that the differences between the two bills can be ironed out in a few days in mid-April, with the conference committee approving a final bill by April 20 or the following week -- April 23 or April 24 at the latest.

Under that timeline, the conference report would hit the House floor in the middle of the April 23 through April 27.

Assuming the new language maintains the precarious coalitions in the two chambers, that sets up passage of the bill in the House for roughly April 26 and in the Senate the next day, April 27. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could decide to gum up the works and use his chamber's parliamentary tools to slow the process, but he has stated publicly that he doesn't intend to do so, preferring instead to allow the bill to quickly fall under Bush's veto pen.

Democrats have not been clear on what would be their next steps after a Bush veto.

"Senator Byrd is very much a one-world-at-a-time person," Gavin said, deflecting questions about how to handle a veto. "He's focused on the conference report."

TOMORROW: How quickly will the veto come down?

By Paul Kane  |  April 3, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Iraq  
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Next: Iraq Withdrawal Debate, Part II: The Veto

Comments

Letter to Kentucky Governor of representative of Private Mcconnell when he had to spend a little time in the Army:

"Private Mcconell is very anxious to get out of the Army"

These neo-cons for the most part, the ones who were so fast to shed other peoples kids blood, were basically cowards in their own right. This should constantly be noted.

Posted by: Bob | April 3, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

"Pullout from Iraq in 08 and Bush veto' is not a plan"

A timeline for the pull out of Iraq in HR 1591 is not a plan, but does provide the opportunity to account for proposed plans. By adding an amendment that a comprehensive plan must be provided that includes political solutions for Iraq as a condition, then the time line can be honored.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2007/3/prweb515293.htm

Posted by: Orion Karl Daley unity2008.org | April 3, 2007 8:20 AM | Report abuse

The bill will be vetoed. Simple as that. If the left does not supply the needed funds for our soldiers clearly and cleanly, they will be held to blame by the American people. No one supports this. Regardless of whether one supports the war on terror, or thinks there is some utopia out there that does not exist, the funds must be paid.

Assuming you don't realize that the radical sector of Islam will not stop until our way of life is dead and we are subjegated under their Koran, we still need to have the funds to support the ordinary man and woman soldier in the field.

Iran is not afraid of Britain because the UK has gone soft power and has only a coastal navy. They have no means to project power when needed. If the Iranians had dared to intercept US forces, fire would be raining on them near their coastlines at this very moment. This means, unfortunately, that the people of San Francisco don't have to suffer the effects of terrorism even though they don't appreciate it.

Posted by: Beijing Ops | April 3, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

When George vetos the bill America will not blame congress for not funding the troops they get the funding in this bill. The shread of truth you refer to is just a lie and America the majority have had it with these lies. I was against this war because of the lies this administration sold it to us. Now no matter what the Dems will just have to get us out and if George vetos it then in 08 the Reps will pay a heavy price of that I am sure. Just think of your tax dollar going down the drain and how much of it will be used to pay for this useless war. It was a lie for the get go nothing can change the truth.

Posted by: Tony | April 3, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Way to go Democrats! ...and Republican's smart enough to realize our "president" is THE terrorist of the world. Sending thousands of innocent troops off to war so you can personally profit from it? No! Especially when you were to afraid to go to Vietname yourself. Remember that job in Texas daddy got him and he was to drunk or coked up to show up most of the time? george bush is a disgrace to the USA and the human race. Get the troops out of Iraq and start working on george's impeachment! Glad to see the level headed minds of our gov't are taking action instead of letting our tyrant president run freely and killing seneslessly.

Posted by: Jay | April 3, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Many of us applaud Congress for setting a course to end this misbegotten war. It's a simple yes or no in the final analysis- and this Congress is saying "no". I am proud of my country for the first time in years.

Posted by: Pooleside | April 3, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Don't the Republicans -- including Dick Cheney -- realize that they are not just knocking *Democrats* with their divisive and uncompromising rhetoric? Weren't Major Combat Operations in Iraq supposedly OVER on May 1, 2003? So what's the problem with withdrawing Major Combat Troops from Iraq over five years later, in Sept of 2008? Republicans are currently knocking anyone who took part in the 2006 Thumping of the Republican Party, including at least 2/3 of Independents. If Bush doesn't care to compromise with the American people, and the GOP continues to rubberstamp Bush's empirialistic threats, I think the non-loyal Bushies will get a wider majority in the House, a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and a Democratic President for xmas in 2008. Bring it on! May Mitch McConnell find himself speaking on every single media outlet in the nation between now and election day 2008, singing his Song of Bush to the voters. Let's just say that I think John Sununu's staff should start figuring out where George Allen's staff is employed these days.

Posted by: Jan | April 3, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

The ruling majority in both houses of congress have proven beyond any doubt the could care less about the people in harms way. It is a political ploy with the hope that the majority of the American people will back them. No good could possibly result from this fundind bill except for the pork barrel recipents. After the veto lets hope a better solution can be found!

Posted by: Roger Boyd | April 3, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Here the deal... This is intended to be a lesson... If the head moron is still not getting it, then he will continue this confrontative approach... He needs congress to pay for HIS war. At some point, he either needs to fund it personally, or listen to the people who want us out....

Some people are slow learners....

And some people are so dumb, they don't realize how dumb they are....

Posted by: Rich | April 3, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

The Dems will never learn and will pay in
2008.

Posted by: Buzz | April 3, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Bush will never let this war end while he is President, because it would mean that he would have far less power. It would also, probably, mean that he would be impeached. As it is, the Dems don't want to impeach a President while he's supposedly leading our Armed Forces in a war.

Posted by: George Simian | April 3, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

It has been said here that the Democrats will be held responsible for a failure to fund the troops when the president vetos this bill. However, it could easily be seen differently - the president is the one who ultimately rejects or accepts the funding. If he chooses to veto the bill (that has the provision requiring withdrawal) does this put any of the 'blame' on him? How can it be just the 'fault' of the Democrats?

Posted by: John Halliday | April 3, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

It is critical to understand that the war currently going on in Iraq is NOT the same war that was authorized in 2002. It has been well documented that most of the violence is a civil war between Shiites and Sunnis, with very little coming from Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. I understand the implications of allowing an unstable Iraq to become a haven for terrorist groups, but that is something that can be monitored and reacted to accordingly. The war authorized in 2002 is over and the troops need to come home.

Strategic thinkers need to understand the underlying reasons for terrorism and try to address those at the same time we do everything we can to defend ourselves. If we didn't need the oil underneath the middle east, would we have bases and troops in the area? If we didn't have a military presence in and around holy Muslim grounds, would we be such a target?

Maybe we ought to start investing heavily in reducing our dependence on oil. Then our presence in the middle east and in the Israel/Palestinian discussions would be as an honest, humanitarian broker rather than being there to simply protect our own interests.

Posted by: Todd, Arlington VA | April 3, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight: Bush is going to veto any legislation that makes it to his desk that has any provision for a timeline or pull-out of our troops from Iraq. After having vetoed that bill, he is going to sit in the White House and smugly wait and watch while HIS military runs out of cash to support the troops in HIS war and he isn't going to do anything but blame the Democrats? I see a swiftly held impeachment in his future. Him and the Cheney horse he rode in on. I look forward to President Pelosi's inaugural speech.

Posted by: Julia | April 3, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"Mark your calendars for April 27, give or take a day." Do people still mark calendars? Do we give or take anything? What in Hell are you getting at?

"That's the rough estimate of when President George W. Bush might have his first chance..." Okay. Now we have an estimate, that is rough, of when something might have a chance of happening. And we know Bush's full name and office, for God's sake. Sir, are you paid by the word?

You seem like an intelligent and successful man, Mr. Kane, but you write like a teenaged girl or a neophyte sports columnist. Tighten up the prose, Man. Quit dancing around the point. Thanks a lot.

Posted by: Brian Thomas | April 3, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I agree that the bill will be vetoed, but I wish that it would be otherwise. The majority of the people who will be "paying" for the war are the lower and middle classes. Ultimately, the money is going to come from us.
This country also needs to relearn the phrase, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Stop seeing things red and blue, elephant or donkey, patriotic or terrorist. We need a third party, or at least a more intuitive public.
Iraqis are not "evil" or even "radicals." The majority of them are normal people like us. Killing mass amounts of innocent people to find the few radicals is a stupid (for lack of a better word) plan.
If we want Iraq to reform, the best thing to do is spread education and show an example of a strong, democratic, government. Throughout history revolution has occurred with an increase in education. For the past few years, our republic, has been more of a clique.
I am late to school now.

Posted by: Rien | April 3, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Before anyone gets bent out of shape about this bill, how about acting like conservatives- and requiring the armed forces and administration to show they actually need the funds now. From various accounting reviews including the GAO, there appear to be billions of unaccounted funds from prior appropriations. And a whole lot of pork that is just a pile of bribes.

The one thing I would figure a conservative (or certainly a Republican) to do is require recipients of federal moneys to have clean, clear accounting. However that seems to be the last thing the current batch of "Republicans" want to get into.

Posted by: rob | April 3, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

If anyone honestly wants our military out of harms way anywhere in the world and has the power to stop the supply of money supporting them and does not stop the supply of money supporting them , then they are just as guilty of supporting warfare as anyone who sent them in the first place...cut the posturing and hiding and shut up and vote. Enough voters believed the election hype. get on with it..

Posted by: uffdaron | April 3, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

If Bush refuses funding for the troops because he is afraid to show real progress in Iraq, he will be to blame for detrimental effects on the troops. Simple as that. It is a matter of accountability -- something his administration has so much trouble with.

Posted by: Slim Watts | April 3, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't anyone remember that the Russians also said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? The British and Americans also said Iraq had WMD. I believe that someone like bush might have enough power to persuade government agencies in American and Britian to add some details so it looked like Saddam had WMD, but I do not believe the Russians would go along with it. If they did, they probably would have sent troops to Iraq as well.
Why doesn't these details come up in the news? Its because everyones out to get Bush. I don't agree with all that Bush has done, but I think the media is not being fair and balanced at all.

What will happen if troops are taken from Iraq? Al Quadia is there, and will get stronger, then 911 will look like some firework display compared to what they might have planned once they get a strong hold in the middle east. I hope none of us see that day.

Please look at the information objectively, and don't be biased because of your taste for George Bush's blood.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

The President's faithful authoritarian followers no longer frighten us with their scare stories of awful consequences as a result of reigning in his intransigence.

Bush has deceived, condescended, and called patriotic Americans "traitors" too many times. Only a few "dead-enders" remain willing to give him any credence.

The President can defy the will of the American people only for so long. Our patience with his planless occupation is now exhausted. He is our servant, we are not his.

It's time for the neocons to abandon their disastrous failed dream, face reality, and "get over it".

Posted by: melior | April 3, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

THE UNITED STATES SENATE OF AMERICA APROVED SUBPOENAS. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------**** LET THE GAMES CONTINUE ****---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------one down **Kyle Sampson** --- two down **MONICA GOODLING** --- **GONZALES OUT AFTER 17 april ROOMERS GO --- AND MIERS*S VERTICAL SMILE WILL CHANGE IN A GRIME ONES SHES INDICTED ** OUR COMMANDER IN THEFT AND CHEAT WILL LEAVE US SOON **SOONER** NOW THAT WE HAVE DISCOVERED THE PHONY ANONIMOUS ITALIAN LETTER SPELLED IN FRENCH THAT CHEATED US IN AN UNNECESSARY WAR !!

Posted by: jwh | April 3, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

We either fight this fight on foreign soil or we fight this fight on American soil. Right now Iraq is the catalyst to keep the Islamic terrorists over there. Bring our troops home and watch what happens. Use Spain as an example...or France...or London. These folks don't mind dying for Allah...they don't mind exploding their children to reach their end. And they damn sure won't mind seeing the blood of the infidels running in downtown USA.

Posted by: Been There - Have YOU? | April 3, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Those who will blame the Dems, already blame the Dems. So they aren't a part of Democrat's political calculations. The people who have blamed this administration, put the Democrats into power in order to do exactly what they are doing now.
Even the Republican presidential candidates and the supporters who fund them, know that they will lose a significant amount of votes if no sense of resolution in Iraq is reached before the elections. Look at McCain's fund raising numbers, folks. Those who continue to advocate open-ended military presence in Iraq are already suffering the consequences, and it doesn't look like things will get better for them as we approach 2008.
One could argue that the 'mastermind' himself, bighead Rove (and his monster), even knows how hard a time Republican candidates will have. Why else would he be purging those who aren't 'loyal bushies' from the justice department? He's preparing his backup plan for 2008. When the votes don't add up in favor of the Republican candidate, those 'loyal bushies' (read RNC sycophants) will be expected to use their offices to effect the outcome of close races in order to help override the will of the people.
None of these arguments mean that this is the right thing to do for Iraq, or for the Middle East. Due to the universal incompetence with which this mission has been carried out, what is right for Iraq and the Middle East is no longer the prevailing concern of the American voter. Today the voter is compelled by the need to wrestle the control away from this herd of amateurs we call the Bush administration and do whats best for OUR country. No military presence, no matter how long, is going to solve the horrors our occupation of Iraq has caused. The world will be dealing with the disastrous consequences of this administration's demented Middle East policy for a very, very long time.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | April 3, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I continue to be confused by the Bush administration's commitment to the war in Iraq. If Iraqi freedom is so vital and withdrawing our troops is such a bad idea, then why are Bush's two daughters and Cheney's daughter in Iraq - fighting to make Iraq free? We need a date certain to withdraw our troops - we've already given over 3200 lives, 20,000 casualties and over $500 billion in tax dollars. Isn't that enough?

Posted by: Fred Nesbitt | April 3, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone see any of those WMDs anywhere? Or did everyone forget about those? Did Saddam hide them in his jockey shorts while he was being hanged? Poor Dubyah never did find daddy's gold mine.

Posted by: dude | April 3, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Watch that sneaky bast--- when he allows the press to submit questions in the rose garden. The press is so scared of this clown that they keep giving him marshmallow questions, and gw won't allow any follow up. They complain about the press, but quite frankly its high time for the press to wake up and get some balls.

Posted by: john rigazio | April 3, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Why do some people imagine that Islam's aim to turn the world into its caliphate is something new? Hasn't that been Islamic policy for a thousand years? Didn't they reach the gates of Vienna?

Do people forget that the Crusaders humiliated them - and they still remember it, passing the resentment down generation after generation? Does anybody doubt that no matter how many pro-Western puppet states we manage to set up in the Middle East, they will all eventually fall to the overwhelmingly larger presence of Muslims there?

Ireland took 300 years, but eventually got the English out. Who can doubt that the Muslims will eventually produce a new Saladin who will lead them to victory on their own turf? When they use poison gas, shall we just forget that it was the British in 1922 who took them how to use it?

Why are we not concerned to build up and defend our own country at home? Ancient Athens, in its better days, was defended by its own people, at home, a fully armed citizenry motivated by pride in the magnificent civil society they had created and would defend to the last man. Why has America allowed its domestic issues to fester, while sending its troops far away to pretend to fix foreign problems?

Switzerland has not been invaded since Napoleon. They do not send their armed forces outside their own borders. They do not join international alliances or "coalitions of the willing" [*key mocking laughter*]. But they arm and train every able-bodied citizen, put a full automatic weapon and a stock of ammunition in every home, and make sure that all outsiders know that this is not a soft target.

America's weakness is self-inflicted neglect of domestic priorities, promotion of "gun control" (i.e. civilian weakness) and too much foreign adventurism (from which the Bush family and their sympathizers are noticeably personally absent.)

Posted by: fra59e | April 3, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

If it was so clear that Iraq had WMD, why was there so much pressure put on Bush to let the UN weapons inspectors see if they could find them? Why, if Bush knew that these weapons existed, didn't he give his intelligence to the inspectors so that they could prove him right? Why is it not reported that Russia thought Iraq had WMD too? Maybe because they didn't. Or maybe because, even if they did, what difference does it make? They didn't invade Iraq.

Posted by: George Simian | April 3, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

How come no mention in WaPo yet about political consultation by Gen Petraeus of GOP senators? Partisan off-the-record consultation? WTF?

Posted by: Scott in PacNW | April 3, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

i was agreeing that Bush did a horrible job handling, lying (well apparently did a good job lying), and pushing for these mystery WMDs that never did surface. i think Bush himself is a WMD. his lawn speech sounded (from reading it) like a 10 year old complaining about not getting the candy he wants. "just gimme the bad candy so i can throw it away and get new ones." THE MIGHTY VETO PEN IS COMING! EVERYBODY PANIC! i'm so tired of hearing his 'threats' about using his pen. nobody cares. not wanting to fund the war that is killing innocent US soldiers. wow, those Dems are the devil, huh Bushy?!

Posted by: dude | April 3, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Clinton was a much better example of how to be a president....yeah right

Posted by: BK | April 3, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court said, "A state of war is not a blank check for the President." Aside from the fact that Congress has NOT declared war (and against whom would they declare it, anyway? Anyone living in the countries we invaded who wants us out?), GWB has taken a lesson from that and demanded a blank check - because a blank check IS a blank check.

So, GWB requests emergency funding. Congress passes it. Assume GWB vetoes it. The military is already funded into the summer, so Congress and W have until then to make nice without any real change to the situation. Then, if no agreement is reached, the military will shift funds around from other places, such as long-term weapons development programs.

W wants us to believe that the soldiers will go unpaid, that we won't be buying ammunition, body armor (are we finally giving it to all our forces?), trucks, etc. That will NOT happen, no matter how long he holds his breath and stamps his feet and demands funding for unlimited military action.

Really, he should read the Constitution. It specifically gives Congress the powers:

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

Posted by: Aelfric | April 3, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I believe Congress needs to put BushCo in their place. However, I don't know if this bill is the best means. Personally, I feel Congress should consider themselves leaders, just like CEOs or directors, and actually work! Require the Bush administration to give a budget to last 6 months with a listing of expected expenditures each month. Then provide half of that and tell DoD to provide receipts or audit reports justifying the spending before obtaining the other half. Someone needs to slow down the spending and become responsible for the money. If BushCo asks for more to increase troop levels, deny it. Simple as that, but it requires Congress not taking 2 WEEKS OFF!!!

You chose to be elected, no one forced you. Represent YOUR citizens like you were elected to do.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"Clinton was a much better example of how to be a president....yeah right"

Um, the Republicans were largely responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. A blow job in office is hardly reaching to that level.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

As with the ME Countries, Mr. Bush is acting inciting the Congress to engage in war. I'm going to veto it - send me what I want or I'll apply my mighty pen. Mr. President, the people have spoken! If and that is a big IF, the troops are not funded it is because you are a one sided person who sees things one way and that is your way - your way or the highway. Well sir, you work for me and every other American citizen, you are not a king, you are not a God, you are mortal man and you must be reminded that you represent the people not yourself! You can quit threatening us about them following us here, no matter what the outcome is in Iraq, we will be attack again someday unless you start thinking of the American people and start focusing on secruity here at home. Need I remind you again that Iraq is a civil war with some of its people having turned radical because of your botched war. BRING OUT TROOPS HOME and do it now!

Posted by: Kathy | April 3, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

First of all, we need to put the past behind us. I, like many others, never agreed with the war, but harping on this point does nothing for the future. We are where we are, no matter why. Second, we cannot leave Iraq until things stabilize. That is a fact. Like it or not, that part of the world is vital to our national interest. After all, far worse atrocities occured in Congo than Saddam Hussein did in Iraq, and we did practically NOTHING about them. The difference is; OIL! Pure and simple. Third, we, as the American people, cannot continue to endorse an unending war. Our "decider" President's "plan" is distined to the same fate that his earlier ones because it is not dealing with the core of the problem in Iraq. We need to get tough with all 3 factions in Iraq. Kurds want their own country in the north, and, no matter what they say, they will do anything to keep every penny of revenue from oil in that region while allowing little or no interference by ANY central government. The Shia'a want to run the ENTIRE country - as their majority would require in any democractic system. Sunnis are still living under the delusion that they can enjoy the same level of authority and power they had under Saddam. Bush, and those around him that seem to be schooled by the Aceme school of foreign affairs, does not understand that these objectives are conflicting and CANNOT be reconciled.

We need to tell the Kurds they cannot have an independent Kurdistan and must share power within a unified Iraq. We need to tell the Shia'a that we did not invade their country only to replace Saddam with other dictators even if those dictators represent the majority of the country. We need to tell the Sunnis to get real and to wake up and smell the Hummus! They are a minority and their hold on power will reflect their status in any democractic country.

What does all that mean to the current standoff between Bush and Congress? The Legislative and the Executive need to work together to agree on a sensible plan to get us the hell out of Dodge. That plan cannot be in a legislation or broadcast to the entire world, but Bush needs to actually keep his word that he will follow it. Bush needs to tell the Iraqis that, unless they meet specific timeline and milestones for getting a hold of their country, we will no longer support Kurdish control of the north (we might even involve Turkey in determining what happens to that area!!). We will stop funding any training activities, upgrading Iraq's oil facilities, stop funding the government, support regional conferences involving ALL of Iraq's neighbors in determining Iraq's fate, etc. We will also stop pushing the government to give Sunnis a disproportionate say in government activities. In short, we will make the lives of everyone in Iraq much more difficult without directly putting our troops in the middle of the civil war (yes, Karl Rove, it IS a civil war!).

Bush does not have balls to do what is really necessary to get us out of Iraq, Congress does not have a clue about the politics and culture of the region, and our troops are paying the price. Bush needs to compromise and Congress needs to be realistic about its expectations. The road to disaster is paved with the best intentions.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

"In a time of war, it's irresponsible for the Democratic leadership in Congress to delay for months on end while our troops in combat are waiting for the funds," says President Bush. Yet he follows that with a promise to veto the funding if it includes provisions that he doesn't agree with. Isn't that equally irresponsible?
Pres. Bush claims that he and he alone knows how to win the war, and nobody else has opinions that count, not Congress, not the Iraq Study Group, not the American people. He's the Decider, and he doesn't have to listen to anybody else. Unfortunately, his track record on Iraq isn't that great. He was wrong about WMD, wrong about an Iraq-Al Qaeda connection, wrong about being greeted as liberators, wrong about Nigerian yellow cake uranium, and wrong with his "Mission Accomplished" banner. If he vetoes the funding necessary to support our troops, he'll be wrong again. But that doesn't seem to bother him in the least.

Posted by: spartan52 | April 3, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

If the Maliki goverment, dominated by Shias has the US Military doing it's dirty work by eliminating the Sunni opposition to their rule, then we might as well pull the plug. It's crazy and contrary to sound foreign policy, that we be the principal instrument furthering the goals of the Shia's, Hezzbollah, and ultimately Iran.

It's over. Lets go home.

Posted by: Gonzo | April 3, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

To not be blamed for the Iraq outcome, Democrats and Congress need to find a viable way to leave Iraq without it being in ruins. The US needs to join together with the rest of the world leaders in figuring out a multilateral way of ending terrorism and Mid-East tensions. One of the biggest ways is to end global poverty. Our leaders need to not abandon Iraq, but support its growth and the growth of other undeveloped countries by funding the UN Millennium Development Goals. According to the Borgen Project, just 0.16 of out federal budget is spent on poverty reduction while $340 billion has been spent on the war. We need to redirect our funds to programs that will work.

Posted by: elle c | April 3, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Imaging what could have happened if Bush took all the money that went into this war and instead aimed it at an alternative fuel. if you build the pumps the cars will come.

Posted by: Mr X | April 3, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Some people are very, very misinformed. (Mostly because they depend on the drive by media for their information.)

1. It isn't a Civil War! The vast majority of violence is no longer between Iraqis and Iraqis (the Sunni/Shiite violence has reduced by 80% to less than prewar levels). It is between Iraqis and AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq). AQI came from outside of Iraq because we were effective.

2. The Bush administration may have followed through on going to Iraq but the Clinton Administration made it ABSOLUTE POLICY of the United States of America to remove Saddam from power but never followed through. YOU DO NOT HEAR THAT ON CNN, do you?

3. The Congress approved going to Iraq based on 37 different reasons presented to them by the DOD, CIA and the executive branch. NOT JUST WMD's! ALMOST ALL OF THOSE HAVE PROVEN TO BE 100% correct. YOU DO NOT HEAR THAT ON CNN, do you?

4. The Iraqi people are standing up for their own freedoms and fighting right along side US troops and dying for what they believe in. The surge showed them we are committed to them and now they are confident enough to fight back again AQI.

5. "Weren't Major Combat Operations in Iraq supposedly OVER on May 1, 2003?" ON THAT DATE THE US stated that Major Combat Operations against IRAQI ARMY were over. AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) is an outside invading force that we will defeat despite the infighting in our own country and the apparently wanting by the left in this country to lose this ware. Why would the left want to lose? Because they have invested too much time opposing it and not enough supporting our troops.

6. Stop the hatred and get behind what we are doing. We are there and we cannot afford to fail so we won't but it would be nice to have both sides of the isle working on this. Date certain withdraw will not work. It only tell the enemy to wait and we will be gone BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY IT TELLS THE IRAQI PEOPLE WHO ARE STANDING UP FOR THEMSELVES WITH OUR HELP THAT WE WILL CUT AND RUN SOON SO THEY SHOULDN'T FIGHT FOR FREEDOM.

Posted by: Mike | April 4, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Over $300 billion has gone towards Iraq and countless lives have been lost and yet we are still far from any sort of resolution. Perhaps it's time those promoting the war come to grips with our inability to "fix" Iraq and accept the timeline to withdraw. Then perhaps our administration will remember that while they have been focused on Iraq, millions of people are starving everyday. The Millennium Goals were set to eliminate world hunger and according to the Borgen Project this can be achieved with $19 billion annually. How about instead of sending additional troops we do something to actually save some lives?

Posted by: sl88 | April 4, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

As a retired combat arms career NCO with expertise and experience in counter insurgency warfare, I continue to be amazed by those who believe that this war in Iraq is actually accomplishing anything at all to make us safer. We keep hearing this mantra from them that we must 'win' this 'war' or they will 'follow us home' and kill us all. The fact of the matter is that our presence in the Middle East is the best thing that ever happened to Bin Laden. He couldn't buy this kind of recruitment, motivation and training if we flew every single Jihadist for personalized training to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin. On top of that it is tearing our military apart. It will take us decades to recover from this stupidity. Then the same administration that hung our warriors out to dry on this fool's errand with improper equipment, staffing and planning has the gall to say that those who want to rescue our troops are 'not supporting them'. It is incredible that Bush, in his desire to pass of his mess to the next President, is willing to sacrifice more and more American lives for absolutely nothing. Those living room commandoes out there who support this mess need to talk to the war fighters themselves. Then maybe read a few books on history, the Middle East and counter insurgency warfare. We could send a million fighters to Iraq and all the radicals would do would be to go to ground and wait as they did as we rolled in Baghdad. Kill one radical and there are 5 to take his place. We need to get our warriors out of that mess right now by absolutely any means possible.

Posted by: Gerry L | April 4, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

There is so much corruption in governments all over the world, and one of the most corrupt being right here in the good old USA. How can we allow our elected officals to spend our resources on what appears to be a badly managed war and not protest and demand some kind of accountability. How can we allow one more young soldier to sacrifice his limb or life for a cause that was based on lies and deception. Humans of today have managed to do some very amazing things in regards to science and medicine. However, in the world of political leadership we have failed. Under the current way we live, it is irresponsable for us to take a young person and teach them how to kill. No Muslim, No Christian, No Budhist, No Atheist, should be taught that killing is the solution that solves all problems. We are people of great minds and ambitions and should be spared from the morons who have a taste for blood in their mouths. Give me peace and hope for the future. Impeach Bush and all other world leaders who advocate death and misery.

Posted by: James | April 6, 2007 5:34 AM | Report abuse

The bottom line is the bottom line

As the Bush administration continues escalating the war in Iraq, more and more Americans are questioning the ethics of the involvement asking, "What are we fighting for?" Unfortunately, in our blissful ignorance, we moral idealists have forgotten our history and often choose to deny uncomfortable truths.

In a so-called 'industrial nation,' the political and economic agendas are dictated by the prevailing industries. This, in itself, is not necessarily a tragedy. That which we euphemistically refer to as the, 'American Way of Life,' is dearly indebted to technology and industry. It is, however, the responsibility of the elected government to insure that the influence of big business does not supercede the will of the people. The past fifty years have given rise to a disturbing trend in American parliamentary procedure. America has gone from a one man, one vote democracy to a one dollar, one vote oligarchy.

It is a foregone conclusion that the current Executive Branch of the United States Government has never represented the will of the people despite a skillful propaganda campaign touting family values and Christian ideology. George Bush along with all of his capos represent the will of big business; specifically, Exxon Mobil, Halliburton, British Petroleum, Dutch Shell and General Dynamics, not to mention, the key players in the pharmaceutical industry.

In 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was also a General as well as a Texan, observed the post-war expansion of American industry throughout Europe and Asia. He warned the American people that these corporations were establishing governments of their own and could one day, acquire enough political clout to deploy the United States Military to protect and expand their interests. He defined this association as the Military-Industrial Complex. In 1972, President Salvador Allende of Chile spoke before the United Nations warning of the increasing leverage exerted by multi-national corporations on the governments throughout the developing world. At the conclusion of his presentation, he received a fifteen minute standing ovation. He was then branded a Marxist and ultimately assassinated by the American CIA on national television; however, this was later reported as a suicide. He was replaced by a military Dictator supported by the American government or, more specifically, by American industry which had been exploiting farmers and copper miners in that region for decades. The following military surge orchestrated by General Pinochet, under the watchful eye of the CIA, murdered tens of thousands of the Socialist majority who had democratically elected Allende; thus eliminating any opposition to multi-national corporate interests.

Osama Bin Laden recognized the marriage between money and military during the first Gulf War. Anyone who can prove Kuwaiti heritage has no obligation to work. Instead, each Kuwaiti citizen is entitled to a share of oil revenues generated by the nationalized oil industry. The minimum yearly dividend is approximately $70,000 per person. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, President H.W. Bush, without hesitation, sent the United States Military to protect these shareholders of the Big Three oil companies. If it was truly Bin Laden's intention to mass-murder Americans, the ineptitude of the Bush intelligence apparatus could easily have provided better opportunities. The targets could have been the World Series or the Super Bowl. Instead, Bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, ergo the Military-Industrial Complex. Furthermore, 911 was a direct assault on the Bush family in retribution for Desert Storm. The Bush Administration capitalized on the atrocity by hiring elements outside the reach of the electorate to establish and perpetuate a propaganda campaign instilling and maintaining fear in the American people. Meanwhile, these multi-nationals tightened their stranglehold on governments in the Mid-East. Bin Laden's life ambition has been met, his work is complete. He will forever remain a hero in the history of radicalism. It is, however, vital to the Bush--Halliburton--Exxon Mobil consortium to keep Bin Laden alive in the hearts and minds of the American people. Fear is the principle criterion for the successful promotion of its agenda. Based upon the Bush regime's indelible record of lies and hyperbole, it would elicit little surprise if the bones of Osama Bin Laden were discovered in Karl Rove's garage.

This war has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism. The only segment of the population who should be terrified consists of those who are profiting from it. This war has nothing to do with Islam. Anyone who has studied Islam would know that every aspect of this conflict is in violation to the principles of Jihad. This war has nothing to do with democracy. Kuwait is no democracy--it is a fundamentalist, Islamic monarchy. This war is about money and profit--the bottom line is the bottom line.

George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and the rest of the self-proclaimed illuminati are simply increasing their net worths in perpetuity with the blood of the innocent. Patterned after Plato's Republic, they collectively seek to establish a new, ruling class. Any effort on the part of Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic majority to ease tensions in the Middle East will be met with resistance and condemnation. It's just, plain bad for business.

--Quinn Stilletto, President, Unwantedchildren.com

Posted by: Quinn | April 7, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The US is building embassy in Iraq for 5000 totally self contained. Covering 104 acres. I ask the question Does anyone really think we are leaving that country?

Posted by: wynette | April 9, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

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