July 12, 2007

'This Bill Is About Politics'

The House just passed a resolution that demands a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. The final vote had more Democrats crossing over to oppose it (10) than Republicans crossing the aisle to support it (4), and it faces a certain veto if it even gets through the Senate:

Iraq has achieved only spotty military and political progress toward a democratic society, the Bush administration conceded Thursday, an unenthusiastic assessment followed quickly by a House vote to withdraw U.S. troops by spring.

The measure passed 223-201 in the Democratic-controlled House despite a veto threat from President Bush, who has ruled out any change in war policy before September. ...

A few hours after Bush's remarks, Democratic leaders engineered passage of legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops to begin within 120 days, and to be completed by April 1, 2008. The measure envisions a limited residual force to train Iraqis, protect U.S. assets and fight al-Qaida and other terrorists.

Unfortunately, the AP writes the bill much more coherently than the Democrats in Congress did. The bill does not define the "residual force" in either size or scope, and it doesn't specify exactly what is meant by "other terrorists". In fact, it is useless as a military plan or as a public policy, and could get interpreted to maintain almost as many troops as are deployed at the moment.

John Shadegg pointed this out in his speech in opposition to the bill. Since his office has kindly provided it, I will post it here in its entirety. I have it in the extended entry, but this point seems the most germane:

First, it is a purely political document, hopelessly vague and meaningless. Let me explain why. The bill turns on two key terms. One, that the United States transition to a ‘limited presence’ in Iraq within the next 120 days; and, two, that the President provide a justification of the ‘minimum force levels required to protect the United States’ national security interests in Iraq.’

While I am pleased that the authors recognize that we are in Iraq to protect our national security interests, again, the legislation is hopelessly vague and therefore meaningless. Neither of these two key terms, ‘limited presence’ and ‘minimum force level required to protect U.S. national security interests,’ is defined. Oh, the bill has a definition section and other terms are defined, but ‘limited presence’ and ‘minimum force level required to protect U.S. national security interests’ aren’t defined. ...

The Chairman of the Armed Services Committee knows exactly why these terms are not defined, and indeed the Democratic Leadership knows why these terms are not defined. They are not defined because they need ambiguity. Indeed, ambiguity in this legislation is essential to its passage. They know that they can’t agree on what the meanings of these terms are. You see, if they defined ‘limited presence’ as too many troops, then their most liberal, most antiwar Members would not vote for the legislation. They couldn’t. And, if they defined limited presence too low, then their Blue Dog Members would not support the bill. Again, this bill is about beating up on the President and about scaring nervous Members of Congress.

This shows why the military cannot be run with 535 Commanders-in-Chief. This does nothing but make war policy especially murky and unwieldy. If this is the caliber of military thinking in the 110th Congress, it's even more imperative to rebuke them for their unconstitutional power grab.

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Comments (34)

Posted by GarandFan | July 12, 2007 6:10 PM

Disgusting. Too bad 223 House members can't be outfitted and parachuted into the middle of Iraq.

Posted by carole | July 12, 2007 6:28 PM

I am with you GarandFan!
Not a spark of courage or decency in the
whole bunch, it seems.
I get so tired of the liberal playing with
the war for their own benefit, and nothing
to do with the troops or the Iraqi people.
All they do is make noise and the people do
not seem to see this, they believe the msm,
which I find to be hardly believeable.
America is looking like a bully, asking
kindergarten children to have the
education to handle all they are being
asked to do and NOW.
If they leave Iraq AGAIN, their is not a
country that will ever listen to America again.
Who could blame them?

Posted by daytrader | July 12, 2007 6:32 PM

It is a totally useless projection of politics.

Even if it passed, it took months to get the surge troops in place and they think you could reverse the process and move how x number of troops in a very short time frame which is a logistical impossibility.

Posted by Lightwave | July 12, 2007 6:58 PM

I see another BACKSTAB (Bash America's Courageous Kids and Support Terrorism Abroad Bill) is on the docket.

Haven't the Dems learned from the fact the last time they tried this stunt that it cut their approval ratings in half among their own party voters?

They're already in the low 20's. I guess they are shooting for the single digits. But hey, the longer the Dems frame "the Iraq war debate" as a bunch of petulant children only interested in pleasing the nutroots versus the President's presentation of the growing evidence that we will win in Iraq given enough time, the more Americans will realize that surrender isn't an option, and the bigger the GOP majority will be in the House and Senate come January 2009.

So by all means, Nancy. Keep up the good work...you're the best weapon the GOP has.

Posted by Lew | July 12, 2007 7:06 PM

There is nothing in this that relates in any way to practical realities. This is pure symbolism and puffery and grandstanding of the rankest order.

Nelson Rockefeller was once quoted as saying that "Most of politics is pointing with pride and viewing with alarm!" and this is a prime example of what he was talking about. This is just a big wet kiss to a segment of the world that despises the very idea of America itself and whose hatred of every aspect of liberty is abundantly blatant every day. It isn't meant to accomplish anything other than encourage every enemy of America's existence to fight harder and never give up hope. Its nothing but a big "High Five" and "Hang in there, baby!" to every murdering butcher out there.

But "We support the Troops!". Yeah, right!

Posted by Carol Herman | July 12, 2007 7:24 PM

Good to remember that Ronald Reagan won his battle with congress. And, yes, we did invade Granada. And, we did oust the Sandinistas. Lots of Americans, remember.

As to this "vote" ... which is missing about 20 people; so I guess not everyone wanted to go on record?

Anyway, so WHAT!

Bush as a veto pen. And, the authority to use it! What makes you think he won't?

What makes you think the Ma & Pa Kettle Show is getting any better? Maybe, there are suckers who invest in crap every day; but what's ahead?

While McPain is complaining "he had to watch his top staff go," while he sank among voters ... because somebody made him wear gay sweaters.

In a "can you top this contest," McPain pulled it off.

Pelosi still got the cleanest rag in town.

Heck, whatever "threat" Cindy Sheehan was to pelosi, by pulling strings, Kos took away Cindy's ability to comment on his blog. Ya know? I don't care.

I think the president has always been at odds with congress; why should now suddenly become an "exception?"

What they tried? Ah, yes. Got Nixon to resign. And, made Woodward a very rich man. So rich, in fact, that it pissed off the "second in command at the FBI," Mark Felt; who was probably also his lover ... And, Felt bemoaned the fact that he didn't get rich from the scam. Typical for scams, if you want my opinion.

And, up ahead? I don't know. But Dubya wanted this job. And, if he doesn't see opportunities growing, then he's blind. Granting he has no tongue, and not wit that lets him deliver funnies on cue. But blind? You think I'm buying that one?

I actually think that Bush's favorable ratings remain higher than those for congress critters. And, it's very possible the point spread will spread. Which would give Bush an ability to leave office NOT in worst place.

By the way, the Iraqis have more money than the Sandinistas. Or just about almost every other country on this planet. IF they want to? They can "halp" fund the troops that are helping them survive. Saddam was a madman! You miss him like you miss Hitler. Stalin. Pol Pot. Or Arafat. And, today? It's official. Arafat died of AIDS. The french didn't keep the secret.

Don't forget one of the other long-term goals in Irak, is to build AIR FORCE BASES! We're not going anywhere! And, congress critters, elected every two years ... are swiftly replaced when voters turn out in very large numbers. 2008? Could become a year of record.

Bush should start searching around his drawers for his veto pen.

Posted by Michael | July 12, 2007 7:26 PM


When I look at anything written by the AP other than the boxscores I think I am reading Pravda. Please dont use them in your analysis. The best way to understand through reading the AP that the surge must be working is their non use of the adjective deteriorating. Almost every AP before the surge used that word. Now it is never used. Something must be happenning as much as they loathe to admit it

Posted by docjim505 | July 12, 2007 7:42 PM

Of course it's about politics. Cap
n Ed
pointed out only today that the dems have it in their power to stop the war at any time simply by cutting funding. This is not only their constitutional perogative but their outright moral duty if they truly believe that Iraq is as bad as they keep telling us. That they don't pull the plug tells me that they are too gutless to take responsibility, don't believe their own rhetoric, or both.

Compare and contrast:

Bush is trying to fight and win a war and, in so doing, bring democracy to a part of the world that has seen damned little of it since the begining of time.

The dems want to quit, but haven't got the guts to do it.

Bush may not be a genius, but you've gotta give the man credit for sticking by his convictions.

The dems merely keep demonstrating that they are gutless quislings.

Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. We have a war to win.

Posted by Joe | July 12, 2007 8:11 PM

70% of the American people want to pull our troops out of the Iraq Civil War.What part of the word mandate don't you neo-cons get? Bush is dragging his party down in a war we can't win. Iraq is a free for all that Bush and Rummy blindly led us into. Wheres Rummy? Wheres Wolfowitz? Eventually the funds will be cut off and this fiasco will be over. 70% 70% 70%

Posted by richard mcenroe | July 12, 2007 8:13 PM

Joe -- what part of that mandate don't the _Democrats_ get? All they have to do is turn off the money and turn their backs as the Iraqis die. Hell, it worked in Cambodia....

Posted by Scott Malensek | July 12, 2007 8:14 PM

Could this be the greatest fubar in DNC history? Think about it, if President Bush decides not to veto it, but to sit on the measure until AFTER Gen Petraeus reports, then he can sign it, and Democrats can't claim they forced withdrawal....because he sat on it. Instead, they have to go along with Admin spin that the measure is signed because of American victory, and if it weren't the case he wouldn't sign it. Dems would then have to go along...claiming victory. Even if they didn't, if W signs it, then the genocidal blood is on their hands.

BAD move for Dems. Appeases their base, but kills them in the critical voting period between General P's Sept briefing and the Feb 5 primaries.
What we need is for the President to very publicly sit on it and very publicly say he's gonna wait until General P's assessment in Sept/Oct. That corners the left bigtime imo.

Remember, the worst case scenario for Democrats isn't a defeat in Iraq, it's a defeat in Iraq that they OWN. They do NOT want to be the owners of defeat. They need convincing nuiance to hold their hands up and say, "it's not our fault there's a genocide." To that end, this bill NAILS them. They can either share in the claims of victory, or they have to own the defeat now.

A tough image to market during that Sept/Oct to Feb5 political doomsday.

Posted by Michael | July 12, 2007 8:30 PM

Hey Joe,

Call me a naive neo-con, but I think we turned the corner militarily. On Sept 14th the Iraqi Parliament will pass alot of legislation that will meet most of the poltical benchmarks. Then 70% of the American people who dont care if we lose can shove it

Posted by ERNurse | July 12, 2007 8:42 PM

Pelosi and Reid need to be bitch-slapped with a sledgehammer. They are frigging traitorous slimebags who would love nothing more than to watch innocent Iraqis beheaded by Islamothugs.

May they rot in hell.

Posted by Rose | July 12, 2007 8:45 PM

I got a few notes from the debate on "Special Report" with Britt Hume, today, that went on between the Beltway Boys and Charles Krauthammer.

I agree with the guys who say that if we apply the DIM STANDARDS for IRAQ to the American CONGRESS, it is time for the DIMS to cut and run from CONGRESS.

And as one poster told one DIM, when the DIMS remove themselves from CONGRESS, THEN he'll support a run from Iraq.

The Dims and their cut and run malarky are full of it. When are we going to put a stop to that kind of behavior being "acceptable" PC behavior IN A TIME OF WAR with our soldiers IN THE FIELD?


Posted by MarkJ | July 12, 2007 8:55 PM

I'm beginning to think OSHA should test for lead in the Capitol Hill drinking fountains.

There seems to be a blue streak of insanity running through both the Senate and House these days, which, in my mind, can't be explained by anything other than lead poisoning. I mean nobody--N.O.B.O.D.Y.--could be as totally ga-ga as the Donks currently are unless there were some kind of underlying medical reason.

In any event, at the rate things are going, I'd say the odds are better than 50-50 that Robert Byrd (D-WV) will soon breathlessly announce in the Senate Chambers that he has assumed the title of Emperor and, as his first imperial act , is duly appointing his favorite "stud hoss" to be the new senior Senator from "Almost Heaven."

"I knew Caligula. I worked with Caligula. And, Senator, I can assure you that you're no Caligula."

Posted by Rose | July 12, 2007 8:57 PM

70% of the American people want to pull our troops out of the Iraq Civil War.What part of the word mandate don't you neo-cons get? Bush is dragging his party down in a war we can't win. Iraq is a free for all that Bush and Rummy blindly led us into. Wheres Rummy? Wheres Wolfowitz? Eventually the funds will be cut off and this fiasco will be over. 70% 70% 70%

Posted by: Joe at July 12, 2007 8:11 PM


OOPS! See, where your fingers slipped - nobody here believes that the DIMS are 100% of the AMERICAN PEOPLE.

And we've been watching you commit FRAUD at the ELECTION Boxes with CEMETARIES, ILLEGAL ALIENS, ILLEGAL RESIDENTS, Snowbirds voting in 2-4 states simultaneously, busloads of DIMS going to DIM states with SAME DAY residence/registration/voting, also ballot box stuffing, running the ballots out of the counting room to some backroom CLOSET to do the count because of the distraction of VOTE-COUNTING OBSERVERS, felons illegall y voting DIM, and DIMS trying to pass laws to automatically restore FELON VOTING RIGHTS, Dims trying to block MILITARY OVERSEAS VOTING - watching MSM NEWS SERVICES SLANT THEIR POLLS LEFT 15% -

We are a lot less impressed with your opinion polls than you may possibly comprehend.

Posted by patrick neid | July 12, 2007 9:00 PM

here's what we know for certain. if by some twisted act of fate the Dems thought they could get the white house by being pro war they would, with equal abandon, turn on a dime and support the war.

it's that knowledge that makes viewing these politicos so repulsive. by the close of business in 2008 the dems will have had the white house only 12 of the last 40 years. worse still, carter and clinton were the presidents. think of the shear pain they suffer every night they go to bed.

next on the agenda later this year will be impeachment charges.

Posted by Rose | July 12, 2007 9:05 PM

Pelosi and Reid need to be bitch-slapped with a sledgehammer. They are frigging traitorous slimebags who would love nothing more than to watch innocent Iraqis beheaded by Islamothugs.

May they rot in hell.

Posted by: ERNurse at July 12, 2007 8:42 PM


AMEN! And drag all the RINOS who ENABLE them with them down there!

Posted by Del Dolemonte | July 12, 2007 9:20 PM

Anytime you see a poster using the tired old 9/10 term "neocon", you know that you're in long distance communication with another planet.

These folks bristle and squeal like pigs when they're called "liberals", which is why they try to fool gullible voters with the intellectually dishonest term "progressive".

Their socially enlightened "policies" have given us the "Great Society" of Democrat Halliburton crony Lyndon Johnson. This helped nourish the welfare state of New Orleans (which Bush flooded when he blew up the levees), not to mention their creation of the totally corrupt welfare system.

When saner minds tried to abolish the Federal welfare oil-for-food scam, Clinton vetoed it twice before finally caving. I will give him credit for that.

Sadly, they also gave us the "Gorelick Wall", which, if it was never created to protect the most ethical Administration in history at the time, could very well have prevented 9/11.

Posted by Mark Eichenlaub | July 12, 2007 9:23 PM

Do these people in DC actually think they are better military strategists than people who are actually professional military strategists who work for the U.S. military and are saying the exact opposite of what antiwar politicians are saying?

Maybe someone in our media can ask this very simple question because I can't think of any single good reason, other than political games, that antiwar politicians think they know better than our military how to run wars.

Posted by jr565 | July 12, 2007 9:36 PM

Lets not be too hard on the dems. Sometimes they're right. I mean they did pass the Iraqi Liberation Act, or at least a democratic president did.So they at least recognized the threat that Sadaam posed and made regime change american policy. And they did also say that after Sadaam was removed they would assist in the transformation to democracy in Iraq.

Its not their fault that they don't have the courage of their convictions and will turn on a dime and say black is white, when yesterday they said white was white if it will get them a vote. And its not their fault that they, and their followers suffer from amnesia. Actually,that is actually a plus in their line of work. As long as you don't remember what you said yesterday or deliberately block it out, you can always change your tune today when polls go against you.

and they keep it really simple for their followers, only buzzwords and talking points. "Quagmire, Bushmchaliburton" "Warmonger", "neocon" etc. If it rhymes even better. Don't want any consistency or nuance to block the message from getting out.

Posted by Scrapiron | July 12, 2007 10:08 PM

I support the war but with the congress currently in the hands of traitor I think the president should pull every troop and government employee out of the entire Middle East. Let them live and die by their own sword and when they're done with each other they'll come after the members of congress. What an award old UBL would give the terrorists that manages to wipe out congress. Silently I pray that it happens sooner rather than later.

Posted by The Mechanical Eye | July 12, 2007 10:15 PM

The Invective on right-wing websites increases -- people are losing their cool and talking about traitors and back-stabbers.

This is not going to end well for the GOP.


Posted by Del Dolemonte | July 12, 2007 10:41 PM

"Do these people in DC actually think they are better military strategists than people who are actually professional military strategists who work for the U.S. military and are saying the exact opposite of what antiwar politicians are saying?

Maybe someone in our media can ask this very simple question because I can't think of any single good reason, other than political games, that antiwar politicians think they know better than our military how to run wars."

What the looney toon left fails to realize is that war is an imperfect science. We're still occupying the countries we liberated 60 years ago, for crying out loud. This isn't a 30 minute sitcom or 2 hour made for TV movie. Bush always said from the beginning that this was a different war, and would be a long war.

If the Dems can't accept that, they're dorks (that's an ancient insult for you DU lurkers here)


A President who was a "war hero" (JFK) escalated us into Vietnam, and was never called on it.

His successor, Lyndon Johnson, was a Halliburton crony for decades before ascending to the White House. He got a pass too (he and Kennedy also performed sexual shenanigans that would put Billy Clinton to shame, also ignored).

Posted by Tom W. | July 13, 2007 3:02 AM

My favorite part of this farce is that Democrats tell us that we will regain the moral high ground and improve our standing in the world by allowing a massacre of unprecendented proportions to take place in Iraq, which will then ignite a regional conflict that will cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

And while Democrats surrender, the people doing the actual fighting are turning the tide.

I urge all readers to fax a sketch of a white flag to Pelosi, with the caption "We're Democrats! We surrender!"

I did this afternoon, and it felt great. They really hate being called on their cowardice.

Here's Pelosi's DC fax number: (202) 225-4488.

Posted by Tom W. | July 13, 2007 3:07 AM

Correction: Pelosi's DC fax number is (202) 225-4188

Posted by Adjoran | July 13, 2007 3:17 AM

What a hoot!

HOW, precisely, could you ever determine the ‘minimum force levels required to protect the United States’ national security interests in Iraq,’ except by getting BELOW that level? If anyone has some other way to analyze the situation, let's have it!

It's idiocy enacted as legislation, nothing more.

I recall the late British Prime Minister David Lloyd George was once berated in the House of Commons for having squandered money on "unnecessary precautions."

He inquired as to how the member could ever "be certain the precautions would have been unnecessary had they not be taken?"

Just so.

Posted by Ben | July 13, 2007 4:21 AM

Isn't it a shame that political pygmies are once again dragging the great name of America into the gutter again? Political pygmies are voting America to be a friend who turns tail and runs away when the going gets tough. Their motto appears to be WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GETS GOING, America, once the champion of the oppressed, is now the runaway champion of the world - gold medals in Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia and Iraq. Hurrah for the Democrats - the best friend of Osama bin Laden and his fellow travellers.

Posted by Lightwave | July 13, 2007 6:43 AM

Why should the Iraqis give a damn about the benchmarks at this point, thanks to the Democrats and the White Flag Republicans?

If they thought we would be in Iraq truly supporting them and staying for 20 years, real and substantial progress would be made on all fronts, especially politically. They would sit down at the table and hammer out what needed to be done.

But since we just said we'll be leaving in 20 weeks why should they do anything but laugh at us and say "Yankee Go Home?" Their lives don't mean anything to the Dems or the White Flaggers. They are just political numbers. Sorry Iraq! Your hundreds of thousands of coming casulaties in the killing fields once we leave...perhaps millions...aren't as important as 3,600 US deaths.

The nation of freedom, truth, and justice has decided that you're not worth it anymore. And again, the Dems somehow think this will *restore America's moral standing* among those who would attack the country's policies no matter what they were.

"Sad" doesn't begin to describe it. I hope 10 years from now a generation of Americans will have a different outlook on Iraq, and I'm sure they will: they will be asking our generation why we abandoned Iraq and created a regional war ten times as bloody. They will be asking us why we didn't stop the runaway train of Islamic terrorism then before it claimed millions and millions of lives worldwide. They will be asking us why we didn't do our duty and instead left them with a much bloodier global conflict to fight.

And they will wonder why we were cowards. Some of us will say "We warned the country, the President, the world that this was coming, but they didn't listen."

And as millions of them go off to fight the war we could have stopped, perhaps then the Democrats will listen.

Posted by Patrick | July 13, 2007 6:47 AM

It's clear that this bill is only a political bill. Things are so messed up and bi-partisan in Washington that getting real work done is not possible.

I could support the war if Bush wasn't incompetent, arrogant, and completely unwilling to work with other nations or Congress to serioulsy weaken terrorism.

Why are their complaints against those who don't support the war? Whether it's other nations, Congress, or the American people, George Bush hasn't done anything to seek their support and has done even less to earn their trust.

If Republicans continue to insist on doing things their way, without listening to Congress, the American people, or the Constitution, they will continue to receive what they are getting.

Posted by Keemo | July 13, 2007 7:04 AM

Great thread...

Yes, this bill is a perfect example of what politics in America has become... Total incompetence; we, the people, need to get honest with ourselves about the status of our political system under the rule of lawyers.

We also need to "hold accountable" the big media and it's effort to run our country; Victor Davis Hanson does just that in this article...


Posted by David M | July 13, 2007 9:34 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 07/13/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by mwl | July 13, 2007 10:01 AM

Yes, they 'support the troops'...the problem is that the troops they support are not American troops.

Congress needs a thorough housecleaning, on BOTH sides of the aisle. Too many Representatives and Senators are re-elected time and again without significant opposition, and this fact has fostered a culture of impunity.

I can only hope that enough other citizens are pissed off about it to scrape some barnacles off of the ship of state in November 2008. Barnacles are a good analogy for too many of our Congresscritters...calcified, mindless parasites that only serve to impede any useful action.

Posted by irtexas | July 31, 2007 8:15 AM

I agree with ERNurse and Mark J. The only thing is 'when the tough get going, the dem's run like hell." The dem's look like a bunch of bobble head dolls. I also agree that we should outfit them all and drop them over Bagdad and tell them "Your it" go for it. Can you imagine the picture that would make. I think it would raise a lot of laughs.