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Iraq War Funding: Dems capitulate for now, but watch out for September
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, May 24, 2007

Good synopsis of the politics of the fight about the latest version of the Iraq Supplemental bill from the US News & World Report "Political Bulletin" (subscription):
Media analysts are casting the Democrats' decision to pass an Iraq spending bill without a pullout provision as a win for the White House. MSNBC's Hardball, for example, said "after weeks of refusing to back down to the White House, today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did just that." NBC Nightly News reported, "The Democrats will argue they took a tough stand here, but the reality is that facing a veto threat, they backed off." USA Today describes the Democrats as "flinching," the New York Times calls "the decision to back down" a "wrenching reversal for leading Democrats," and the Washington Times titles its front-page story "Democrats Capitulate On War Funds."

In what could be bad news for the Democrats, their concession to the White House has angered anti-war activists and lawmakers, who are now expected to oppose the legislation. In a bizarre turn, the Washington Post notes even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she "was so disappointed" that she might actually vote against the bill. In fact, it's becoming apparent that GOP votes will be needed to pass it – at least in the House. The Los Angeles Times recounts that when House Democratic leaders "presented the plan at their weekly caucus meeting, freshmen and members of the Out of Iraq Caucus complained vociferously."

And "antiwar groups that stood behind the Democrats as they pressed for a withdrawal also expressed disappointment. 'It is remarkable that they can't stand up to President Bush and his war,' said Susan Shaer, Win Without War National co-chairman." The Washington Times quotes Rep. Lynn Woolsey, California Democrat and co-founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus, saying, "It's the president's legislation, not the Democrats." Sen. Russ Feingold, "one of the chamber's loudest antiwar voices, called the benchmarks 'toothless.'" Said Feingold, "There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action."

Will the plan pass the House without the full support of the Democratic caucus? The Hill reports that if Democrats "are looking for Republican votes, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) thinks they can find them. He says he would be surprised if the proposal cannot garner 10 to 15 GOP votes. 'If the bill is without timelines, there would be a few Republicans who have bases and military retirees in their districts who feel the need to support the troops,' Jones said."

There is, however, a caveat to this White House "victory": A number of reports suggest the move only gains Bush a few months (until September) before members of his own party start demanding that his "surge" show results. NBC Nightly News, for example, reported "the real fight is in September," when "the new authorization happens for the war going forward. That's when [Gen.] Petraeus reports to Congress and says whether the surge has worked." On its website, meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that coinciding with the deal, a new poll shows that "while the largest chunk of Americans is still pessimistic about the war in Iraq, there are some signs — Bush's recent moves — such as the surge of additional troops into Baghdad that began in February — have won back a sliver of support, according to a recent poll from Harris Interactive." The new poll "finds that 30% of Americans rate...Bush's handling of Iraq 'excellent' or 'pretty good,' a slight improvement from 27% in March. The president's positive ratings on Iraq have been south of 50% since March 2004."

What About The "Pork?" Largely unmentioned in this morning's media is the fact that in vetoing the first bill, the President cited not one but two key objections: the pullout timetable (that's now out of the equation) and the unrelated domestic spending included in what was supposed to be a war funding measure. As Congress prepares to send a new version of the bill to the White House, what some have termed "pork" will still be there. As the Washington Post noted, the measure "will be split into two parts when it comes before the House," one dealing with war spending and the other with the unrelated domestic items. Once in the Senate, both parts will be put together and once approved will be sent to Bush as one bill. In addition, the Washington Times reports the Iraq legislation will include a hike in the minimum wage. Unless the President has now accepted the "pork" in exchange for the Democratic concession on the pullout issue, a new clash between Congress and the White House could be right around the corner.
The pork, of course, is being underplayed now by the White House. And, as mentioned, the bill only buys a couple of extra months before this whole thing is back on the front burner. But in political terms, there's no question of who the winner is in this confrontation. And there's also no doubt that when round two comes, the Democrats will be even more motivated to turn that perception around.

September will be Armageddon concerning the war in Iraq and there will be nothing but hair, teeth and eyeballs left on the floor of the House and Senate when that fight is finally finished.
 
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September will be Armageddon concerning the war in Iraq and there will be nothing but hair, teeth and eyeballs left on the floor of the House and Senate when that fight is finally finished.
Meaning that the terrorists know to create an uptick of eye-catching carbombs around Aug. 25th and they’ll get their way, unless Petreaus puts the area around on lockdown
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
September will be Armageddon concerning the war in Iraq and there will be nothing but hair, teeth and eyeballs left on the floor of the House and Senate when that fight is finally finished.
And in the event out opponents in Iraq are able to stage a "Tet Offensive", it will have no more real meaning than did the first one—our enemies destroy themselves by confronting our strength.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
”Media analysts are casting the Democrats’ decision to pass an Iraq spending bill without a pullout provision as a win for the White House.
” Media analyst at QandO Magazine: "Iraq War Funding: Dems capitulate for now... in political terms, there’s no question of who the winner is in this confrontation."
I’m not sure how much of a media analyst one needs to be to discern this winner. I haven’t heard even the netroots claiming a victory and you know how they try to spin things. Nevertheless, President Bush can still lose this thing if he doesn’t have some fresh diplomatic initiatives moving by September. Of course I believe that he will. It is Congress who must sit and wait while the Administration acts. Unlike President Carter, President Bush is capable of acting when the need is clear and I believe that he will in this case.

The professional losers (liberals) believe that American has lost control of things in Iraq (or wish that to be true) despite evidence to the contrary. The advantage of making mistakes is that you learn and I believe that we have. Our opposition has also learned – what won’t work. So the stage is set for a repositioning. I’m guessing that most parties want AQ left out of whatever solution is tried. So things could be looking up by September, although only a fool would predict that. The fools are those who are saying that we should give up and just leave. Idiots.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
The professional losers (liberals) believe that American has lost control of things in Iraq (or wish that to be true) despite evidence to the contrary.
What is the evidence to the contrary? From the Washington Post:
Thursday, May 24, 2007; Page A01

BAGHDAD, May 23 — More than three months into a U.S.-Iraqi security offensive designed to curtail sectarian violence in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, Health Ministry statistics show that such killings are rising again.

From the beginning of May until Tuesday, 321 unidentified corpses, many dumped and showing signs of torture and execution, have been found across the Iraqi capital, according to morgue data provided by a Health Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. The data showed that the same number of bodies were found in all of January, the month before the launch of the Baghdad security plan.

....

Lt. Gen. Aboud Qanbar, the Iraqi commander overseeing the security plan, acknowledged in an interview that the number of unidentified corpses is rising and said there has been a spike in sectarian assaults by Shiite militias, especially elements of the Mahdi Army, the militia of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

"We are aware of this happening, yes," Qanbar said Tuesday, seated in his office inside one of the palaces of the late ousted president Saddam Hussein. "We have noticed that those gangs are again attacking people."

The rise in sectarian violence has followed a recent increase in mass-casualty suicide attacks and car bombings that have targeted mostly Shiite areas in Baghdad and other parts of the country. U.S. officials have acknowledged that they have had little success in curtailing such attacks, which have occurred with greater frequency since the start of the security plan than before.

In the 14 weeks preceding the start of the plan on Feb. 14, at least 821 people died in 11 attacks — typically suicide car bombings — that killed more than 20 people at a time, according to a Washington Post analysis. There have been at least 20 such attacks in the 14 weeks since the start of the plan, causing a death toll of at least 1,098, the analysis showed.
I know facts have a liberal bias, but how in the world can one assert that we haven’t lost control of "things" in Iraq when the killings the surge was intended to reduce have risen since the surge began.
So things could be looking up by September ....
Hope is not a strategy.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Well, MK, guess hanging out in the bubble and all you cannot discern what is going on in Iraq right now. I understand. With your limited resources...

Let’s say you are in charge of the strategy for a group that opposes us in Iraq. You are aware of what American liberals did with the victory in the Tet Offensive. The American liberals are at it again. What is your strategy for this critical time?

Do you
a) Concentrate on recruiting and training for the time America leaves Iraq.
b) lie doggo pending further concrete developments.
c) Observe how effective your propaganda is with American liberals and the hay that those American liberals (such as yourself) are making with the statistics of those killed by bombing, torture, beheading, etc. and pull out all stops and concentrate on running up the body count.

Which strategy is most likely to gain you your ends?

I’m actually surprised that the count is not even higher. Liberals have a morbid fascination with body counts. Except when it is the number of children who have died of malaria since they got rid of DDT. Malaria was almost eradicated when the liberals began their ill-founded DDT campaign to resurrect it. I believe that the latest cheldren’s body count is 800,000. Thank you Rachel Carson.

P.S.
Makes your numbers for Iraq kinda pale in comparison, doesn’t it?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
If I were in the President’s position, I would choose July for a full-scale air and naval offensive against Iran, possibly combined with occupying the ground on the Iranian side of the Straits of Hormuz temporarily using a MEF. The reason I would give is that Iran is already interfering in Iraq, and intelligence indicates an Iranian offensive, including Iranian military personnel, for the next month, and so these attacks are designed to break up that offensive before it starts. (I have seen a significant amount of reporting that indicates all these things are true, by the way, though without access to the actual intelligence, it’s impossible to form a solid opinion.)

The main idea would be to hit all the terrorist training camps, the known terrorists Iran is harboring (we’d better know about where they are), the leadership and planning cells working on fighting us by proxy in Iraq and the various places manufacturing, storing and shipping weapons being sent to Iraq. If we just happen to take out all the secret police command centers and stations, making insurrection more likely, well, that is just too bad for the Iranian government: they shouldn’t play unless they’re willing to play hard.

Of course, I would also use such an offensive to attack Iranian nuclear sites, though I wouldn’t talk about it, either to confirm or deny. I would merely note that since we’re busy taking out an Iranian threat against us, it would be reasonable to think that we would neutralize the entire threat.

There are potential (and likely) countermoves by Iran, but all of them would be counterable. In particular, if the Iranians were to attack our allies in the Gulf region, we would be treaty-bound to defend those allies, quite aggressively. If Iranian-backed terrorists were to strike in Europe, we would be automatically committed to war under the NATO treaty, and would be able to fight without restraint. If the Iranians were to try to cut off oil shipped from the Gulf, I would reprise the tanker war of the late 1980s (in fact, I’d probably do this preemptively to ensure that the Iranians can’t cut off the supplies).

There would be domestic political implications, of course. The primary one is that while the Democrats could fume, and likely would, I would lay out the evidence publicly, even compromising sources and methods (to the degree that they didn’t get agents killed) if needed, so that there was no doubt that everything I was claiming was, at least, claimed based on the best available evidence. This fuming would, in other words, be largely impotent. Since there would be a minimum 90 day window under the War Powers Act before the attack could be stopped, the Congress would be largely out in the cold even if they could muster the votes to try to stop the action. Moreover, this would carry us through the September report with something much more pressing to talk about, making our continuance in Iraq much more likely, if combined with ratcheting up the rhetoric domestically as to why and how we had to do this.

I remain convinced, in other words, that the public would overwhelmingly support a President, even President Bush, acting openly, transparently, and with the nation’s welfare in mind. In the absolute worst case (absent the Iranians having already developed or purchased working nuclear weapons, which is doubtful at present), the President would have destroyed his already-shaky presidency for the benefit of both proving to our enemies that they cannot take our divisions and passivity for granted as guaranteeing their immunity, and pushing off Iran’s eventual acquisition of nuclear weapons and current interference in Iraq. And there is an additional benefit as well, because those Iraqi militias that are wedded at the hip to Iran would come out fighting, and we would destroy them utterly.

I’m not convinced that this administration could finesse such a series of moves, but I think that it would make the most sense in conventional (Hobbesian) political terms in regards to improving our strategic standing and enabling our eventual success in Iraq.

Won’t happen, but it’s what I would do.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
Well, MK, guess hanging out in the bubble and all you cannot discern what is going on in Iraq right now. I understand. With your limited resources...
Again, I ask the question: What evidence do you have that we are not losing control of events in Iraq?

You miss the point: Bush said the purpose of the surge is to improve the security situation in Iraq. Security means less death, not more, at least in my book. I’m simply using Bush’s metric. Under Bush’s definition of success, we are losing control.

Let’s say you are in charge of the strategy for a group that opposes us in Iraq. You are aware of what American liberals did with the victory in the Tet Offensive. The American liberals are at it again. What is your strategy for this critical time?

Do you
a) Concentrate on recruiting and training for the time America leaves Iraq.
b) lie doggo pending further concrete developments.
c) Observe how effective your propaganda is with American liberals and the hay that those American liberals (such as yourself) are making with the statistics of those killed by bombing, torture, beheading, etc. and pull out all stops and concentrate on running up the body count.
First of all, you proceed from a false premise. AQ wants us in Iraq. Not out. Our very presence is a recruiting tool. Why is this so hard for wingers to understand?

Second, you are seemingly incapable of understanding the nature of the conflict in Iraq. You seem to believe that there is a unified enemy. There is not. Sunnis are killing Sunnis. Shia are killing Shia. Sunnis are killing Shia. Arab Sunnis are killing Kurd Sunnis. AQ are killing Baathists. Iraqi-oriented Shia are killing Iranian-oriented Shia. Some of these groups want the US to stay. Others wants the US to leave. Some want us to both stay and leave.

The enemy are all these groups. We have an ongoing war against AQ. We invaded to topple the Baathists. Sadr has killed American troops. SCIRI is allied with Iran. The PKK has been declared a terrorist group by the US government, and is fighting a guerilla war with our secular ally Turkey.

The situation in Iraq is incredbily complex. That you compare this very complicated situation to Vietnam demonstrates your absence of knowledge about what is going on in Iraq. Vietnam involved a single, unified enemy. Iraq does not.

You seem to be parroting the Bush line of argument: the war in Iraq is primarliy if not exclusively a war against al Qaeda.

So let’s say it is. The argument then continues we have to stay in Iraq in order to bring about the defeat of AQ in Iraq. But that, as I have argued, is another canard. When we leave, the Shia militias will take care of AQ in short order. And they will use methods the US military would never use. AQ in Iraq will be defeated, and Iraq will cease to become a haven for AQ extremists.

And all this nonsense from the Bush administration - that AQ will achieve a propaganda victory if we pull out of Iraq - will be exposed for the BS that it really is. The Shia militias will hunt down the foreign fighters and exterminate them. Each and everyone of them. Some propaganda victory.

Right now, we are figthing on the side of the Iranians in Iraq. You seem to believe that American troops should die for the Iranians. I don’t. That’s how we differ, I guess.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Again, I ask the question: What evidence do you have that we are not losing control of events in Iraq?
What evidence do you have that we are? I can present Michael Yon flatly saying that Anbar is quiet on this visit of his.

If Diyala gets quiet after we move in and Anbar stays much improved, the bubble you are in is popped.
First of all, you proceed from a false premise. AQ wants us in Iraq. Not out
.

Funny, they are killing us and the Shia so that we leave. If they want us to stay, they need to ease up.
Our very presence is a recruiting tool.
Our existence is their recruiting tool. I don’t plan on ending that provocation.
Why is this so hard for wingers to understand?
Because it is not true. The degree to which our presence in Iraq is a recruiting tool for them, it is superfluous, removing it doesn’t help us any.
Second, you are seemingly incapable of understanding the nature of the conflict in Iraq. You seem to believe that there is a unified enemy.
There have been at least two sides from the start and now there are roughly three. Killing within subsets is done to police putative members and is not popular with the tribal leaders who have an interest in keeping their people alive and potentially prosperous. They also don’t like having their grocers beaten to a pulp because they put tomatoes next to cucumbers.

Between subsets, the killing is primarily AQ on Shia, Shia on Sunni, and Sunni of AQ, at least for the last six months. Do keep up.

Given their stated goals, AQ will certainly have a propaganda victory if they are seen to have driven us from Iraq, that reasonably can’t be disputed.
The enemy are all these groups. We have an ongoing war against AQ. We invaded to topple the Baathists. Sadr has killed American troops. SCIRI is allied with Iran. The PKK has been declared a terrorist group by the US government, and is fighting a guerilla war with our secular ally Turkey
Well at least you admit among the irrelevancies that we are killing AQ personnel in Iraq. The Baathists aren’t done in until the elected govt is stable on it’s own and Syria is hobbled. SCIRI does not command. Turkey deserves a knife in the back over their Islamist govt stabbing us in the back by not letting the 4th Div through to northern Iraq—it’s fine if the PKK pushes it in, as long as they don’t go too far—Turkey is only very nominally secular at this time and that Islamist gov’t came in prior to 9/11.

As for Sadr, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. As long as he heels, that time is not yet.
The situation in Iraq is incredbily complex. That you compare this very complicated situation to Vietnam demonstrates your absence of knowledge about what is going on in Iraq. Vietnam involved a single, unified enemy. Iraq does not.
MK, you are wrong that Vietnam involved a unified enemy, witness the North encouraging the VC to immolate themselves in Tet. You are wrong in thinking that the fact the enemies are still more shifting in Iraq changes the gist of what Iran, et al, will try to do in or before September.
the war in Iraq is primarliy if not exclusively a war against al Qaeda.
They are primarily stirring the pot with their bombs, beating AQ that would do much to defang the Shia and relieve the Sunni.
So let’s say it is. The argument then continues we have to stay in Iraq in order to bring about the defeat of AQ in Iraq. But that, as I have argued, is another canard. When we leave, the Shia militias will take care of AQ in short order. And they will use methods the US military would never use. AQ in Iraq will be defeated, and Iraq will cease to become a haven for AQ extremists.
The Shia militias will take care of AQ using means we should find genocidal and unnacceptably brutal and indiscriminately applied—something to be stopped if it can be. If you think they will only settle fair scores, you are a fool. AQ is no haven for AQ now. They struggle to assemble and transport their bombs while the running from place to place without being killed, and frequently they are, and by their former Sunni allies at that.
Right now, we are figthing on the side of the Iranians in Iraq. You seem to believe that American troops should die for the Iranians. I don’t. That’s how we differ, I guess.
Considering the only thing that could most increase Iran’s influence is for us to leave them to act unopposed in Iraq, and that we are actively seizing Iranian operatives in Iraq, what differs is that your views are not grounded in reality.

Well, at least I didn’t lose this long post.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Jules Crittenden says it best:
”Iran wants a Tet. So do the Democrats.

They both need it to accomplish their shared goal — the United States out of Iraq, in the most chaotic and shameful way possible. ...it falls to the Bush administration in this critical time to refuse to seize defeat from the jaws of the Democrats’ surrender.”
I appreciate Mr. Perkins responding to MK. Debating such persons is like debating a kite on a too-short string.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Nice site and information made available is great.
 
Written By: Carl
URL: http://www.google.com/

 
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