May 9, 2007

Democrats Move Closer To De-Funding

The Democrats have moved closer to using their actual Constitutional power to defund the Iraq war in a compromise bill being floated in the House. In the new supplemental, funding for the troops in Iraq would only be unconditional for two months. After that, it would cease entirely unless the Iraqis passed an oil revenue sharing plan and other restructuring bills that have not progressed as planned:

A House Democratic proposal introduced yesterday that would give President Bush half of the money he has requested for the war effort, with a vote in July on whether to approve the rest, hinges on progress in meeting political benchmarks that Iraq has thus far found difficult to achieve.

The House measure, which could come to a vote as early as tomorrow, would substantially raise the pressure on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government to meet lagging commitments -- including new laws on oil revenue and de-Baathification, constitutional revisions, provincial elections and the demobilization of militias -- that Bush has said are crucial to the success of the U.S. military strategy.

The plan would make about $43 billion of the administration's requested $95.5 billion immediately available to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, train troops from both nations and pay for other military needs. Congress's approval of the rest, intended to last through September, would await Iraqi passage of restructuring laws, or Bush's ability to prove that significant progress had been made. The July vote would mark the first time a mandatory funding cutoff would come before Congress.

Most of the anticipated Iraqi changes are locked in disputes among and within regional and sectarian groups, and some have moved further from agreement in recent weeks. A deadline of next Tuesday for presenting a constitutional revision package to the Iraqi Parliament is likely to be only partially met, Bush administration officials said. A group of oil and gas laws due by the end of the month remains mired in debate.

One concession has to be made, which is that the Democrats have finally started to work within their Constitutional authority. Prior plans used elaborate ruses to force the President to end the war by juggling troop requirements and the like, all of which infringed on his authority as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Hillary Clinton has begun to pursue an equally noxious violation of the Constitution by attempting to revoke the original authorization for the war, which she and other Democrats claim the President could not veto. It would amount to a diktat by the legislative branch, one about which the Supreme Court would have to squelch its laughter before throwing it out with great force.

Now they have decided to pursue defunding, the only real option available, and one that has been available all along. It's still a very bad idea. One cannot fight war on an installment plan. If the Democrats want to defund the war, then do it, but putting General Petraeus on a 60-day revolving credit account is ludicrous. It takes a tremendous amount of staging and planning to conduct a war, and that applies even more to a counterinsurgency strategy. One simply cannot roll this out, back in, and then back out again without incurring tremendous costs in both people and money.

I agree that pressure has to be brought on the Maliki government, and so we must signal that we have limited patience with Iraqi brinksmanship. However, we also have to make sure that the signal we send Maliki doesn't get confused with the signals we send to ordinary Iraqis, who have trusted us to this point to be working on their behalf. If we continue to signal that we are looking for an excuse to bug out, they will start looking for the strongest warlords in the vicinity to protect them from the coming collapse. We already see this in the south, where the British withdrawal has prompted a power struggle between Shi'ite factions to see which will prevail.

We need to remain steadfast if Iraq has any hope of becoming a stable, unified nation. Given that a failure in that regard will give terrorist groups a haven from which they can stage attacks around the world, it is in our national interest to see that the Iraqis succeed and to stay until the job is finished. The potential for destruction otherwise is too great to allow a collapse to happen simply because we wanted a faster timetable for re-Baathification.


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Comments (12)

Posted by quickjustice [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 9:04 AM

The Democrats' "slow bleed" strategy continues. In the short term, I fear it will succeed. In the long term, it will cost both Iraqis and Americans exponentially more lives. I shudder to think what it will do to the morale of our military.

Of course, the Democrats don't care about the long term. And having abandoned the "politics ends at the waters edge" custom that formerly united our nation in foreign policy, they will find it as difficult to govern when they take the presidency as it is for the Bush Administration now.

The Republicans implemented a good foreign policy, but executed badly. It took an adverse congressional election to wake this Administration up.

The Democrats advocate for a horrible foreign policy, which they're executing well. (Exhibit A: Pelosi kowtows to Assad.)

The Democrats will reap what they now sow.

Posted by richard mcenroe [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 9:05 AM

What this means is that the Democrats are moving closer to a measure for which they will actually have to take responsibility. It remains to be seen whether that scares them more than it scares Maliki.

And I take issue with your talk of Iraqi brinkmanship. The US had to deal with just 13 states and two parties, and look how long it took us to work out a viable Constitution, Last I heard, the Iraqis had to deal with over 200 separate parties and factions. Just figuring out what everyone's demands _are_, let alone addressing them, is a logistical nightmare that would have sent Adams and Frankling straight to the nearest bar...

Posted by Angry Dumbo [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 10:35 AM

Interesting thought. Assuming the Democrats are now effectively managing the war on terror with the new benchmarks forcing the President to pull out of Iraq.

What then is the urgency for a Democrat in the White House in 2008? If, as planned, Democrats run the war in Iraq into the ground by the Fall of 2008 are they killing the gift that keeps on giving?

Does Iraq in flames as a background for the 2008 presidential election cycle actually help Democrats?

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 11:04 AM

Chomsky has a very narrow credential. After that, he's as much as a "maven" as you and I.

Yet there does seem to be a Titanic of sorts out there.

What with Cheney in Riyadh, as well as I-R-A-K, you should get an idea that the "captain of the USA" seems to think there's "troubled-waters" ahead for himself. And, his crew.

And, yes. The Saud's have made their "investment." Where what they thought was gold, isn't turning the world around, and giving Arabia bigger, better Mideast borders. (Even with Olmert at the helm in Israel. The People aren't moving along the "let's throw the bum out track." BECAUSE? They're not asking for new elections!)

And, instead of worrying about the least likely scenarios; why not consider that there are PROBLEMS we should recognize a bit better?

Iraq ain't gonna get stabilized soon! But the factions vying for power are OUTSIDE of Iraq's borders, more so than inside the country. Where the Iraqis will get to vote again. And, again. They don't seem to like America's CIA picks all that much, either.

And, the democrats are onto something. How big a fish? It's still under the surface. No one can tell. All you know is that there's been a "slump" in Bush's ratings.

And, the air travel to Riyadh's arleady made me very suspicious. You'd be surprised at the books that started flowing in the 1980's. About "SLEEPING WITH THE DEVIL."

How the plot thickened under Jimmy Carter; with Z'Big'new. And, his idea (which worked), to bankrupt the russians in Afghanistan. And, where we were arming any nut over there who was willing to fight and die for (sad to say this) Islam. That's where Osama learned his ropes.

The Bin Laden's have more early deaths on its family tree than the Saud's. But the two houses "connect" at the point where the wealth is astronomical.

In a free country you are always going hear points of view that come from all over the map. It's your job to sift this stuff.

Just like religious texts. There are lots of them. But most people pick the one's they want. And, discard the rest.

I pretty much take for granted that there are two minority parties in the USA. Swamp lands, left and right. With the media, for the most part, way left.

And, those on the right? They don't see icebergs as anything more than stpid signs from Algore.

I guess what's surprised me the most is how the "footsteps" in Iraq, have footprints leading from Jimmy Carter's days. Where covert was the only operation he was willing to sign onto.

It was a real deal with the devil.

The short term goals? Met. A real stella meeting it was. But it empowered the Saud's. And, that's why we are here, now. With the Saud's upset that they've risked so much; and they don't stand in a position to gain. Angry sons of bitches.

While? A backlash has developed.

I don't think the donks are in charge of the backlash. But I think the GOP can suffer, mightily, and get blamed; if they're unaware of the mood of the people.

While in Israel, so far, Olmert holds on.

One of the things Olmert did, when he shifted to Labor; and away from the "titans" of Likud; was to keep the levers of Israeli politics out of the hands that Arik Sharon, himself, identified as "enemies" to a fair government style.

Olmert doesn't have people skills. Well? Neither did LBJ. But LBJ tanked. While I see Olmert is tenacious.

Where, in Israeli politics, by shifting thousands of jobs to Labor. Given them portfolios they couldn't get their hands on, otherwise; has actually tamed on the Israelis' "beasts."

It takes a long time for the daylight to appear, after a very dark, and violent night.

We're a far, far way from making the world "safe for democracy." And, in the end? Bush is writing chapters for the GOP, that won't tolerate sunlight. When sunlight finally appears.

Why is anyone surprised at how Iraqis are fighting, now? There are three places on earth, with natural wealth. The Saud's have one. Iran has the other. And, Iraq's better than Iran's, in terms of what's under the ground, and ready for exploitation.

Heck, if russia didn't have natural resources; and nukes. What would she have left after the 1980's?

Yup. We were fighting the ruskie's. And, the bear ain't the problem the towel heads are, to say the least.

Truth is known to finally make appearances. If not? You'd have thought hitler was a hero. Instead of a dude that bankrupted his own country. And, stuck all their enlightment down the toilet. I guess, like Arafat, we should give him the credit of being "the king of the flushes?" Nope. Not a Royal Flush at all.

Too bad money can be earned by those who least deserve it. (The Man Upstairs is not without a sense of humor.)

Posted by Fight4TheRight [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 11:11 AM

All I can say is I'm glad that another country isn't giving the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate 2 months to reform and make Social Security and Medicaire viable through the year 2080!

That issue make take us more like....4 months?

For that matter....shouldn't the House at least give the Iraqi's the same amount of time to reach these "benchmarks" as it has taken the House to pass the Supplemental Bill? :smirk:

Posted by SouthernRoots [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 11:26 AM

Funding in 2 month chunks? How stupid. The meetings and hearings just to determine if the Iraqi government is meeting the demands would take longer than that.

Agreeing and passing the legislation has shown to take longer than two months. The urge to put in more pork would be irresistable and would slow the whole process.

2 month funding. How stupid.

Posted by Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 11:52 AM

I hope when the mushroom clouds eventually start rising above the U.S. Reid, Pelosi and Murtha are together so they have a couple of minutes to congratulate each other on how well they handled the war just before they die. Three would be OK. Anything longer is more than they deserve.

I added an excerpt and link to my 2007.05.09 Dem Perfidy // Islamism Delenda Est Roundup

Posted by hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 5:25 PM

The democrats said we have lost and they mean it. They are desperate for some unfathomable reason to make sure we lose this war. Their word will never be taken seriously by anyone in this country or elsewhere. Of course the blowback will carry them into defeat in 2008 and long after.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 7:38 PM

Bush is a fool and idiot and you loons would follow him right off a cliff, so be it. What do you people want?Permanent occupation? When we do leave there will be a power struggle, whether its a year or 100 years. The neo-con agenda is dead. Bush wants an escalation, not a surge. The american people want out. Are they all traitors?Or are you neo-cons fools? Iraq is broken, we can't undo the mess King George did to that country. Its a sectarian war now, you can't put that genie back in a bottle. And Keemo, your the #1 MORON on this site. IMHO

Posted by SouthernRoots [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 8:52 PM

conservative democrat - Why don't we leave Germany? Bosnia? South Korea? We're not actively fighting there, and some of the wars we went to there have been over for more than 50 years. When would be a good time to pull out of those countries?

If the Dems want out , they should quit playing games and defund immediately. Of course, if they did and greater genocide took over in Iraq, they would shoulder a good portion of the blame for that outcome and they don't want to take that political risk.

It's the games they are playing that are stupid. They are less interested in winning or just getting out than they are in trying to score political points on the backs of whoever they have trample on - the soldiers, the Iraqi people, the Iraqi government, and the American people that do not agree with their approach.

By the way - all Americans want the troops to come home. But not all of them want them to come home as losers of war.

Posted by matterson [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 10, 2007 2:07 AM

What kind of drooling moron thinks the war would end if we withdrawl from Iraq?

Did the terrorism end after we withdrew from Somalia?

Heck, did the muslimes stop attacking the west after the Crusaders withdrew from the Holy land?

Do I really need to answer these questions for the trolls? (aka drooling morons)

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 10, 2007 3:07 AM

John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address, Friday, January 20, 1961: Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

At times like this I think of those words while I glance over TOWCHACD's* standard single paragraph stream of consciousness anti-Bush rant and then I think what the hell happened to the democratic party? I know, I know, JFK couldn't have foreseen this level of republican ineptitude and that's why he neglected to add the necessary qualifications and caveats and yaddda yadda yadda. Some people here make the mistake of believing that you're sincere when you really couldn't care less about the loss of innocent life. For you it's all about rooting for your team.

* The One Who Calls Himself A 'Conservative Democrat'