Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Finally Taking Responsibility?

You'd like to think that Reid is actually taking on some of the responsibilities for the activities on the war in Iraq, but I don't think he will. He'll cut the funding and still say it was all Bush's fault.
President Bush and Congress are wrestling for the upper hand in the Iraq war debate, with neither side willing to back down and a top Democrat saying for the first time he wants to yank money for combat. Bush was expected to speak Tuesday to reporters at the White House on Iraq war funding.

The president's remarks come one day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who previously has stopped short of saying he would support measures to cut off funds, announced he would try to eliminate money for the war if Bush rejects Congress' proposal to set a deadline to end combat.
"If the president vetoes the supplemental appropriations bill and continues to resist changing course in Iraq, I will work to ensure this legislation receives a vote in the Senate in the next work period," Reid said in a statement.
The best part is his continuing insistence that there has been no strategic or tactical changes in the war. This willing denial of the facts would make one question his sanity if there wasn't the overwhelming stench of partisan politics around him.

It is interesting though that the timetable that is in the legislation is fairly soft.
Most Republicans and many conservative Democratic senators, including Ben Nelson of Nebraska, have been reluctant to embrace a timetable in Iraq. Nelson agreed last week to swing behind the Senate spending bill, which calls for troops to leave by March 31, 2008, only because the date was nonbinding and not a firm deadline.

Nelson also agreed to vote for the measure because Reid added language Nelson wanted outlining steps the Iraqi government should take to improve stability in Iraq.
I'm really not sure why you add non-binding timetables unless you're playing political games. I see no issue with stating detailed goals for the Iraqi government to meet, though I don't see that there is any manner to enforce such a list. There is also the issue with the fact that such legislation ignores the possibility of major changes on the ground that could negate those goals. This is another reason why the constitution has only one commander in chief running the military and not a committee.
Reid's promise marks a new shift in strategy for Democrats. Reid was previously reluctant to embrace the suggestion of using Congress' power of the purse and deflected questions on the matter by saying Democrats would provide troops with what they need to be safe.

His latest proposal would give the president one year to get troops out, ending funding for combat operations after March 31, 2008, and allowing troops to conduct only counterterrorism operations, train Iraqi forces and provide security for U.S. infrastructure and personnel.

This latest challenge indicates Reid is likely both frustrated by Bush's insistence on the war and his own shaky majority in Congress. Unable to override a presidential veto because he lacks the necessary two-thirds majority support, Reid is trying to ratchet up the pressure on Bush in the hopes the president will cave.
It's probably unlikely he could get such a restrictive bill through the senate. That's a good thing. It's also a wonder that they are even considering this action. They must understand that the centrists voters of this country will for the most part frown on defunding the troops. I would also say it has some additional risk if the present surge efforts actually have some success. The defunding move could easily be put out as having caused the failure in getting Iraq resolved correctly.

It will be interesting to see what happens, though you can be certain that politics will have more to do with the situation than getting it right.

1 comment:

Granted said...

Almost every time this guy opens his mouth my opinion gets reinforced. He's a moral midget. He's currently the tallest midget in the Senate, but what's that say exactly?