Democrats Thursday branded President George W. Bush a "bully" on Iraq, but faced Republican charges of ignoring "crystal clear" progress in the country, ahead of a new Senate showdown on the war.Funny how the President is a bully for doing his job. And I'm still trying to figure out how he's come to the conclusion that the military is in the middle of a civil war. Facts from Iraq show that sectarian violence is a low and in fact the cooperation level between the Sunni and the Military has risen dramatically. If he believes the only true indicator of motion toward success is based solely on the actions of the Iraq central government, he's delusional. If the present motion toward security continues the government will be able to rectify its issues because the people and their representatives are secure enough to want more than just security.
Lawmakers drew battlelines for likely the last war wrangle of a tumultuous year of turf wars between Congress and the White House, over a new 50 billion dollar combat funding bill including Democratic demands for troop withdrawals.
Senate Democratic Majority Harry Reid took a harsh line against Bush, warning: "He damn sure is not entitled now to having this money given with a blank check."
"Americans need someone fighting for them, taking on this bully we have in the White House," Reid told reporters.
Democrats threatened Republicans with a rare weekend senate vote after the start of the scheduled break for the Thanksgiving holiday on the bill, which passed the House of Representatives late on Wednesday.
"The (Iraqi) government is stalemated today, as it was six months ago, as it was two years ago," Reid said, warning US soldiers were caught in the middle of a civil war.
But Republicans accused Democrats of wilfully ignoring progress in Iraq under US commander General David Petraeus, which they said was proven by a decrease in US troop deaths and sectarian attacks.
"We really should not cut off funding for our troops in the field, particularly at a moment when the tactical success of the Petraeus plan is crystal clear," said Senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell.
"Attacks and casualties are down and political cooperation is occurring at the local level."
The emergency budget provides only four months of funding for the war, and only a 50 billion dollar chunk of the 196 billion dollars requested by Bush.Another laughable theory that the public won't be angered at the obvious lack of support for the troops. Chuckles no doubt is safe in his NY collective on the topic, but the more conservative Dems may need to rethink that strategy. The timetables have been a failing point all along so I have no idea why they suddenly believe that adding them will be a political winner when significant progress is seen in Iraq.
It calls for troop withdrawals to begin within 30 days and sets a goal of December 15, 2008, for the pullback of most combat troops to be completed, and outlaws the use of torture by US government agencies.
"The days are over when the money is sent no questions asked, when the money is sent without a price," Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said.
Republicans have put forward what they call a "clean" funding bill, stripped of troop withdrawal deadlines, which is also expected to fall short of the 60-vote threshold needed to move major legislation in the 100 seat Senate.
Krauthammer also has an interesting bit of perspective on the repeatedly bludgeoned point that the US allies are unhappy with the US. Again, those protesting the most seem to miss that more and more allies are coming back to close ties.
When the Democratic presidential candidates pause from beating Hillary with a stick, they join in unison to pronounce the Democratic pieties, chief among which is that George Bush has left our alliances in ruins. As Clinton puts it, we have "alienated our friends," must "rebuild our alliances" and "restore our standing in the world." That's mild. The others describe Bush as having a scorched-earth foreign policy that has left us reviled and isolated in the world.For the "reality based party" this is a remarkable indication that their reality is greatly different than what everyone else is seeing.
Like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who insist that nothing of significance has changed in Iraq, the Democrats are living in what Bob Woodward would call a state of denial. Do they not notice anything?
France has a new president who is breaking not just with the anti-Americanism of the Chirac era but with 50 years of Fifth Republic orthodoxy that defined French greatness as operating in counterpoise to America. Nicolas Sarkozy's trip last week to the United States was marked by a highly successful White House visit and a rousing speech to Congress in which he not only called America "the greatest nation in the world" (how many leaders of any country say that about another?) but pledged solidarity with the U.S. on Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, the Middle East and nuclear nonproliferation. This just a few months after he sent his foreign minister to Iraq to signal an openness to cooperation and an end to Chirac's reflexive obstructionism.
That's France. In Germany, Gerhard Schroeder is long gone, voted out of office and into a cozy retirement as Putin's concubine at Gazprom. His successor is the decidedly pro-American Angela Merkel, who concluded an unusually warm visit with Bush this week.
All this, beyond the ken of Democrats, is duly noted by new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who in an interview with Sky News on Sunday noted "the great change that is taking place," namely "that France and Germany and the European Union are also moving more closely with America."