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The Iraq war supplemental (update)
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, May 22, 2007

First the war supplemental:
In grudging concessions to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of billions of dollars in spending on domestic programs, officials said Monday.

The legislation would include the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade, a top priority for the Democrats who took control of Congress in January, the officials added.

While details remain subject to change, the measure is designed to close the books by Friday on a bruising veto fight between Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress over the war. It would provide funds for military operations in Iraq through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
Essentially Democrats, who are under pressure to show some progress in Congress, are trading the minimum wage increase for war-funding. Of course none of this is reality at the moment as the possibility still exists that other things will still be added to the bill. But most of the talk coming out of DC is saying that Democrats have agreed to craft a bill the President will sign.

Natually, this report has caused consternation, anger and a lot of disappointment among the Netroots crowd (Not that such reactions were unexpected. Someone was going to be disappointed about the final bill.). And, of course, some are just left with attempting to spin it into a win.

Again, I'll remind you this isn't a done deal and, as Captain Ed points out, Democratic activists, i.e. Netroots, most likely haven't given up yet:
Let slip the dogs of netroots war! If you think the GOP has battered itself senseless over the last few days over immigration, you ain't seen nothing yet. Any hint of capitulation on the capitulation will bring loud screams from the people who helped the Democrats win a majority just to avoid this possibility.
What it does say is Bush's standing firm is having results and even hints that the Dems are planning on giving in will do nothing but strengthen that resolve. Funny. I can't help but apply the simile to the war effort at large.

UPDATE: More details:
Officials said the legislation was expected to include political and military goals for the Iraqi government to meet toward establishment of a more democratic society. Failure to make progress toward the goals could cost the Iraqis some of the reconstruction aid the United States has promised, although it was not clear whether Democrats intended to give Bush power to order the aid to be spent regardless of progress.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (news, bio, voting record) said softening such a restriction might not be necessary to get the president's support.

"I think at some juncture, the American people are going to say 'Mr. President, you made your point. Now sign the bill,'" said Hoyer, D-Md.

The bill also was expected to insist that U.S. troops meet certain standards before being sent into battle, out of concern from Democrats that some troops were going to Iraq without proper training. But the measure likely would give the president authority to waive this restriction.
Oh, and this is funny:
Even if deadlines for troop withdrawals are dropped as expected, Democratic leaders are claiming victory in the high-profile fight with Bush.

For weeks, the president demanded Congress send him a "clean" bill without any restrictions on the war. Last week, a top aide told Democrats the president would accept legislation drafted by Sen. John Warner (news, bio, voting record), R-Va., that would restrict U.S. aid for Iraq if Baghdad does not make progress on political and security reforms. That proposal, however, included a presidential waiver that would have allowed Bush to ignore the restriction.

The Democrats' new bill also was expected to include the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade, a top priority for the Democrats who took control of Congress in January.

White House officials have said Bush was amenable to accepting an increase in the minimum wage, although they and key GOP lawmakers favor larger tax cuts to accompany the measure.
Getting him to sign a bill which isn't "clean" is now the standard for victory in this fight?

Heh ... ok, whatever you say guys, but I can't wait to see you sell that to the Netroots crowd.
 
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What it does say is Bush’s standing firm is having results and even hints that the Dems are planning on giving in will do nothing but strengthen that resolve. Funny. I can’t help but apply the simile to the war effort at large.
Just so.

Better...I can’t imagine that the Nutroots aren’t doing the same thing.Which may explain some of the panic over this stuff the last week, or so, over there at MyDD and Kos, for example.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
In grudging concessions to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of billions of dollars in spending on domestic programs, officials said Monday
Not bad for a guy who couldn’t crack Times top 100 influential people list....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of billions of dollars in spending on domestic programs, officials said Monday
Boy, they sure are doing a great job ending this horrible, terrible, disasterous war aren’t they?

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi lied, people died!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Ahem. Did I say in the beginning that President Bush had played this one exactly right? Well, I’m too modest to link it, but...
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Thanks for the link McQ, but I think you misinterpreted my post. I wasn’t trying to "spin this into a win." Quite the contrary. My point was only that I thought this outcome was inevitable. As we saw with the Clinton/Gingrich budget showdown as well, the president tends to win when he’s playing chicken with Congress. It’s too hard for a large group of people to keep their deliberations private. They end up telegraphing when they are going to flinch.

I said that I thought the Democrats had already won the public relations battle (because 60-70% of Americans support them), but that winning the P.R. battle is irrelevant here because Bush doesn’t care. That wasn’t an attempt to spin this as a victory, though. It’s not. It’s capitulation.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
By the way, this report is music to my years, it appears the Bush administration may be close to embracing the kind of ideas I’ve been calling for. There’s hope!

The call is to "internationalize" (the same word I’ve used) the conflict when it becomes clear the "surge" hasn’t solved the problem.
· Expanded UN involvement in overseeing Iraq’s full transition to a "normal" democratic state, including an enhanced role for UN humanitarian agencies, the creation of a UN command, and possibly a Muslim-led peacekeeping force

· Increased involvement in Iraq policymaking of UN security council permanent members, Japan and EU countries - in particular, the new conservative government of French president Nicolas Sarkozy

· A bigger support role for regional countries, notably Sunni Arab Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, and international institutions such as the World Bank and IMF

· Renewed efforts to promote Iraqi government self-reliance, including attainment of national reconciliation "benchmarks"

· The accelerated removal of US troops from frontline combat duties as the handover to Iraqi security forces, backed by an increased number of US advisers, proceeds.

"The administration’s plan calls for moving on several fronts," the former official said. "Firstly, there is the international plan to win political, economic and military support for the Iraqi government and state, not least by going to the UN and asking for a UN command and flag to supplant the US coalition command.

"Regionally, there is diplomacy aimed at mobilising more Arab neighbours to understand that there is no Sunni leader coming back to Baghdad and that countries like Saudi Arabia should support Maliki [Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s Shia prime minister] before he has no choice but to fully align with Iran," the official said.

"Internally, the plan is for US forces to help isolate takfirists (fundamentalist Salafi jihadis), peel off Sunnis from the insurgency, contain hardcore elements of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army, and halt Iranian and trans-Syrian infiltration of troops and materiel."
I suspect they’ll have to engage Iran and Syria more fully to make this work, but if the Bush Administration heads down this path it’ll be an excellent policy move. I think they should start this sooner rather than later; unfortunately, it looks like they’re going to wait to September.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The call is to "internationalize" (the same word I’ve used) the conflict
Let’s see...according to the article, this "call" is from the Brookings Institution and International Crisis Group. Hmmm...no bias there [/sarcasm].

Furthermore, the report is based on an unnamed "former senior administration official."

Wow...the credibility is unquestionable.

Why doesn’t it surprise me that Erb would be drawn to this like a fly to, well, you know.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Wow...the credibility is unquestionable.
A small non-monetary wager JWG. It’s now May 22nd and we had this exchange on Q&O blog comment 6053. On October 1 we’ll look at the situation in Iraq. If the policy as described above is the one being put in to operation, you’ll admit I’m right (and I’ll be in the unusual situation of supporting the President’s policy on Iraq). If the surge is continuing and there is little no move to internationalize in the manner described, I’ll admit you are right and I read the article with bias. In a little over four months we should know how credible the source is.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I have no doubt that the Bush administration is always looking for more support from allies.

But you claim the surge will have been a failure.

As far as:
If the policy as described above is the one being put in to operation
You will never admit that improvements in Iraq will be the only reason why UN members would be willing to re-enter Iraq.

My point is that your "call to internationalize" [emphasis in original]
would require us giving up a lot of control of the situation
Therefore, getting more assistance from allies is not the same as a plan to give "a lot of control" to the UN.

I’m willing to wait until October 1st to judge the effects of the surge. I’ll predict now that you’ll call it a failure no matter what. I’ll also predict that you’ll take any tiny bit of cooperation from the international community and portray it as failure of past policy rather than as evidence of improvement in the majority of Iraq.

Your previous calls for a stronger international impact in Iraq are based on the US handing power over to someone other than Iraq or the US. I won’t let you claim you’re right unless that is what is being considered by Oct 1st.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Before Erb starts his "that’s exactly what I said" dance when the media reports some further action from some international agency, I’ll reemphasize what Erb has been stating:
I don’t think we can create a regional solution or enlist more states through an internationalized effort if we don’t fundamentally change our military policy in Iraq.
So to be clear — Erb has been calling for Bush to reverse current military activity and significantly reduce US combat presence in conflict-prone areas.

Furthermore, here is a list of some of the CURRENT activity from international agencies while Bush has been going it alone and ignoring the international community:

World Bank in Iraq
http://go.worldbank.org/PNHSGQ6M30

International Monetary Fund in Iraq
http://www.imf.org/external/country/IRQ/index.htm

UN agencies in Iraq
http://www.uniraq.org/
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Therefore, getting more assistance from allies is not the same as a plan to give "a lot of control" to the UN.
Just wait and see, JWG. Look, I’ve heard all the talk before about "slow progress" or "Saddam’s captured now things will improve," or "now that they’ve voted things are going to stabilize," or "now that we’ve implemented some new military tactic things will improve" for four years. Now it’s the "surge," which doesn’t really put in enough troops to make a country wide difference (insurgents shift positions, change tactics) and which overstretches the US military so as to make us vulernable to some kind of tet-like surprise (an offensive aided by Syria and Iran, some militants infiltrating an Iraqi unit and turning on the US, etc.).

This has been a strategic disaster, as Gen. Odom called it, and frankly it signals the decline of American power on the world stage. Read this, which was sent to me by a Vietnam vet (who is far more radical than I am in terms of being anti-war). I don’t think a lot of you who still support an obviously failed policy quite realize just what this means for the US, and how this has weakened our country and damaged our international status. It’s exactly what I and others warned about four years ago, but some of you continue to hope for some kind of "new tactic" that will suddenly turn things around. And, I suppose, when reality finally sets in you’ll come up with a ’stab in the back’ legend (we would have won if not for the liberals and Democrats, etc.) Anything to avoid confronting reality.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Vietnam vet (who is far more radical than I am in terms of being anti-war)
Being stationed in Canada during the Vietnam war doesn’t make someone a vet...
I don’t think a lot of you who still support an obviously failed policy quite realize just what this means for the US, and how this has weakened our country and damaged our international status.
Aside from the ignorance in calling it a failure before it’s done (and at the same time ignoring the numerous reports of change and improvement in countless places in Iraq), I’d like to say:

"Boy, you’re right Professor. Look at the effect our rep had in France... Oh, wait..."

And at the start of the year Dems (notably Pelosi, Reid, etc.) were calling for us to send more troops, and when Bush does exactly that, they cry out how it’s the wrong plan...

Thank god for tenure, eh?
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Erb, you are trying to make a point and then you sent us to a site to read the interview of the author of a book titled, "Exodus from Empire: The Fall of America’s Empire and the Rise of the Global Community."

And somehow, this person has something eloguent to say about the downfall of the "American Empire"? An author who states:
Certainly since George W. Bush stole the elections of 2000 and 2004 it is clear that voter suppression, the US Patriot Act, the corruption of the US Justice Department for partisan political gain, the death of a Constitutional framework of effective checks and balances, illegal wiretapping and spying on Americans in violation of the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution, has all contributed to the defense of corporate wealth and a corporate agenda that is inherently ant-democratic. These are features which are similar to a Latin American oligarchy — a so-called banana republic.
God in heaven, Erb. Do you ever read anything that is not steeped in the Liberal Narrative? And when you put material like that to us as some sort of justification for your comments, you seem to wonder why we don’t line up and bow to your "higher intellect"? You keep fawning on people like Carter, Juan Cole and now this buffoon and then can’t understand why we attack your positions so vigorously? It is no wonder you take the abuse you do - referring to a maroon like this makes you so deserving of that abuse.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
God in heaven, Erb. Do you ever read anything that is not steeped in the Liberal Narrative? And when you put material like that to us as some sort of justification for your comments, you seem to wonder why we don’t line up and bow to your "higher intellect"? You keep fawning on people like Carter, Juan Cole and now this buffoon and then can’t understand why we attack your positions so vigorously? It is no wonder you take the abuse you do - referring to a maroon like this makes you so deserving of that abuse.
I read all sides and guess what — I take seriously both the Weekly Standard on the neo-con right, and those like the piece linked. The key to understanding political events is to take in all perspectives and judge them critically against each other, and NOT to simply choose a side to support and then ridicule the other side. (By the way, I do not believe Bush stole any election, and it does irritate me when people drift into that language...Al Gore put it best in his concession speech when he recognized that Bush was the winner of the election). Still, rather than ridicule the position you should consider it and learn why people hold that perspective and broaden your understanding. Just ridiculing the "other side" (something people on all sides do far too often) is meaningless.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I know you have heard the term "Idiot Savant". That is really a colloquialism for someone described as an "autistic savant" or someone with both autism and Savant Syndrome. Savant Syndrome describes a person "having both a severe developmental or mental handicap and extraordinary mental abilities not found in most people. The Savant Syndrome skills involve striking feats of memory and often include arithmetic calculation and sometimes unusual abilities in art or music." I personally do not know of anyone who is an Autistic Savant.

But I do judge people for their ability to rationalize the world around them. And unless you can show me an intelligent "Savant" then I have to tell you your choice of supportive writers suck!

I can give a lot of people a lot of room for disagreeing with me on a whole host of topics. They have formed these opinions from varying sources or from personal experiences. But I give no credence to a person because he happens to write something that agrees with your personal world vision but aside from that one point cannot form two words to make a coherent sentence.

I read to find answers. In many cases, I do not have an opinion or an answer so I have to find one. I look at a writer who addresses the issue to see not only what he has written regarding that subject but his entire body of work. That body of work may differ from my own perceptions - I can live with that. Is it intelligent, can it stand on its own merit, how does it live and breathe with other documents on the same subject, and other aspects of the work/works are used to determine the author’s objectivity. Because it is that objectivity that I desire. I do not want an answer that conforms to my agenda but one that can stand up to scrutiny. And if that body of work is more at home with the moonbats of the world - I stop and find another source. His/Her writings no longer pass the laugh test.

’Just ridiculing the "other side"’is not what I do nor my intent. If there is ridicule in my comments, it is directed at the overall objectivity of the source.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
and those like the piece linked
You forgot the part where you mention that you ONLY link to stuff from the left to support your points. Blow your smoke somewhere else.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://

 
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