March 8, 2007

The Doomed Plan To Doom Iraq

The Democrats unveiled their latest version of Cut and Run, which will demand a total withdrawal from Iraq by no later than the fall of 2008 -- just in time for the Presidential election. The plan forces President Bush to certify that the Iraqi government has met a series of benchmark tests, and any failure will trigger an immediate and early withdrawal:

House Democrats today unveiled a plan for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of August 2008, introducing legislation that attaches a complex series of conditions to military spending requested by President Bush.

The plan, described in a Capitol Hill news conference by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders, would require Bush to certify that the Iraqi government is meeting military, political and economic benchmarks. If he cannot, it would move up the U.S. withdrawal to as early as the end of this year.

Regardless of Iraqi progress in meeting the benchmarks, the plan calls for the gradual redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq starting March 1, 2008, and ending within six months.

Republicans immediately denounced the proposal as a recipe for U.S. failure in Iraq, and the White House threatened a veto if it ever reached the president's desk.

The plan represents the toughest congressional challenge to Bush's Iraq war policy to date. It also marks the first time that Democrats, who took control of Congress in last year's midterm elections, have set a firm deadline for pulling U.S. combat troops out of Iraq after four years of an increasingly unpopular war that has left nearly 3,200 Americans dead and more than 23,000 wounded.

Bush threatened to veto any bill that included hard deadlines for withdrawal, and apparently this one in particular. It's doubtful it will ever get that far. Democrats expect to peel off a few Republicans by pointing out that they're not cutting off funding for the war, but that's pretty thin gruel. Jumping through all of these hoops practically guarantees that outcome, and probably sometime this summer.

John Boehner spoke for the Republicans today, calling the bill a recipe for failure. Noting that the Senate just confirmed David Petraeus in his new role as commander in the theater, Boehner said that tactics and strategy should be his bailiwick and not Congress'.

Instead of focusing on losing the war, Petraeus needs to focus on winning it, and Congress needs to get out of his way. This gives a roadmap for the terrorists to follow to drive the US out of Iraq. All they have to do is read the list of benchmarks and do whatever they can do to block the first one, and Congress will declare defeat and run for the hills.

Expect the Republicans to successfully filibuster this bill in the Senate.


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