Democrats & Liberals Archives

No Benchmarks Either

Today, President Bush is expected to veto a bill that would have changed the course in Iraq. The bill (full text) would give our troops everything they need — including an achievable mission: hunt down al-Qaeda in Iraq, train Iraqi forces and protect US interests in the country. But President Bush and enough Congressional Republicans to sustain his veto say no.

President Bush now says he will also veto any bill that contains enforceable benchmarks for the Iraqi government -- something even Congressional Republicans are ready to say is necessary.

Bush's vow to veto enforcible benchmarks came on the same day the Kurdish faction in the Iraqi government decided to oppose the oil revenue sharing bill and the same day we found out Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister removed Iraqi police officers who cracked down on Shiite death squads.

Revenue sharing and elimination of sectarian militias are both vital parts of President Bush's own benchmarks for the Iraqi government -- and now we see the result of Bush's refusal to enforce them: They are ignored.

My colleague, Jack, in the red column described the course change spelled out in the bi-partisan funding bill as "very practical." Jack is correct. I hope Jack and other Republican opinion leaders will also agree that it's a stupid mistake to have benchmarks but never enforce them.

Posted by American Pundit at May 1, 2007 1:38 PM
Comment #218956

This War is poltical and not about winning, losing or anything else. It’s about 2008 and politcal power. I see no sides working to WIN. I see two sides telling each other ways to end a war with out winning. Nobody in the Bush admin wants to define when we win, and how to win. Democrats don’t have solutions to WINNING a war or just about any war. This war should have ended that day after saddam was caught and they should have shot him on site. We should have stayed in IRAQ until the first elections then left. Then have them choose tryanny or freedom. Bush will veto because of the timelines. I question anyone giving timelines based on no data just a date. If we are pulling out on this date what is the plan and goals to meet before we pull out.

Posted by: Brian at May 1, 2007 3:06 PM
Comment #218975

The Democrats, despite a clear mandate from the majority of Americans, are about to tuck tail and run because they really don’t have the political spine to stand up to Bush.

They could resend the bill to the Pres. with the time lines for success or withdrawal, which is what the polls say the majority of Americans would stand behind. But, that would come with a political risk. If the Iraq war ends before the 2008 elections, a Democratic president will NOT be a shoe in.

So, once again, for political expedience over what would be best for the American people, and our soldiers, Democrats will choose their careers and party over the American voters, just as most Republicans have done.

There is only one way to force politicians to represent the will of the people, and that is to vote them out of office, so their replacements get the message loud and clear. Re-election depends upon representing the people, not political expedience, wealthy campaign contributions and bribes, or putting party before nation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 1, 2007 8:20 PM
Comment #218987

Now would be an appropriate time to Censure both

President Bush an Vice President Chaney on grounds

I believe, the War in Iraq was a fraudulent, lie.

The war was unconstitutionally begun an probably

unnessarily executed before realizing or planing

for the consequences of their actions. There is

no rhyme or reason for this carnage to continue,

because we as a people deserve better from all our

politicians an other countries also deserve to

be able to respect we Americans.

Posted by: DAVID at May 1, 2007 9:57 PM
Comment #218999

Good articles. I have been lurking, but reading with interest.

David Remer,
How sure are you about the Democrats caving? The vote in the House was very close, and required some wheeling and dealing just to get that version done. It represented a compromise by both sides of the legislature, and in pure political terms, coming up with anything other than another similar compromise will be extremely difficult to put together.

Progressives will not accede to giving Bush whatever he wants. Why should they?

Inaction would stop the funding by default, but that would be an extremely ugly way to stop the debacle. Personally, I would favor it. Stop now, pull out lock, stock, barrel. But Congress would take a public relations beating if they went that route.

More likely, Pelosi and Reid will wait another month or two, and offer a similar bill. I think we all know the situation in Iraq will grow worse as the escalation continues, and that will make the position of Bush even untenable. Veto that one too, and the war is over.

Anyone care to take bets on how much longer the Maliki government will last. I give “Democracy” in Iraq another year, tops.

It is a matter of time before a Shia strongman sweeps aside the current government. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Only this time, instead of the secular Sunni Saddam Hussein, it will be a secular Shia, perhaps Allawi.

When the US leaves- and that is virtually certain to happen in less than two years- the secular Shia strongman will become increasing fundamentalist, and move closer to Iran. The Sunnis will be in for a hammering that is hard to imagine, even by the bloody standards of the Iraq of today.

While other countries will provide material support, Turkey remains the only one likely to invade. That is only a matter of time, too, and that will not be affected by the presence or absence of US troops.

What a colossal mess. Is Iraq a bigger mistake than Vietnam? Not yet, but hold onto your hat. It will be.

And Bush is the biggest screw-up to ever inhabit the Oval Office.

Posted by: phx8 at May 1, 2007 11:20 PM
Comment #219004
If the Iraq war ends before the 2008 elections, a Democratic president will NOT be a shoe in.

David, if that’s true, why don’t the Republicans join the Democrats and override the veto. Under your scenario, they’re slitting their own throats.

More likely, Pelosi and Reid will wait another month or two, and offer a similar bill.

I hope so. I know Sen. Snowe said her only problem with this bill was the start date for changing the mission.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 1, 2007 11:49 PM
Comment #219010

In the darkest, most pessimistic corner of my heart, I get the impression that Bush will hang onto this war no matter what political damage it creates. I don’t know what it will take to pry his hands off the war.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 2, 2007 12:04 AM
Comment #219012

I suspect you are right. Bush will do almost anything in order to foist this debacle onto the next administation. Unlike many former presidents, Bush never grew into theoffice. He never learned from experience. Instead, it was one long attempt to politicize every issue as a way of increasing the wealth of his constituency, and garnering power. If not for the sheer incompetency, and being so horribly, demonstrably wrong on so many issues, it might have worked. But after a while, no amount of spin can hide the disaster in Iraq, the indisputable occurrence of Global Warming caused by humanity, the indifference in the aftermath of Katrina, the enormous debts and deficits… well, you get the idea.

Posted by: phx8 at May 2, 2007 12:13 AM
Comment #219022

phx8, some Congressional Democrats are already saying it would be political folly to play this hand with Bush. They fear the Republican spin machine and the potential of being branded as not supporting our troops in harm’s way. It is a risk.

And we know many Democrats are risk averse, especially when not rocking the boat will insure a one party Democratically controlled government in ‘08. So, much for loyalty to saving our troops lives and doing the right thing by the will of the majority.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 2, 2007 3:05 AM
Comment #219023

AP, you may find moderate Republicans like Roy Blunt doing just that, joining with Democrats to override the veto. But, for every moderate Republican you pick up, your party will lose 2 moderate Democrat votes who are seeking reelection in ‘08. They don’t want to risk owning negative consequences for Iraq, which is a huge unknowable risk at this point if the war ends BEFORE the elections.

I know you don’t want to face the reality, but, there are Democrats in Congress who DO NOT want to see this war end before the ‘08 elections. It is their reelection meal ticket.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 2, 2007 3:09 AM
Comment #219028

I base my assessment on the fact that Bush has almost never backed down from a politically damaging controversy. He just keeps on talking, and keeps on carrying on the kind of policy that got him in trouble in the first place. That’s why he’s God’s gift to us as a party, and the devil’s gift to us as a leader. I’d have preferred a better leader and better policy to better political prospects.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 2, 2007 7:49 AM
Comment #219079
I know you don’t want to face the reality

David, I think you’re jumpin’ the gun a little. Why don’t you wait and see what Reid pulls out of the hat next. He knew Bush would veto his bill, and I know he hasn’t just been twiddling his thumbs waiting for it to happen.

Give it a couple days before you conclude the Democrats are “crumbling like a sugar cookie left too long in the sun.” You might be surprised. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at May 2, 2007 2:53 PM
Comment #219131

AP, the evidence of Democrats crumbling came today as Pelosi and Reid revealed a rift between them. Pelosi is willing to talk compromise, Reid is not, as reflected by their choice of words in their response to the veto to the press. All too predictable.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 2, 2007 8:47 PM
Comment #219132

Stephen, Bush has shown a capacity to compromise. But, his style is to declare it won’t happen right up the moment at which he capitulates and then he takes ownership of the compromise as his all along. This is pure Rovian politics.

In the long term, Bush has no choice but to capitulate to the Democrats on mission redefinition if Democrats keep him tethered to the funding and so close he can smell their breath every two months. But, in the short run, Democrats will have to set other agenda items to the side in order to play this game of “Uncle” with the President. And many don’t see the necessity. They view ‘08 election politics based more on Democrats total output of reforms and oversight, rather than spending so much of their capital on the Iraq standoff with the President.

That’s how the cookie crumbles. It’s big tent party politics, and the paradigm hasn’t changed while Democrats were out of power.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 2, 2007 8:54 PM
Comment #219181

David R. Remer-
The problem is, for many of us, this war isn’t entirely politics, and we know all too well the willingness of this president to be poor at compromising on the war. This is a guy who responded to an election that told him to take soldiers out by committing America to a surge.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 3, 2007 12:14 AM
Comment #219486

Are we missing the point here? The democrats spend 12 weeks(how many other issues were pushed aside while this was happening) on a bill that they knew without a doubt that was going to be vetoed. Now they will spend more useless debate time and 12 weeks from now put another bill out that is doomed. Why waste time. If Pelosi and the rest of congress and senators really wanted to work beyond the partisan fight thats going on they could.
There is no comprimise if both parties stay entrenched in party lines. All of them waffle when their positions become questionable. Neither party is immune from that. Every bill that does go through in this country contains so many add-ons that we don’t really know about or even care about. But this is the problem with the 2007 American political scene. Our elected officials ignore us at the drop of a hat and tell us it’s for our own good. It worked when our moms said it but we were 8 years old. Adults should not be treated this way.
When our government authorized military force and passed the Patriot act everyone cheered. When suddenly everyone realized what this meant we were outraged. This is our fault.
By the way, why is it that a 51% vs 49% is a clear mandate by the American people? Seems to me thats a pretty even split and if you submit to the 51% then you have angered 49% who have not gotten their ‘clear’ mandate.
It is time for americans to wake up and realize no matter what party they are from our politicians spend a huge amount of time spouting rhetoric and very little time taking care of the job they were elected to do. How about we pass a bill that holds our own government to ‘benchmarks’ and timetables? Then they wouldn’t spend 12 weeks that amount to absolutely nothing. And perhaps the media ought to be held to a higher standard as well because they shape American opinion by reporting half truths and innuendo.

Posted by: David at May 5, 2007 10:07 AM
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