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Iraq: This Is Only a Test

If you tune in to C-SPAN2 on Tuesday, you might think you've stumbled upon an important turning point in the nation's Iraq war policy. But as the emergency broadcast system likes to say, this is only a test.

The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on two Iraq-related measures sponsored by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), a staunch opponent of the war. The first proposal would cut off most money for Iraq troop deployments four months after being signed into law, with funding allowed only for a few purposes such as protecting American forces and training the Iraqi military. The second Feingold measure would require President Bush to give Congress "a report setting forth the global strategy of the United States to combat and defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates."

The first measure is unlikely to get the 60 votes necessary to move forward in the Senate, and Democratic leaders know that, because similar measures have failed before. The fate of the second bill is less clear, though there's no reason to think it will go any further.

So why schedule votes on them?

Such "test votes" do have a purpose -- they provide a status report so that party leaders know where senators' are coming down on the issue, and they can be fodder for party messaging. Democrats will likely use the votes as their latest hook for arguing that the U.S. military is overextended and troops need to come home. Republicans are expected to counter that Democrats are just playing games rather than focusing on substantive legislation, like a new terrorist surveillance law.

So don't expect a huge shift in Iraq policy come Tuesday. Instead, you'll get a debate that you've seen before and will likely see again before the year is out.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 25, 2008; 4:17 PM ET
Categories:  Iraq , Senate  
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When McCain talks about having a troop presence in Iraq for '100 years' he qualifies his statement by noting the length of time we have had troops in Japan, Korea, and Germany. His logic is that of an old cold war mentality that suggest that we have to police the world......

Posted by: glclark4750 | February 25, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I think the most important distinction between Germany, South Korea, and Japan versus Iraq, is the fact that America is not trying to referee a civil war in the 3 aforementioned countries, lol. It's just a WEE TAD different taking mortar fire, the ubiquitous IED crashing under the ol' hummer, while getting rocketed by rpg's.

Also, I don't see the U.S. trying to control the oil reserves of those nations.

Posted by: 2by2 | February 25, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

"The first measure is unlikely to get the 60 votes necessary to move forward in the Senate,"

It'd be nice if people called this for what it is: Can't get anything done in the Senate due to Republican filibusters/obstructionism. Seems only a few years ago the pages of teh Post were filled with tales of Democratic obstructionism, and yet, the Republicans stop up 3-5X more items with their game of "Well, if we can't control the agenda, we'll just make sure nothing happens....and blame the Democrats! And watch the press blame them too! How fun!!!", and nary a peep from so-called "reporters".

Posted by: ghost | February 26, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

To 2by2:

Your analogy leaves me wondering why we have troops in S. Korea, Germany, Japan where we are NOT needed to protect and possibly take fire. Precisely why we need to be in IRAQ. Also, I wonder how loud you will yell when you are unable to get gas, heating oil etc. or if the price goies higher by 3 to 4 times. How will your life be affected and how will you react to the mass chaos of survival looters in the streets and neighborhoods of America? Your convenient little life, like all sheep, will be bleating for the sheep dogs to take care of you. Democracy is the only chance in the Middle East after 1000's of years of total unrest. The 'Rule of Law' is needed is that part of the country very badly as continued chaos, and the global spread of Islamic radicalism demands that the forces for sanity take an aggressive approach to their extreme ideology as it pertains to the world and their violent ways. Weapons systems and the science of terror and the extreme ability to rule by force is very dire and must be confronted by the only country left standing that can make an impact while we have a chance.

Posted by: Bob, Seattle | February 26, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

2by2 has it right: Germany, Japan and South Korea have no oil. It is as simple as that!

Posted by: Bodo | February 26, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Can we say you missed something in your analysis?

Posted by: bigeldy bogeldy | February 26, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: pils | March 3, 2008 5:42 AM | Report abuse

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