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3/27/2007
SENATE SUGGESTS TELLING THE JIHADIS WHEN WE’RE LEAVING

The Senate today rejected an amendment that would have stripped all mention of a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq in the emergency funding bill.

The 50-48 vote defeating an amendment by Thad Cochrane of Mississippi was notable if only because it shows how confused the situation in the Senate is. The measure would require our troops start leaving in 120 days but not lay down a specific timetable for the withdrawal, using March 31, 2008 as a non binding date for our bug out to be complete.

The vote came after the White House reiterated President Bush’s threat to veto any bill that sets deadlines for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

In intensive floor debate before the vote, supporters of the amendment argued that including a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq — even though it is put forth in the Senate bill as a nonbinding “goal” — would hand victory to America’s enemies, while opponents of it said it was time to stop giving President Bush a “blank check” to continue a failed war policy.

Also, the benchmarks that would measure progress by the Iraqi government are also non binding which raises the question of why the hell add them in the first place.

The bill is at odds with the House version that sets actual binding dates for our withdrawal tied to specific benchmarks. But chances are, a House-Senate conference will come up with language that makes either the start or ending of our withdrawal a requirement for the funds to be disbursed with the benchmarks either gone or non binding.

Senator McCain cut short some campaign appearances to show up in the floor of the Senate and give a pretty stirring speech:

In debate on the Senate floor, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) argued strongly against setting a timetable for troop withdrawal, saying a new strategy to secure Baghdad through a “surge” of U.S. combat troops is “succeeding.” He told the Senate, “What we must not do is to give up just at the moment we’re starting to turn things around in Iraq.”

Setting a timetable “risks a catastrophe for American national security interests,” said McCain, who canceled a series of fundraisers in Florida for his presidential campaign to return to Washington for today’s expected close vote.

“This legislation is a plan for failure,” McCain said of the underlying bill. “It demonstrates to the [Iraqi] government that they cannot rely on us. It tells the terrorists that they, not we, will prevail.”

A certain Bush veto will dump the problem right back into the laps of Reid and Pelosi at which point they will have a serious decision to make. Even though the American people support their idea of a timetable for withdrawal, the troops in the field only have enough funding through April 15th. After that, things start to get dicey for the troops and pressure will mount on the Democrats to give in to Bush in order to fund the troops. Do they dare play chicken with the Commander in Chief by refusing to pass a bill he can sign?

A better question might be can Bush work with Congressional Democrats to come up with language that both sides can agree on? Is he even willing to do so?

My guess is no, we won’t see the White House compromising one inch on a binding date for starting or ending the withdrawal. And since this is the Ur issue for most Congressional Democrats, there is a very real chance that April 15th will come and go without an emergency spending bill. Both sides will then concentrate on trying to shift blame for abandoning the troops on to the other - a most unedifying spectacle to be sure not to mention an extraordinarily dangerous game considering the consequences to the troops.

The only way this can be avoided is if Bush gets to work on some of the Blue Dog Democrats, reaching out to them to address some of their concerns. Ronald Reagan was able to do this on a regular basis with the “Boll Weevils” of his time and got much of what he wanted in the way of tax and budget cuts. But Bush has demonstrated a singular inability in the past to reach across the aisle and bring along wavering Democratic moderates on any issue. But with the stakes so high, he really ought to try.

Of course, Reid and Pelosi would crack the whip if they sensed any weakening of resolve on the part of a couple of Blue Dogs. And if there was any weakening of the language regarding the timetable, chances are Pelosi would also lose the support of some of the far left who voted for the measure the first time around even though they believed it didn’t go far enough.

At this point, it is difficult to see how to resolve the differences of the two sides. In the end, the necessity of funding the troops may make all of the political maneuvering moot and the President may get most of what he wants without the binding timetables but with benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet. That’s the best the Democrats could hope for at this point.

By: Rick Moran at 7:28 pm
25 Responses to “SENATE SUGGESTS TELLING THE JIHADIS WHEN WE’RE LEAVING”
  1. 1
    The Sandbox Trackbacked With:
    8:21 pm 

    Senate Passes Iraq Timeline

    Well, I’m officially disgusted:Defying a veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Senate narrowly signaled support Tuesday for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by next March. Republican attempts to scuttle the non-binding timeline failed o…

  2. 2
    mkultra Said:
    9:02 pm 

    Keep sending Bush bills with timelines. Congress approves funds, Bush vetoes funds. Congress approves funds, Bush vetoes funds.

    So who is failing to fund the troops?

  3. 3
    Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator Trackbacked With:
    9:19 pm 

    Senate Iraq vote could come down to wire

    An upcoming Senate vote on the Iraq war could come down to just one or two votes, testing Democratic

  4. 4
    B.Poster Said:
    10:13 pm 

    Rick

    I think you are one of the best bloggers on the internet, however, there is a part of your analysis that I very respectfully think you got wrong. You write: “Even though the American people support the idea of a timetable for withdrawl, the troops in the field only have enough funding through April 15th. After that things start to get dicey for the troops and pressure will mount on the Democrats to give in to Bush in order to fund the troops. Do they dare play chicken with the Commander in Chief on Chief by refusing a bill he can sign.”

    Very respectfully I think a more accurate representation would be as follows: The American people support a timetable for withdrawl. The troops in the field only have enough funding through Apil 15th. After that things start to get dicey for the troops and pressure will mount on President Bush to give in to the Democrats in order to fund the troops. Does President Bush dare play chicken with Congress by refusing to sign whatever bill they send him that will fund the troops.

    Unfortunately both sides may have stepped to far out on a proverbial ledge. They may think they cannot reach an acceptable compromise and save face. In the mean time, our troops get screwed. Also, if things should get dicey for the troops, Iran may choose this time to launch their attack. It is truly sad to see both major political parties playing politics with our troops during the middle of a war for our survival. I think most of them either can’t or won’t grasp the stakes.

    John McCain had this about right when he pointed out that setting a timetable “risks a catastrophe for American national security interests.” Unfortunately few people are listening. If the US withdraws from Iraq to quickly, Al Qaeda, Iran, or some combination of them will gain control of the country. If the US continues with this “Democracy” thing, Iran may use the democratic process to gain control of the country. They have already gained significant influence within Iraq. Its hard to see how having Al Qaeda and/or Iran gaining control of Iraq could have a good ending for the US. This becomes even worse now that both political parties have decided to play politics with the military. This is truly disgusting.

    The bottom line is President Bush and the Republicans will likely have to accept the binding resolution for a date certain for withdrawl of the troops from Iraq. This is going to make American national security far more difficult. We will just have to win the Global War on Terror some other way. Sometimes the optimal policy cannot be implemented. We must stick to policies we can implement.

    I suggest the following: 1.)Secure the borders. Halt all immigration from Muslim lands. The mosques will need to be monitored closely, after all we know which groups that terrorists are likely to be from. Common sense would seem to suggest that these groups should be watched closely. 2.) The US is sitting on about 140 billion barrels of recoverable oil under its land and off of its coasts. We should immediately begin to develop this oil. If we do this, we can limit some of the money that is available to our enemies. In time, we may be able to defeat them without ever firing another shot!!

  5. 5
    Gary Denton Said:
    2:43 am 

    This is setting up a later game of chicken with the President over funding with the advantage with the Democrats. They pass a bill with the money but stating withdrawal must start soon. Bush vetoes. They pass the same bill. Does Bush want the money for the troops or not?

    What are the odds Bush-Cheney will do a big throw of the dice and attack Iran with planes and cruise missiles just before April 15th? I bet over 50%.

  6. 6
    Drongo Said:
    7:32 am 

    ““What we must not do is to give up just at the moment we’re starting to turn things around in Iraq.””

    This from the man who claims that an American can wander around in many part of downtown Bagdhad quite safely. I wouldn’t put much faith in McCain’s pronouncments.

    Let’s face it, the initial PR about this surge followed the usual “turning point”, “One last heave”, “We are winning” storyline, but it still ignores the strategic fact that winning = further empowering corrupt, murderous, Iran friendly islamists.

    Even if we were, which, given the fairly obvious fact that it isn’t working (as the man says, there is no military solution, and if you see a political solution coming then you must have better eyesight than me because Allawi’s efforts just fell to bits again leaving SCIRI/Dawa/Sadr undisputed kings of the hill again), is pretty dubious.

    Oh and, while we’re there, do you see Al-Sadr being pressured? No, not really. About the only good news we have is that some Sunni tribes are turning against Al-Q in a big way but don’t for a second confuse that with them stopping hating the US.

    Face it, your choices are;

    1) Stay, get shot at, wear out your military and creep closer and closer to the terrible mistake that would be war with Iran, and watch Iraq burn or

    2) Leave, don’t get shot at, rebuild your military, avoid war with Iran and watch Iraq burn.

    You’ve lost already, in fact you lost long ago. The only question remaining is “How many of your own do you want to die before you accept that?” The democrats seem to be saying “As few as possible”, Bush seems to be saying “You can’t kill enough of us for us to accept that”.

    Let’s be honest. The Iraqi insurgents know that in 2008 you will have a democratic president. They know that when that happens they will be looking for a way to end this war. Writing down timetables doesn’t change that fact, they know their timetable already.

    And that doesn’t make them traitors, it means that they have a different opinion on what is best for the US.

  7. 7
    Pug Said:
    8:06 am 

    It seems to me that George W. Bush and the Republicans have a problem here. The bill passed by the Democrats is exactly what the public favors, funding for the troops and a resolution to get our troops out of Iraq soon. In conference, the dates will probably be made non-binding, as in the House version, but this isn’t a winner for Bush as the public strongly supports a timeline for withdrawal.

    I understand Republicans are dying to pin the “they de-funded troops in the field” label on the unpatriotic Dems, but that is not what the Democrats did and the whole Republican political strategy seems to be backfiring badly. If the bill isn’t exactly what W wants, I don’t think the public has a problem with that. This is looking like another major miscalculation by Bush and Co.

  8. 8
    gregdn Said:
    8:32 am 

    Rick, you’ve written many posts suggesting that our mission in Iraq is unwinnable, if for no other reason than the Iraqi Government’ intractability.
    Yet when the Dems decide to do something about it you criticize them.
    Even Bush has admitted the ’surge’ is a last ditch effort. If it succeeds we won’t need to be there next year. If it fails we shouldn’t be there either.

  9. 9
    martin morgan Said:
    8:37 am 

    Just examine the premises of your analysis.

    You’re scheming a vote whipping strategy to keep a war going! Sorry, dude, but when a war becomes the domain of a political faction, it’s over.

    Bush failed as a war president. He forsook national unity and consciously chose to make it a Republican war (remember Rove’s “liberals want to give Osama psychotherapy” speech?).

    Wrong war, wrong time, wrong president.

  10. 10
    Rick Moran Said:
    8:46 am 

    Greg:

    I think what I’ve said in the past that we have to redefine what victory means - something many on the right have refused to do. And, of course, I’ve made the point many times that no matter what happens in Iraq, the left, the media, and most of the world will chalk it up as a defeat for the United States.

    Having said that, I think that there is still hope for a decent outcome in Iraq. I think commenters like Drongo wildly exaggerate the influence of Iran - even on the SCIRI and Badr Organization. Iran is playing on the fringes of Iraqi politics but their influence is largely rejected by most mainstream Shias. After all, less than 20 years have elapsed since the Iranians killed almost a million Iraqis in the war.

    The moves to engage Iran by Maliki have more to do with common sense than brotherhood. Iran is a regional powerhouse. Iraq is currently the 98lb weakling. They really have little choice but to establish friendly relations with a powerful neighbor - one who also has not forgotten the war.

    But the major point still stands - that there can be a tremendous improvement in security which absolutely must lead to political changes or, as you suggest, we will abandon Maliki and his Shia nationalists to their fate.

    And I think that timetables are self defeating by definition - clearly a political ploy by the Democrats to place the onus of defeat on Bush and the Republicans. This would seem to suggest that while many say that victory and defeat have no meaning with regards to Iraq, the Democrats almost surely believe they do. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be trying so hard to bring about a defeat they can blame Republicans for in 2008.

  11. 11
    Drongo Said:
    9:35 am 

    “I think commenters like Drongo wildly exaggerate the influence of Iran – even on the SCIRI and Badr Organization. Iran is playing on the fringes of Iraqi politics but their influence is largely rejected by most mainstream Shias. After all, less than 20 years have elapsed since the Iranians killed almost a million Iraqis in the war.”

    And I think that you virtually ignore who SCIRI (Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq remember) and Badr are. Question, who trained the Badr Brigade? Who sheltered SCIRI when Saddam wanted their heads? Where were their leaders in the Iran Iraq war?

    Do I think that they take their orders from Tehran? Not all of them, but a few do no doubt.

    On the Iran-Iraq war thing, I find it notable that people refer to Saddam as a Sunni oppressor of the Shiites and Kurds when they look internally, but are happy to refer to “Iraq” and “Iran” fighting. If Saddam was a Sunni oppressor then the war was between a Sunni oppressor and the Shiite fatherland. Hell, Jafari was apologising for it a while back and most of the leaders of Iraq spent those years hiding in Iran.

    And on the “Only 20 years” thing, France and Germany signed the treaty of Rome 12 years after WWII.

    And again, you compare mainstream Shias with their leaders. One group lived through Husseins oppression, the other hid out in Iran.

    For heaven’s sake, Iraqis have been refering to their government as Iranians for ages. One of the things that buys Sadr street cred is that he didn’t run to Iran.

    “But the major point still stands – that there can be a tremendous improvement in security which absolutely must lead to political changes or, as you suggest, we will abandon Maliki and his Shia nationalists to their fate.”

    When? How long do you think would be reasonable before we say “OK, that’s it, you couldn’t play nice so we’re going home”. How about a year?

  12. 12
    Roderick Said:
    9:54 am 

    B.Poster: If the US withdraws from Iraq to quickly, Al Qaeda, Iran, or some combination of them will gain control of the country. If the US continues with this “Democracy” thing, Iran may use the democratic process to gain control of the country. They have already gained significant influence within Iraq. Its hard to see how having Al Qaeda and/or Iran gaining control of Iraq could have a good ending for the US.

    Roderick: So what is the criteria for eventual withdrawal?

    You have already stated that Iran already has influence in the Iraqi government so how do we root out that influence before we leave?

    The answer is-we can’t and since Syria and Iran border Iraq it only a matter of time after we leave- be it six months from now or 60 years the result will be the same so why waste more money and American soldiers on this folly.

    B.Poster: This becomes even worse now that both political parties have decided to play politics with the military. This is truly disgusting.

    Roderick: Dude what have you been smoking?

    Bush has played politics with the military since 9/11 happened and he has continued to play fast and lose with the military before Iraq ( not sending in enough troops to do the job and some soldiers not knowing that they would be occupying the country after the invasion) to refusing to acknowledge how Iraq is hurting military readiness and turning a deaf ear to calls from both sides of the aisle in Congress to increase the size of the military before the results of last November’s election made his position politically untenable and he finally agreed to add the 96,000 troops.

  13. 13
    pd Said:
    10:09 am 

    “clearly a political ploy by the Democrats to place the onus of defeat on Bush and the Republicans.”

    I can completely understand one growing cynical especially after spending many years following politics. But in this case I do think the Democrats are doing what they were elected and put into the majority by the American people to do and that is to try to alter the course of things in Iraq.

    How many times to we need to hear “just another 6 months” before we get it? These guys are just playing for time and Bush doesn’t want to be
    the President who oversees the Iraqi pullout.

    Iraq is in a civil war. The Iraqi’s have to do the heavy lifting themselves and its sad to say but I think they’re going to have to end up fighting it out. The Dems putting parameters on this occupation no more “aids the enemy” than the idea we’re going to keep the troops in Iraq until we have peace and stability. Following the same kind of reasoning what would stop the insurgents, the violent types from simply being good until the Americans leave Iraq?

  14. 14
    B.Poster Said:
    10:54 am 

    Roderick

    The criteria for eventual withdrawl from Iraq should be after we have established a government that is allied with the US in the GWOT and is stable. If we are not going to make an effort to do this, then we should withdraw to “fortress America” straight away.

    It is going to be very difficult to root out Iran’s influence. The best we may be able to do is to contain it in much the same way that we contained the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

    I don’t smoke. Smoking is for fundamentally unserious people. You are correct that Bush has played politics with the military. I have called for him impeachment on this site and others. Whether Bush has played politics with the military or not does not alter the fact that the US faces an enemy who poses an existential threat to it. I also agree that the size of the military should be increased. I don’t think 96,000 is nearly enough. I think we should go on a war footing simillar to the mobilization we did for WWII. Even if these additional troops are not used in Iraq, they will likely be needed somewhere. They will probably be needed for homeland defense.

    When the Democrats voted to confirm General Petraeus they should have known full well what his strategy would be. An anti-war position is an honorable one, however, the way the Democrats have gone about it is questionable. They should simply vote to cut off funds immediately and bring the troops home and they should not have voted to confirm General Petraeus. The Democrats, like President Bush, seem to be playing politics with this.

    Finally, Republicans may be dispicable vermin. Democrats may be dispicable vermin or they may be angels. The fact still remains that the US is in a fight for its survival. Conceeding Iraq to Al Qaeda, Iran, or some combination of those two will make an enemy who poses an existential threat to the US even more formidable. No matter how bad Bush or the Democrats are we cannot afford to allow ourselves to be distracted.

  15. 15
    trrll Said:
    11:36 am 

    Given how reckless the President has been to this point, I think that he’ll win if it comes down to “playing chicken.” Congress will definitely believe that he is willing to sacrifice American soldiers’ lives to get his own way.

    As for setting a date for withdrawal, presumably that will have to be done at some time, unless we are planning to stay forever. The logistics of withdrawal are such that American forces could not simply vanish suddenly one night under cover of darkness. So the terrorists will inevitably know when we are leaving, and they will most certainly know when we are gone. So the real question is, “How long are we willing to give Iraq to develop the capability to provide for its own security, given the inevitability that the terrorists WILL know when the US will be leaving?”

  16. 16
    Roderick Said:
    4:17 pm 

    B.Poster:The criteria for eventual withdrawl from Iraq should be after we have established a government that is allied with the US in the GWOT and is stable. If we are not going to make an effort to do this, then we should withdraw to “fortress America” straight away.

    Roderick: How long do you believe it will take to obtain this goal and how much money do you think the American taxpayers are willing to spend to accomplish the unrealistic goal?

    B. Poster: It is going to be very difficult to root out Iran’s influence. The best we may be able to do is to contain it in much the same way that we contained the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

    Roderick: So the only way to ‘contain’ Iran would be to leave U.S. troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan indefinitely, correct?

    B. Poster: Whether Bush has played politics with the military or not does not alter the fact that the US faces an enemy who poses an existential threat to it.

    Roderick: The question that never gets discussed is how do we fight this threat. Unfortunately you right-wing types believe military action is the one and only answer to each and every sitution although terrorism is asymetrical warfare.

    Even doo-doo bird Bush got it right when he said we were going to have to fight a different type of war–but he decided to fight it the same way previous conflicts have been fought.

    B. Poster: I also agree that the size of the military should be increased. I don’t think 96,000 is nearly enough. I think we should go on a war footing simillar to the mobilization we did for WWII. Even if these additional troops are not used in Iraq, they will likely be needed somewhere. They will probably be needed for homeland defense.

    Roderick: Would you support a return of the draft because that is the only way you could get that amount of troops you want for all of these missions?

    B. Poster:When the Democrats voted to confirm General Petraeus they should have known full well what his strategy would be. An anti-war position is an honorable one, however, the way the Democrats have gone about it is questionable.

    Roderick: HUH?
    They gave Bush the man he wanted and even Patraeus said that the surge had ONLY a 1-in-4 shot of working. The Iraq appropriation bill the House passed set a withdrawal deadline for August 31, 2008 and the Senate passed a Spring 2008 withdrawal deadline. If Patraeus can’t make the ’surge’ work given over a year then maybe he wasn’t right man for the job.

  17. 17
    B.Poster Said:
    6:51 pm 

    Roderick

    Thanks for the reply to my post.

    “How long do you think it will take to obtain this goal and how much money do you think the American taxpayers are willing to spend to obtain this unrealistic goal?” I honestly don’t know how long it will take to obtain this goal. As I recall from someone who was a boy during WWII, many American leaders thought it could take twenty years or longer to defeat Nazi Germany. I would be willing to give it as long as it takes but the American people must be behind it. Right now they are not. Unfortunately the Administration has not done a very good job of explaining the stakes and the main stream media has been no help at all either. For a variety of reasons, I don’t think the media or the Administration get it.

    As for how much money the American taxpayers would be willing to spend, we spent over a trillion dollars adjusted for inflation during WWII. We have not spent that much on the GWOT yet. To date, in American history, we spent more on WWII than on any war we have fought. The current enemies of Iran and Al Qaeda pose a far greater threat to the American homeland than Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan ever did or likely ever could have. Also, we are only spending about 2% of the economy on military operations right now. During WWII, Korea, and Vietnam a much higer perecentage of our economy was spent on the war efforts. If the Administration will explain the stakes, they could probably get the American people on board. The bottom line is you spend what ever it will take and I don’t think the goal is unobtainable. Failing to achieve the goal laid out previously likely means conceding the country to Iran, Al Qaeda, or some combination of them. If this happens, American national security and probably the very survival of the country could be placed in grave danger. You don’t win a war against an enemy who poses an survival threat to your country by conceding ground, especially when we don’t have to. If Al Qaeda and/or Iran are allowed to gain complete control of Iraq, they would have an oil rich country as a base of operations. This would make an already formidable foe much more formidable. By withdrawing from Iraq now, it may actually mean we have to spend more on national defense, at least in the short term, as our enemies will be in a much stronger position than they are now. Its hard to tell. With that said, in the long term, we could help ourselves greatly by developing more of our own oil and gas reserves, by implementing tough fuel efficieny standards, and having a more sensible immigration policy. At a minimum, there needs to be a moratorium on immigration from Arab lands.

    “Would you support a return of the draft because that is the only way you could get that amount of troops that you need for all of these missions?” Right now the American people would not support all of these missions so I’m thinking long range. Assuming we withraw from Iraq without achieving a situation where Iraq is stable and allied with the US in the GWOT an enemy who already poses an existential threat to the US will probably gain control of the country and American security will be in even more dire straits than it is currently in. Those additional trained and well armed troops will probably be needed to defend the homeland. With that said the thought did cross my mind. You see, in order to win the GWOT decisively, the regimes in Iran, Syria, and Pakistan are probably going to need to be removed. This will require a much more more potent force structure than we currently have. Also, we will need to keep close tabs on Russia and China. In any event, the US faces a survival threat. If this is not dealt with now, it will only grow even more dangerous. I think we need to have the proper force structure to meet the looming threats of the 21st century. This will probably require a draft. Even if we are not going to use them for foreign missions, they can and should be used for border security.

    I was not aware that General Petraeus only gave the “surge” a 1 in 4 chance of working. Frankly, had I been the President or a member of Congress, I would have told him to go back to the drawing board and come up with a plan that has better odds and if you can’t or won’t we will find someone else for the job. Congress whether they are Democrats or Republicans are not in the business to give the President the man he wants. They are there to evaluate the candidates based on their qualifications and confirm the candidate accordingly. In other words, they are not in the business to rubber stamp presidential appointees. Personally I think President Bush is the worst President in US history. I think he is certainly worthy of impeachment. I hope and pray we can make the surge work between now and 8/31/08 because this is how much time we have. If we fail, this will probably be catastrophic for American security interests.

    With all of this said sometimes the optimal policy cannot be implemented. I’m going to suggest a policy that we should acutally be able to do. 1.) Develop more of our own oil and gas reserves. 2.) Implement tough fuel efficiency standards. Much of the money from our foreign oil purchases is finding its way into the hands of our enemies. Doing these two things will greatly limit the amount of money available to our enemies. This should hamper their ability to wage war on America and the West. 3.) Secure the borders, place a moratorium on immigrants from Muslim lands, and closely monitor the mosques. If we do these things, in time, we should be able to defeat our enemies. We may even be able to do it without firing another shot. Actually these suggestions are all good ideas regardless of the situation elsewhere in the world. In fact, we should have implemented these things right after 911.

    Given that we are unlikely to get the resources we need to deliver a decisive defeat the Jihadists in Iraq, it would probably be best to pull back to Kurdish areas and only intervene in the Iraqi Civil war to try and prevent Al Qaeda from gaining control of the country and to attempt roll back the influence of Iran.

    Is leaving US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan indefinitely the only way to contain Iran? We practiced a policy that included containment against the Soviet Union for almost fifty years. I would hope and pray this one does not take as long but it could. Perhaps it could take longer.

    How do we fight this threat? You are right that this never gets discussed enough. First we have to understand that the enemy poses an existential threat to the US. This enemy is every bit as dangerous to the US as Nazi Germany was. Perhaps even more dangerous. Nazi Germany had no realistic chance of attacking the American homeland successfully, at least not when we joined WWII they did not. This enemy can successfully attack the American homeland. They can even defeat America. This is especially apparent when we factor in their alliances with Russia and China. President Bush did say we will fight a different war. What I think the biggest mistake was we did not use enough troops and we never corrected that problem. I tend to agree with your assessment of “doo doo bird Bush”, however, regardless of what he is or what we think of him or his Administration the US still faces an enemy who poses an existential threat to it. This will remain so whether he is impeached or not. To fight this enemy, I would begin by increasing the size and strength of the military. I would enhance border security and I would implement a more sensible immigration policy. Also, I would open up all of domestic oil and supplies for drilling. In addition, I would implement tough fuel efficiency standards. Fianlly, I would withdraw from Iraq without delay. The American people are unwilling to support our continued involvement there. We need to take whatever time this will buy us to strengthen our military so we are ready for them when they try to attack the “Great Satan.” If I’m wrong about them and they don’t attack, then we have a strong military deterent against anyone who would consider attacking us!!

  18. 18
    B.Poster Said:
    7:04 pm 

    Roderick

    I never gave any suggestion that I am a “right-wing type.” I don’t think there is a military answer to every thing. Also I don’t think every thing has a diplomatic answer either. The strategy employed by many of our enemies whether they are Islamists or communists sems to be try and tie us up in endless diplomacy while they get stronger. A proper foreign policy will focus on both diplomatic and military efforts. Perhaps with better human intellegence we can identify more Arab “moderates” and provide support for them. This is another area the US is very weak in. American human intellegence is not very good. With better human intellegence capabilities we may be able infiltrate our enemies and prevent attacks from occurring. In time, this would serve to lessen the need to use the military.

  19. 19
    gil Said:
    7:44 pm 

    The end game for Bush is to continue his war until he get’s out. Is up to the Republicans to be dumb enough to let him get away with it. After all Republicans will be the ones left holding the bag.

    If you Republicans don’t think that the trashing your party got in 06 was enough….. Then continue to support the Idiot in chief and his war, and you’ll see a new, improved, trashing for the ages in 08. Hell after 08 Republicans will be lucky to walk straight any more if they keep this up.

    As for Bush….. The happiest people to see him go will be the Repubicans themselves. What a disaster of a Presidency, what a moron of a men.

  20. 20
    J Said:
    8:27 pm 

    This is brilliant political strategy by the Democrats.

    See, Bush doesn’t believe that the Iraq war is winnable, he just doesn’t want to own up to that facts and admit it. He wants the next President (who will most likely be a Democrat) to own his mess.

    In either case (the bill passing or a Veto) the Democrats win and reafirm that Bush and the Republicans own this war. If the bill were to pass, the troops come home and its Bush’s legacy of failure.

    If Bush vetos the Bill, then he owns the war in toto, bad for the Republicans when we are still in Irag in 2008.

    It’s brilliant, that why Bush is so angry, its lose-lose for him.

  21. 21
    gil Said:
    8:44 pm 

    Answer to B. Poster.

    Your analysis is right on the money.

    If we get out, or set time tables to get out, all hell will brake loose in the Middle East…. But if we stay as Bush and the Republicans want us to, we simply give our enemies what they want. That is to say keep America in a quagmire from hell for years to come, destroy our Army’s capability to fight, make us trow away hundreds of billions of Dollars, and with a “victory” that will in effect hand over Iraq to Iran in a silver platter. With “victories” like that I’ll take a defeat any day.

    In my opinion this administration from the get go have set up a set of falce choices. Is not stay or get out. It is in my opinion separate the Shiite, the Sunni and the Kurds and send them their separate ways in a loose Confederation… And then get out.

    The moment Bush went from phantom WMD’s to creating a Democracy in Iraq (Nation Building), America’s effort in Iraq was doomed for failure. This Administration is not only incompetent, but is down right delusionaly incompetent. The most tragic thing about Iraq’s mess, is that the Bush and his Administration were WARNED about the consecuences of the invasion by the Arabs, by the Europeans, in fact by the entire world.

  22. 22
    Dick Tuck Said:
    9:27 pm 

    General Petraeus presented congress with a plan that would call for a surge in various insurgent controlled neighborhoods. The basis of the plan is that insurgents would be disarmed and then the outposts would be then turned over to Iraqi Security Forces. The plan also calls for the US to play a support role in any major combat operation, with ISF taking the lead.

    The current proposed bill gives General Petraeus exactly the support he said he needs, and gives him a year and a half to accomplish the mission he laid out for himself.

    Congressional oversight, regarding military use is nothing new. It’s been with us forever in our republic. The most basic example was the passing and subsequent modification to the War Powers Act of 1973. The bill was passed over Richard Nixon’s veto, and has withstood court challenges since. This act requires regular reporting and oversight. And guess what, it also provides congress with the ability to set deadlines and time tables.

    Deadlines were set in 1982, which limited our intervention in Lebanon to 18 months. Deadlines were set in 1992, which forced the withdrawal of all US forces from Somalia by March 31, 1994.

    Congressional oversight of military spending is also nothing new. Even during our greatest (or second greatest, if you include the Civil War) existential crisis, World War II, congress took a proactive role in oversight of military contracts. The effort was led by then Senator Harry Truman.

    Essentially, this bill gives Bush exactly what he’s asked for. This bill gives General Patraeus exactly what he asked for. This bill gives the troops, included returning wounded, exactly the support they claim they need. This bill also provides oversight, clear milestones, and a demand for an exit strategy, leaving security to the elected Iraqi government, with ongoing logistical and training support. This bill does not take away from our military being used to go after al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups that threaten our national security.

    Bush’s proclaimed veto on this tells us quite a bit. It says that he cannot handle oversight or accountability. It says he cares more about his imperial presidency than he does about supporting our troops.

  23. 23
    B.Poster Said:
    12:00 am 

    Gill

    Thanks for the reply to my post. For the US to have any chance of achieving all three goals of, 1.) an Iraq that is allied with the US in the GWOT, 2.) an Iraq that is stable, and 3.) an Iraq that is a representative Democracy will require a mass infusion of more troops either from the US or its coalition partners. Colin Powell and others were right when they suggested that we needed overwhelming force. The problem is we can’t get the type force structure we need. The military simply is not big enough nor are the American people or our willing to make this kind of commitment.

    To continue the current strategy is just slow motion defeat and by the time we are defeated we would no longer have a military capable of defending the American homeland. It seems to me that it would be better to withdraw now and secure our borders. In all likely hood this is an enemy who will follow us home. Also we need to focus more on the biggest threats of Russia and China. Withdrawl may buy us some time to rebuild our military. Also. we would do well to develop more of our own oil and gas reserves.

  24. 24
    B.Poster Said:
    12:20 am 

    Dick Tuck

    I agree with you that President Bush is a bad president but here is a prediction for you. Bush will sign the bill or the Bush administration will reach a compromise with Congress where Congress gets most of what they want. Still it is hard to believe either Congress or the Administration would play these games while Iran is making the moves they are making. This indicates to me that virtually no one in the halls of power in the US or its allies understand the gravity of the threat we face. After all, if our allies got it, they would put pressure on the Administration and Congress to reach an accomodation.

    President Bush especially does not seem to grasp the nature of the threat. This bill, for all its flaws with the pork, funds the troops. If the troops in Iraq are allowed to run out funding, they could become vunerable to an Iranian attack. Even if the troops are fully funded, Iran is a very formidable foe. If the troops don’t have the resources they need, they would be vunerable to being routed by the Iranians.

    Even if the President insists on the veto, The supporters of the bill will probably make concesions to backers of the President to get them to switch sides. They may put more pork in the bill or something. As a result of the compromises, the binding timetable for withdrawl from Iraq will remain in the bill and a veto proof bill will arrive on the President’s desk, so that if he vetoes it Congress will over ride the veto and the troops will get the funding they need.

  25. 25
    Drongo Said:
    4:42 am 

    “If Al Qaeda and/or Iran are allowed to gain complete control of Iraq, they would have an oil rich country as a base of operations.”

    Just to bring it back down to Earth, there is no way that Al-Q could take over Iraq. There is also no way that they would split Iraq with Iran.

    What is more likely is some combination of Sadrists and Shiite Islamists controlling the center with a constant insurgency in the Sunni areas.

    It is always worth remembering that Al-Q *hates* Shiites more than they hate the US. Shiites alike *hate* Al-Q.

    And, of course, Iran alreasy has an oil-rich base of operations - Iran.

    “in order to win the GWOT decisively, the regimes in Iran, Syria, and Pakistan ”

    With all respect, you are going into bizarro land here. What do you think would happen in Iran and Syria if you toppled the regimes there? Flowering democracy and moderation again? Hardly, you would end up with a different bunch of Islamists in Iran and would swap a secular regime in Syria for another Islamist one. Has Iraq taught you nothing?

    As for the lunacy of toppling the regime in Pakistan, well, the less said about that, the better. What do you think would happen if the US toppled Musharaf?

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