Third Party & Independents Archives

Non-Binding Congress

Sen. Richard Lugar yesterday commented on the recent non-binding resolution on the Bush troop surge in Iraq passed by the senate. As one of the few Republican leaders that I feel has the qualities to actually run for president of the United States, his opinion seems to me to be shared by most people who are against the idea of increasing the troop numbers in Iraq but not politically invested in the Democratically controlled Congress. Is the idea to stop the troop surge or just make political points?

"It is unclear to me how passing a nonbinding resolution that the president has already said he will ignore will contribute to any improvement or modification in our Iraq policy,"

I wondered this same thing when I heard about the resolutions being offered by the Democrats. Is this what the Democratic Party was elected for? Did they win control of the Senate and House of Representatives so that they issue non-binding resolutions, basically saying that they don't approve? They have been doing this for years, why did they need to be in charge of our congress to do that?

There are any number of things that this congress could do to not only stop the troop surge but end the US management of the Iraqi Civil War. From passing resolutions taking away the power they originally gave the president to be in this war to blocking any funding of the military action the congress has many ways to ensure that a change in the direction in the Iraq war is taken.

But they won't.

The reality is that instead of doing what they were elected to do and use their power to end this war they are more concerned in making sure that they retain the power that they have taken back and expand upon it. In order to do this they have to make sure that they use political forces at their disposal to not anger anyone, appeal to the masses and walk the line of rhetoric for their supporters against keeping a contentious debate topic in place that they can use to their political advantage.

Simply put, if they were to end the war in Iraq tomorrow, what would they run on during the presidential election in 2008?

This is just another example of how both parties are not above playing politics with our troops and their lives. And now every new death of an American Soldier can be placed not just upon the shoulders of President Bush but also on the leadership of the Democratic Party, specifically Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. While the Democrats were not in power they were free to criticize and point out failures. Now, however, they are in power, they have what they were after. And they get to shoulder the blame. Perhaps even more so since they ran on the failures of President Bush in Iraq as the reason to vote for them. Bush, while running in 2004, never once wavered in his position on Iraq, so it comes as no surprise that since then he has kept to his agenda, but these current Democrats were elected to do something, to resolve it.

Instead, we get lip service. Did we expect any less from a group of politicians, really?

Posted by Rhinehold at January 25, 2007 9:09 AM
Comments
Comment #204950

As Republican and Democratic Senators alike from Murkowski to Boxer, all said on the Foreign Relations Committee, their concerns, objections, and reservations about the surge, are NOT political, but, bipartisan.

The main point of disagreement between Republicans and Democrats is what message our enemies and soldiers will take from the non-binding resolution.

But, you know what? Our enemies will take anything we do, or not do, and twist it to their ends. They will even take a failure to pass the non-binding resolution and twist it to their ends. So, that dog don’t hunt.

The troops interpretation is not so clear cut. These are the facts testified to this week 1) morale of our troops is good (Petreus). 2) A majority of our troops and Generals agree that 21,000 more American troops is not going to be sufficient to quell the sectarian violence. 3) The sectarian violence or civil war, can only be reduced by the political factions of the Iraqis themselves, nearly unanimous for everyone testifying this week. 4) Additional troops are very much needed in Anbar Province to take control of the province away from terrorist tribal leaders and al-Queda.

What this all says to me is this, we can redirect troops from areas like Kurdistan to Anbar and provide the additional manpower without growing the size of the military already there. The surge if it accomplishes anything for Baghdad, it is moral support for the Iraqi brigades to come and attempt to put a lid on Baghdad. If however, it becomes to bloody for the Iraqis and they begin to disappear (only 80% of those called already have shown up), it is our troops who will be called in to take the brunt of the violence, and the collateral damage either way, is going to be huge, which will intensify the insurgency.

Therefore, the surge has no strategic value, and only the tactical value of possibly stiffening up the courage of Iraqi troops to engage their fellow Sunnis and Shiites in a bloodbath stands to be gained.

But, one other thing rang clear! This is Bush’s last chance to redeem his vision of victory in Iraq for the Iraqis. If by Fall, significant and largely irreversible progress is not seen, the Congress, Republican and Democrat alike, are going to take action to halt our soldiers involvement in the civil war there, and instead will be redeployed for training Iraqis and continuing the assault on the al_Queda and other terrorists wherever they pop up in strongholds. But, this also means, growing numbers of our troops can be brought home or redeployed elsewhere in the world.

And there is a political component to this position by Republicans. Their prospects for Congressional races in ‘08 are bleak as it is based on nothing but the number of seats they have up for reelection compared to the very few Democratic seats. In order to prevent a complete rout of Republicans from the Congress, especially the Senate, Republicans will have to side with the American people, the majority of whom want this Iraq war to resolve, one way or another, and PDQ!

So, by Fall, the writing is on the wall for the White House. If this surge fails, the US involvement in Iraq’s civil war will end on a hugely bipartisan bill to redefine the spending mission in Iraq and provide appropriations only for a phased redeployment and containment.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2007 10:01 AM
Comment #204953

I’m sorry David but are you serious that we should give Bush another year to see if he can fix the mess in Iraq at the cost of American lives?

I’m sort of confused… :/

I supported the initial invasion for a variety of reasons that I’ve made clear in the past but do not agree that we are still trying to quell the Iraqi civil war for power. Where are all the voices from the past several years calling for immediate troop withdrawl, why are they now willing to give this president, who has failed miserably, another year to succeed / fail?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 25, 2007 10:10 AM
Comment #204955

Apparently Rhinehold, those voices were all in your head. Find me quotes from 5 Congresspersons who ever advocated for an abrupt and complete withdrawal from Iraq. I don’t think you can.

The critics in Congress, and my own writings have indicated that we must avoid the quagmire of engaging both sides of Iraq’s civil war. Murtha’s plan of phased redeployment that seeks to contain the civil war and prevent terrorist strongholds from gaining a footing in the Iraqi government, without engaging in their sectarian civil war, is what all the critics I have heard have recommended.

I say we withdraw from Baghdad save for whatever contingent is needed to protect the seat of government, and concentrate on Anbar Province and the Iraqi border surveillance and interdiction. Most Iraqis want us out or dead. It is time we reduced our profile there, significantly, but, in an orderly and phased fashion. Which means bringing some of our troops home right away, and more and more overtime as the terrorist situation and regional situation permits.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2007 10:31 AM
Comment #204958

David,

But that’s not what the Democrats are suggesting or even doing. Instead they are going along with the troop surge while ‘voicing criticism’ of it. Nothing has changed, the same failed policy is being allowed to continue and this time with the help from Democrats who were entrusted with doing everything in their power to stop it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 25, 2007 10:45 AM
Comment #204961

Rhinehold, they haven’t the authority to stop the surge. The Republican Congress already authorized the funding for it in the last appropriation package.

In addition, they haven’t the veto override votes to pass a bill at this time redrafting authorization to exclude US involvement in Iraq’s civil war. They have no choice but to await more Republicans signing on to it, which won’t happen until after is clear the surge failed.

There are political realities here that cannot be overcome at this point in time to halt the escalation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2007 10:50 AM
Comment #204962

David,

So because they think they will fail they aren’t willing to go through the process to redraft the authorization? This is the type of leadership we are going to get out of the Democrats then?

What is the harm in making everyone vote on BINDING resolution taking power back from the president and forcing him to veto it at a time when the president’s support is dropping like a stone and people want the war to end?

Instead we get lip service and tepid support for a failed policy that no one has any way of stopping so why try…

How many more soldiers are going to die while the politicians that were elected to save them are doing nothing for fear of losing….?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 25, 2007 10:59 AM
Comment #204964

Get real, Rhinehold. The votes aren’t there in the Senate to pull it off. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars and staffers time at this point. Appears your intent is to witness them fail.

Frankly, I want my government to succeed and not waste time and money on efforts doomed, like Bush’s privatizing Soc. Sec. plan. That was dead before it ever got out of the gate and the polls showed it. What a waste of time and effort that was.

The reauthorization is coming, they have Hagle on board. They need about 13 more Republicans to pull it off. And like I said, other Republicans won’t sign on until they, and the public, see this last chance surge fail.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2007 11:20 AM
Comment #204965

Rhinehold,

“Is the idea to stop the troop surge or just make political points?”

Excellent question. It sounds like you already know the answer.

David,

The Democrats owe it to the voters and our military personnel to try. This is a failed mission. It needs to end.
If the Democrats do not do what they promised, the voters will not be fooled again in two years. They’ll be out.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at January 25, 2007 11:21 AM
Comment #204966

David R. Remer,
You may be right [i.e. no authority to stop 21,500 troop increase], and it is most unfortunate, since almost everyone agrees it won’t make much difference.

As Rhinehold wrote:

This is just another example of how both parties are not above playing politics with our troops and their lives.

It is the sad truth.
It is a political football.
And there are some politicians that are carefully calculating how to distance themselves from it, plot their course through it, predict the probably outcome, and how to play the blame game to the fullest in the end.

While many U.S. troops go without adequate medical care and promised benefits (not to mention the large numbers that didn’t have body armor) while incumbent politicians in Congress gave themselves 8 raises between 1997 and 2006, and do this sort of irresponsible stuff.

Meanwhile, Congress ignores that nation’s other important problems.

Now add Iraq to the long list of things continually ignored by Congress.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 25, 2007 11:24 AM
Comment #204967

Rhinehold,

What a disingenous argument. Why aren’t you advocating the removal of the President, since you find his behavior so abhorent? You know, as does everyone, this is a political gamesmanship fight. If the Dems overplay their hand, it will give fuel to the Republicans in ‘08. Sadly the Republicans utterly failed the US and our soldiers and have continually lied and misled the American public, this has to be brought home to the American Public. It isn’t easy to unwrap the twisted lies of a Goebbel’s like propaganda machine. Americans will have to be marched before the carnage, much like the German public was forced to witness concentation camps in the 40’s. I wonder if you often blame rape victims with this kind of logic.

Posted by: gergle at January 25, 2007 11:25 AM
Comment #204968

The responsibility for the deaths are squarely on Bush’s and Cheney’s shoulders. Congress couldn’t stop this surge at this moment in time even if a simple majority wanted to, which doesn’t exist yet.

I am not making excuses for the Republicans and one Democrat who won’t sign on (Lieberman). I find their unwillingness to make reauthorization an immediate priority reprehensible too. But, the facts on the ground are, until there is a veto proof number on board, it is not a political reality.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2007 11:25 AM
Comment #204969

Andre, they haven’t the votes to even try. They need a veto proof vote, Republicans won’t give it to them. Lieberman is on Bush’s side.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2007 11:27 AM
Comment #204970

Andre’, there is even a question as to whether the non-binding resolution will pass the Senate. Lieberman and Hagle’s votes cancel each other out. It only takes one other Democrat to side with the President to prevent a simple majority in the Senate.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2007 11:30 AM
Comment #204974

Rhinehold,

So you’re going on record as supporting cutting off funding for the war in Iraq?

Personally I prefer John Warner’s alternative resolution. I know the word “augment” has drawn a lot of flack, but ‘wording-schurding’, it also says a number of other things:

“the new resolution calls for U.S. military operations to be focused primarily on “maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq, denying international terrorists a safe haven, conducting counterterrorism operations, promoting regional stability, and training and equipping Iraqi forces to take full responsibility for their own security.”

“In other similar language, it proposes that the United States “engage selected nations in the Middle East to develop a regional, internationally-sponsored peace and reconciliation process for Iraq.””

http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2007/01/23/news/politics/doc45b54d2a30db2021225818.txt

I’ve listened to Warner speak on this and I just think he’s right, plain and simple. I also believe Warner’s proposal would draw more bipartisan support and therefore send a louder message to Bush.

In a sign that Maliki thinks he has all the time in the world to get things right:

“Al-Maliki said the security crackdown did not represent a last stand. “If we do not accomplish all our goals with this plan, we will revise it. There will be a second, third and fourth plan if need be.”

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/01/25/iraq.main/index.html?section=cnn_latest

IMO these non binding resolutions give the message that US troops will not be involved in a “second, third, or fourth plan”. Maliki needs to know that.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 25, 2007 12:02 PM
Comment #204981

David,

I understand that they are not in the best position to get us out immediately. I want them to at least look like they’re trying every avenue at every chance they get.
Thanks for the discussion and information.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at January 25, 2007 12:43 PM
Comment #204988
IMO these non binding resolutions give the message that US troops will not be involved in a “second, third, or fourth plan”.

How do you figure? If they don’t succeed they will have another non-binding resolution passed?

If David is right, there is nothing that the Dems can do to stop anything going on in Iraq until 2008.

David,

If it is true that a vote to end this action would ‘cost the taxpayers money’ and be a waste of money, what is a non-binding resolution but worse, simply done for political gain.

Oh, I read that they SAID that it wasn’t for political gain, but seriously…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 25, 2007 1:16 PM
Comment #204989

Sorry, 2009 not 2008. IF the dems were to win the white house and control both houses of congress then perhaps, but that wouldn’t take effect until January 2009…

Oh, and that is only if the Dems win, what are the people who voted them into power going to think when after two years in control they accomplish almost nothing?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 25, 2007 1:18 PM
Comment #204994

Rhinehold:

You mean in comparison to the six years of Republican control?

Posted by: womanmarine at January 25, 2007 1:28 PM
Comment #204996

No, I meant in comparison with what they said they were going to do and what they are actually doing.

The American people are going to see that both parties are incapable of sticking by convictions and doing what they say, instead maneuvering the political landscape to further their political power.

What does that mean in the long run? I’m not sure, some people will abandon the parties to support the Libertarian, Green, Reform, Natural Law and other parties. More and more people are just going to become unwilling to divest anything at all into the political landscape creating a downward spiral into entropy and the eventual end of our form of government.

But, that’s just a single person’s viewpoint…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 25, 2007 1:32 PM
Comment #204997

Oh, and that’s TOTAL Republican control we’re talking about. The Democrats have the barest majority in the Senate, a little more in the House and a Republican President.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 25, 2007 1:33 PM
Comment #204998

Womanmarine,

The Republican control of the senate was about the same as the Dems have now, the house the same. Remember the Dems blocking nominations because the Reps couldn’t override the 60-vote cloture votes?

You can keep playing into the hands of the politicians all you want, taking a side in order to be pitting against ‘the evil opponent’ just like they are being pitted against you, in the meantime our country just keeps sputtering along trying to endure the ever increasing government control into our lives, further putting the strings of the political process onto our actions and making us dance like puppets.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 25, 2007 1:36 PM
Comment #205001

Rhinehold:

I am neither playing into the hands of politicians nor dancing like a puppet. I believe the Republicans had a slightly larger majority in the Senate, I don’t know about the house.

Not a nice way to convince folks of your desire for everyone to abandon both parties and become independent or something. Putting people down for their beliefs always works so well.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 25, 2007 1:52 PM
Comment #205002

“I meant in comparison with what they said they were going to do and what they are actually doing.”

Rhinehold,

I’m not aware of any Democrat making a campaign promise to cut off funding for the war, are you?

I’ll admit my focus was on Kansas, maybe I missed something.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 25, 2007 1:52 PM
Comment #205005


Do you think Congress should cutoff funding for the war in Iraq even if the President say’s it will harm the troops?

Let every poll in the country ask that question and see what the results are. If 60% or better say yes, this will encourage the Democrats in Congress and more importantly, it will give political cover to the Republicans to do the will of the People.

Posted by: jlw at January 25, 2007 2:16 PM
Comment #205009

While Congress and the President play political football our troops are dieing. Just like 40 years ago.
We need to either send enough troops over there to kick ass and put an end to the war or we need to get out. And 21,000 more troops aren’t enough to get the job done. It’ll take at least 1,000,000 more to do the job right. Neither Bush or Congress have the gonads to send that many troops over there.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 25, 2007 2:40 PM
Comment #205010
Do you think Congress should cutoff funding for the war in Iraq even if the President say’s it will harm the troops?

DEFINENTLY NOT!!!!

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 25, 2007 2:42 PM
Comment #205016

I’m with jlw. If it is the will of the people to bring our troops home the Reps. and Dems. will lose their excuse to play, as Ron Brown puts it,”political football” with our soldiers.
They will have to step up to the plate and acknowledge their constituents wishes. Leiberman will have to vote against troop surge if his state’s polls show the people of New Hampshire want out.
Mc Cain will be forced to listen to the people in Arizona and not the thinktanks and corporate CEO’s who want Iraqi oil.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at January 25, 2007 3:06 PM
Comment #205018
“This is not a time for legislative nuancing,” said Sen. Russ Feingold (D) of Wisconsin Wednesday. “This is a time to stop the needless deaths of American troops in Iraq.”
Posted by: Rhinehold at January 25, 2007 3:55 PM
Comment #205023

A non-binding resolution = passive support.
I thought the Democrats had a problem with rubber-stamping Bush’s policies? Why are they doing this?
Simple. Because working to win the war in any way will hurt them politically.

President Bush said something about being willing to negotiate with congress on strategies. He didn’t use those exact words, but it was along those lines. This is what the Democrats should be doing - looking for a way to win.
They won’t do it because if they are seen to be working with Bush in any way they will loose their base. I don’t give a shit about which party wins in ‘08 so long as we win the war ASAP. But as usual, they are putting the good of their party over the good of the country, the troops and the Iraqi people.

Posted by: TheTraveler at January 25, 2007 4:14 PM
Comment #205028
A non-binding resolution = passive support

That may be your definition, but speak for yourself. BTW, isn’t Warner (the author of one of them) a Republican?

Posted by: womanmarine at January 25, 2007 4:37 PM
Comment #205030

“It’ll take at least 1,000,000 more to do the job right. Neither Bush or Congress have the gonads to send that many troops over there.”

Ron Brown,

You do realize that we don’t have that many ground forces I assume?

That aside I actually agree with you to a degree. We should have carried out a true occupation which would have meant reinstating the draft, but Bush, Cheney, Rummy, and pals failed to plan for any post invasion problems. At this point no one could muster enough public support to reinstate the draft and we’d also have to topple the new Iraqi government.

I believe however that even if we had assembled a “Marshall Plan” type strategy for Iraq that things still would have dissolved into chaos whether it was after 5, 10, or even 50 years of occupation. More than 1,000 years of history bear witness to the Sunni vs. Shi’a divide.

That’s why I prefer Warner’s message to Bush. It contains specific language indicating what our responsibility is to Iraq and what the Iraqi’s must sort out for themselves. I could care less that he’s a Republican or whether “surge” is defined as an augmentation or an escalation.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 25, 2007 5:00 PM
Comment #205033

So, KansasDem, you’re ok with the knowledge that this Democratic congress is impotent to do anything about the war and we are going to end up staying the course until 2009 when a new president is elected?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 25, 2007 5:08 PM
Comment #205034

“President Bush said something about being willing to negotiate with congress on strategies.”

The Traveller,

Bush also said he read the ISG report and was considering their reccomendations. Can you name one single reccomendation from the ISG that Bush has even remotely implemented.

Bush has his head so deeply buried in Neo-Con Groupthink he can’t see beyond it. The “no one else has a plan” rhetoric doesn’t fly anymore.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 25, 2007 5:12 PM
Comment #205036

“you’re ok with the knowledge that this Democratic congress is impotent to do anything about the war”

Rhinehold,

I’m still holding out hope for impeachment.

Actually, while that’s true, I said that for shock value. I do think if the message gets loud enough and bipartisan enough Bush may listen. I really do like the wording of Warner’s resolution.

I’m certainly not in favor of pulling the plug on funding. I believe it would lead to a disorganized clusterf**k of a withdrawal and result in the catastrophic loss of American life.

My opinion could change in the coming months.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 25, 2007 5:23 PM
Comment #205039


” I say we withdraw from Bagdad save for whatever contingent is needed to protect the seat of government,”

According to an article in the N Y Times, this is the seat of government we will be protecting.

The Iraq Parliment has been adjourned since November because on average only 65 of 275 members ever bother to show up for the sessions. Therefore, laws like the Exxon/Mobil/BP oil deal are made behind closed doors and the Parliment is used to rubber stamp those laws when they are in session.

Members of the Iraqi Parliment are paid a salary of $120,000 per year and members complain it is not enough-one member said, he needs 40 guards when he is in Iraq ( WHEN HE IS IN IRAQ ) and the salary only pays for 20 guards. He must be out of the country on a lot of fact finding missions or the U.S. position in Iraq is so tenuous that the members of parliment can’t live in country. The speaker of the parliment want’s to fine members $400 for each missed session and replace absentee members but, a majority of members must be present to pass the legislation, how convenient.

Posted by: jlw at January 25, 2007 5:53 PM
Comment #205053

KansasDem
I’m very well aware that we don’t have 1,000,000 ground troops. I’m not even sure if we have 1,000,000 troops in all four branches of service. Maybe, if ya count the reserves and national guard.
I’m also very well aware that the draft will never be reinstated at this point. If Bush had tried to get it reinstated before we invaded Iraq he might have gotten it. But I kinda doubt it.
But that doesn’t alter the fact that we’d need at least that many troops to even begin to think about winning this war.
The message needs to be given to the Iraq Government in no uncertain terms that they either step up and take control or they’ll find themselves without our support.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 25, 2007 7:08 PM
Comment #205054

Just Googled our military strength.
The numbers are according to the Department of Defense.

Available (18 - ?) - 67,742,879
Total - 2,369,239
Total Front Line - 1,421,950

Reckon we do have 1,000,000 troops but sending to Iraq them would make us vaunerable on the home front as well as other areas.
Reckon we could tap the 67,742,879 available but that would require the draft. And that just aint gonna happen any time soon.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 25, 2007 7:30 PM
Comment #205059

What does that mean in the long run? I’m not sure, some people will abandon the parties to support the Libertarian, Green, Reform, Natural Law and other parties. More and more people are just going to become unwilling to divest anything at all into the political landscape creating a downward spiral into entropy and the eventual end of our form of government.

I agree with you whole heartedly. I have a friend who was pro Reagan years ago and was pro Bush more recently. He has stopped listening to talk radio and told me the other night he just doesn’t care anymore. He is totally disillusioned by what happened to the Republican and “Conservative” movements of late.

Posted by: gergle at January 25, 2007 8:17 PM
Comment #205060


We could come up with an extra 100,000 or 200,000 troops probably fairly quickly. The main problem would be in support and armor. I doubt the the military has upgraded the armor on humvees in Europe, and Korea the way the ones in Iraq have been and that would take time.

Posted by: jlw at January 25, 2007 8:21 PM
Comment #205074

KansasDem,

Bush also said he read the ISG report and was considering their reccomendations. Can you name one single reccomendation from the ISG that Bush has even remotely implemented.

Well, Just off the top of my head…
(Not really. I got this from here . Thanks for giving me the incentive to read the thing, BTW.)

During these high-level exchanges, the United States should lay out an agenda for continued support to help Iraq achieve milestones, as well as underscoring the consequences if Iraq does not act. It should be unambiguous that continued U.S. political, military, and economic support for Iraq depends on the Iraqi government’s demonstrating political will and making substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance. The transfer of command and control over Iraqi security forces units from the United States to Iraq should be influenced by Iraq’s performance on milestones.

Also:

One of the most important elements of our support would be the imbedding of substantially more U.S. military personnel in all Iraqi Army battalions and brigades, as well as within Iraqi companies. U.S. personnel would provide advice, combat assistance, and staff assistance. The training of Iraqi units by the United States has improved and should continue for the coming year. In addition to this training, Iraqi combat units need supervised on-the-job training as they move to field operations. This on-the-job training could be best done by imbedding more U.S. military personnel in Iraqi deployed units. The number of imbedded personnel would be based on the recommendation of our military commanders in Iraq, but it should be large enough to accelerate the development of a real combat capability in Iraqi Army units. Such a mission could involve 10,000 to 20,000 American troops instead of the 3,000 to 4,000 now in this role. This increase in imbedded troops could be carried out without an aggregate increase over time in the total number of troops in Iraq by making a corresponding decrease in troops assigned to U.S. combat brigades. Another mission of the U.S. military would be to assist Iraqi deployed brigades with intelligence, transportation, air support, and logistics support, as well as providing some key equipment.

Why the “surge?”

Because of the importance of Iraq to our regional security goals and to our ongoing fight against al Qaeda, we considered proposals to make a substantial increase (100,000 to 200,000) in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. We rejected this course because we do not believe that the needed levels are available for a sustained deployment… We could, however, support a short term redeployment or surge of American combat forces to stabilize Baghdad, or to speed up the training and equipping mission, if the U.S. commander in Iraq determines that such steps would be effective.

Some of the stuff in the ISG is happening, and quite a bit isn’t. To turn your question around (since you seem to support the ISG), what is congress doing to implement any of this? Are they not refusing outright to discuss strategy with the Administration? Are they not making a show of looking like they oppose what little Bush is doing?

Posted by: TheTraveler at January 25, 2007 9:23 PM
Comment #205081

The Democrats are still trying to act like the minority party—to just “be against” things so they can wash their hands of any responsiblity for them.

But sorry. The majority party doesn’t get to act that way. And after screaming and hollering about the lack of bipartisanship and campaigning on the need for it, refusing to even sit down with the President and discuss alternatives is just despicable.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at January 25, 2007 9:45 PM
Comment #205082

jlw
I doubt they have either. But even if they had the armor I don’t think 200,000 is enough.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 25, 2007 9:48 PM
Comment #205087

jlw,

after reading this I wonder if perhaps it would be better if they didn’t meet…

Iraq’s Shiite prime minister and Sunni lawmakers hurled insults at one another during a raucous session of Parliament on Thursday, with the prime minister threatening a Sunni lawmaker with arrest and the Sunni speaker of Parliament threatening to quit.
Posted by: Rhinehold at January 25, 2007 10:09 PM
Comment #205088

Rhinehold said: “No, I meant in comparison with what they said they were going to do and what they are actually doing.”

Democrats got you there. They got elected WITHOUT saying what they would do. They campaigned on what they stood for, NOT what they would do. Therefore, no one is going to be able to make the argument they didn’t do what they said they would.

It was a brilliant political strategy to promise nothing and ride the demise of public approval for Republicans right into power.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2007 10:12 PM
Comment #205089

jlw, seems to me the Iraqis need to move their capital to Kurdistan, or at least North of, and outside Baghdad. Duh! This is so blatantly obvious from your comments, it demonstrates how unready these people are to think in terms of solution.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2007 10:17 PM
Comment #205099


“Unquestioning belief is not rooted in faith-but in doubt.”

Posted by: jlw at January 25, 2007 10:44 PM
Comment #205150

I think we should be more active in pushing for the end of this war. Non-binding resolutions are nice, but it’s not as if we need that kind of backing to get things done.

What needs to be done is to demand reasonable results, and when the president’s plan fails to meet them, as they have these past few years, we start putting together resolutions limiting involvement, requiring additional reports and other things be put in before extensions are granted and so on and so forth.

If we want political cover, we’re not going to get it by sitting still. We’re going to get it by making continuance of things dependent on Bush actually getting something right.

In the meantime, we can hammer them on all the things that aren’t getting done because of this war in Iraq.

This is no time to be timid, and think many Democrats in Congress are too used to being on the sidelines at the moment. They need to realize that two-thirds of this country agrees with them right now, and if we worry about the Republicans calling us backstabbers later on, then we’re every bit the wimps they’re calling us.

It’s not as if we don’t have spectacularly good reasons for what we think about this war, and we do not have the problem like the Republicans do and like we did after Vietnam of having a Party divided on the subject. (that’s part of why the legacy of Vietnam was so strong an inhibiting factor on Democrat fortunes thereafter)

It’s the Republicans who are in the crappy position, and we have an advantage: They are the ones who lost the war, and they are the ones who ran it. Let’s not waste time worrying about what a bunch of Demagogues are saying, let’s do what the American people are telling us to do: get us out of this war.

If the Republicans stand in our way in the Senate, as they are apt to do, then we can slam them as favoring the status quo, which horrible enough as it is, will be electoral poison.

Let’s serve ourselves a nice heaping serving of guts and get the American people’s will done. Even if every attempt gets scuttled by the Republicans in the Senate, in 2008, the Republicans will pay the price for it.

Oh, and regarding the ISG report? Traveller, when the ISG group made its presentation, Baker came out and said that this wasn’t going to be an exercise in the President cherrypicking what he liked. The recommendations were meant to be taken together as a whole. I don’t think you can argue that he has done that, since he fundamentally rejected any diplomatic outreach, and also did not send our soldiers to Iraq in an advisory role, but as a regular military force. The initial military recommendations were against the surge, and many former Generals, including insurgency expert Gen. Odom look at it and find it absolutely useless.

The truth is plain: Bush rejected the ISG’s recommendations. The Republicans now own this war more than ever before. If he had agreed, then he might have had a means to say that the rest of us were in the same boat. We’re not.

Bush right now is in open defiance of the will of the American people regarding our military policy. That can’t last, and hopefully, the Democrats in Congress will have the courage to make sure it doesn’t.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 26, 2007 8:46 AM
Comment #205157

Stephen D., our troops have standing orders to shoot to kill Iranians involved in suspicious activities. We have two naval carrier fleets moving into the Persian Gulf. We have a war of insults taking place between Ahmadinejad and the White House.

I think it is naive to imply this president’s open defiance can’t last. This war can escalate in many ways, all using Iraq as the base for widening it.

If your party is smart, still questionable, it will anticipate Bush’s moves and head him off at the pass. Isolating this president can turn out to be like cornering a bear with a cub. Convince Bush he has nothing to lose, and he may just act that way.

If I were leading the Democrat party, I would see two choices. Impeach both Bush and Cheney at the same time, OR, give this President some room to pursue his surge and fail on his own merits, at which point, he will likely capitulate all on his own.

He is aware this is his last chance, his own party is telling him that. Give him some room to wriggle out of the corner he has placed himself in, or face the most powerful person in the world with nothing left to lose no matter what he does.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 26, 2007 9:45 AM
Comment #205167

TheTraveler,

Re: the ISG report, I was referring to the ISG,s specific recommendations. Certainly the comments you provide precede recommendations 40 thru 45 which have to do with our military role in Iraq:

“RECOMMENDATION 40: The United States should not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 41: The United States must make it clear to the Iraqi government that the United States could carry out its plans, including planned redeployments, even if Iraq does not implement its planned changes. America’s other security needs and the future of our military cannot be made hostage to the actions or inactions of the Iraqi government.

RECOMMENDATION 42: We should seek to complete the training and equipping mission by the first quarter of 2008, as stated by General George Casey on October 24, 2006.

RECOMMENDATION 43: Military priorities in Iraq must change, with the highest priority given to the training, equipping, advising, and support mission and to counterterrorism operations.

RECOMMENDATION 44: The most highly qualified U.S. officers and military personnel should be assigned to the imbedded teams, and American teams should be present with Iraqi units down to the company level. The U.S. military should establish suitable career-enhancing incentives for these officers and personnel.

RECOMMENDATION 45: The United States should support more and better equipment for the Iraqi Army by encouraging the Iraqi government to accelerate its Foreign Military Sales requests and, as American combat brigades move out of Iraq, by leaving behind some American equipment for Iraqi forces.”

I’d also like to stress the words “if the U.S. commander in Iraq determines that such steps would be effective” when the ISG makes reference to a “surge”. Casey said no and he’s gone.

You ask, “To turn your question around (since you seem to support the ISG), what is congress doing to implement any of this?”

This is exactly why I prefer and support Warner’s proposal. His version is fairly specific as I’ve previously mentioned: “the new resolution calls for U.S. military operations to be focused primarily on “maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq, denying international terrorists a safe haven, conducting counterterrorism operations, promoting regional stability, and training and equipping Iraqi forces to take full responsibility for their own security.”

“In other similar language, it proposes that the United States “engage selected nations in the Middle East to develop a regional, internationally-sponsored peace and reconciliation process for Iraq.”

Posted by: KansasDem at January 26, 2007 10:51 AM
Comment #205172

David R. Remer-
If he does get us into Iran, expect a catastrophe for the Republicans in the next election. I don’t know what the man is on if he thinks he can just waltz into Iran, having ground our military down to the nubs in Iraq. The Republicans ought to stage an intervention for the man of some sort.

Anybody who thinks that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats needs to look at what Bush has done with this war, and seems to be doing with Iran. What Democrat would be selling this kind of crazy to the American people?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 26, 2007 11:19 AM
Comment #205187
Anybody who thinks that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats needs to look at what Bush has done with this war …

There isn’t much difference between the whole lot of irresponsible incumbent politicians, as evidenced by their actions (not their rhetoric).

But such comments are great at fueling the partisan warfare.

What voters ought to carefully look at is what Congress has been doing while our troops risk life and limb, go without body armor, adequate medical care, and promised benefits.

That’s despicable and most Democrat and Republican incumbent politicians got us into this mess, watched and allowed blunder after blunder (often for political purposes; i.e. give ‘em rope to hang themselves with), and abdicated the responsibility, of Congress to officially declare war, to the President.

Most in Congress were watching and waiting to see how things went so that they could say they supported it (if it went well), or make excuses for supporting it (if it didn’t go well).
There were also voting themselves raises (8 times between 1997 and 2006).

Sure, the Republicans in Congress are a pathetic mess, but so are the Democrat politicians, since 90% of the same, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way, bunch are still there, and most supported the unnecessary war (who should have all been privy to much better intelligence that indicated there was really no WMD).

And, it seems extremely unlikely (not impossible) that Bush will be allowed to start another unnecessary, preemptive war on Iran or any other nation. However, the possibility for Bush to do such a thing indicates a glaring problem in the Constitution; the President shouldn’t have that much power. Congress should have to be responsible too.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 26, 2007 12:41 PM
Comment #205201

Stephen and d.a.n, you are both right. Shortly, there will be no difference between Dem’s and Rep’s on this Iraq war, the majority of both will want out of its civil war. And frankly, I see that as a very good thing for our troops, our debt, and our country.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 26, 2007 1:04 PM
Comment #205217

Part of the current problem is there are few (if any) good solutions, but there are many bad solutions.
Bush only knows “stay the course” because that’s his only last chance (in his mind) of salvaging his failed legacy.
It’s amazing that Congress even phrases it that way, like it’s a game where “saving face” is worth a try, despite the lives of our troops that are on the line.
Since there are no good solutions, Bush will get his way, and get to continue to risk U.S. troops lives, despite the almost (if not completely) impossible odds of 21,500 more troops having any significant impact. Especially as the violence grows worse, and increasing numbers of Iraqis want us out now.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 26, 2007 1:29 PM
Comment #205243


How to snatch VICTORY from the jaws of defeat.

First, a quick rehash of news events. I am sure we remember when the Saudi ambassador resigned and just the other day, the announcement that 600 members of the Mahdi militia were arrested.

The President’s surge will be an overwhelming success. I say this because the MSM has been at least temporarily co-opted and the surge is being done in conjunction with a reversal of strategy and objectives. The neocons have convinced the president that his legacy and indeed the survival of the Republican party is in grave danger because of his Doctrine of Democracy. Therefore, democracy is out the window and no longer a part of the strategy. The new strategy is to neutralize al-Sadr’s Mahdi militia and use the Shia dominated Iraq army and the American military to slaughter the Sunni resistance. That is happening right now as I write. By summer it will all be over.

If all goes as planned and the mission in Iraq is under control, the president’s popularity will rise dramatically. Those who’s belief has faltered will have a renewed faith in their great leader and it will be the Democrats and those who oppose the neocons who will be the big loosers. There may even be the opportunity for the true neocon candidate to throw his hat into the ring. But, irreguardless it will be on to Iran before the elections. Wheither the president has or has not the authority to invade Iran will not be much of an issue. The president will have no choice because provocation will force the president to act to protect our troops. There is also Iran’s nuclear program as reinforcement.

The mission in Iran will be quite different and easier to achieve. The oil fields of Iran are concentrated in the southern plains and far less mountainous than most of Iran. We will bomb Iran back to the Stone Age, rout their army in the south and occupy the oil fields. We will then defend the oil by slaughtering the plastic key wearing hordes as they charge the American positions. Hurrah for American manifest destiny.

Posted by: jlw at January 26, 2007 2:54 PM
Comment #205251

jlw,

That’s interesting.

There’s just a few problems …
(1) Not enough troops.
It will take a lot more troops.
If it were 221,500 troops instead of 21,500 troops, partial success might be plausible.
(2) Sunnis of surrounding nations won’t ignore the “slaughter [of] the Sunni resistance”.
(3) most of all Iraqis want the U.S. out now.
(4) the rest of the world won’t ignore the “bomb[ing of] Iran back to the Stone Age”.
(5) peace in that region is very unlikely for a very long time.
(6) the U.S. can’t afford the cost (already, the U.S. is swimming in massive debt; over $42 trillion nation-wide).
(7) the U.S. can’t win a war that the people of the U.S. don’t support.
(8) more blunders (like these) by an irresponsible and incompetent Congress and the Executive Branch will sabotage any possibilities of success.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 26, 2007 4:27 PM
Comment #205258


Dan:

(1) The troop levels you mention are what is need to stop the carnage and stabalize the country. If we are going to take sides and use the Shia as allies, far fewer troops will be needed. 20 or 30,000 in Bagdad, 120,000 along the borders of Jordan and Syria. If necessary Israel can keep Syria occupied. If it is Shia against Sunni, militias like the Mahdi can be co-opted. With the right incentives, even the powerful Kurdish militias can be encouraged to fight against the hated Sunnis. The Saudis have money but not many fighters and they don’t have much of a choice.

(2) Guarding the borders with Jordan and Syria will have a major impact on help for the Sunni’s. If we have to leave the border with Iran exposed allowing Iranians to crossover and help the Shia it just helps with the neocons eventual plans for Iran.

(3) Just as in any conflict, most people are going to stay hidden in their homes and not get involved. When you say most, that is women, children and old people.

(4) What is the World going to do about it, put sanctions on us, nuke us? What has the World done so far to stop what the neocons are doing?

(5) Peace is in the eye of the beholder. Peace can mean preventing interference with the Exxon oil pumps.

(6) When have the neocons worried about the debt? Keep the people scared and you got the political power to do what you want ( Iran will be launching a satellite into orbit very soon, oh my God they can nuke us). Neocons-what good is a country without debt if our enemies defeat us. We’ll fix the economy after our enemies are defeated.

(7) Watch the support grow if the new strategy starts showing progress.

(8) You must have missed the VP’s interview with Blitzer, there have been no blunders. The Democrats in Congress can do nothing to stop this without support from the Republicans. Lieberman is a neocon and there are a few other Democrats who might go along. The Democrats in the Senate have said they need at least 13 Republicans just to pass a non-binding agreement over a filibuster.

The Democrats in the House could vote to cut off funds but, the Senate has to agree and with Cheney and Lieberman voting against it there is no chance. Even if it was 51 to 49 for cutoff, the votes to override a veto are not there. The president is the King, the decider and there ain’t nobody gonna stop him now.

I can only hope that my senario is wrong or that you are right and it won’t work but, I don’t think anything is going to stop the neocons. How many votes does it take to impeach? Do you think enough Republicans will have the stones to join with the Democrats to stop their president?

Posted by: jlw at January 26, 2007 6:02 PM
Comment #205259

jlw,
I’d like to think we could salvage Iraq, but I think the cost will be too high (cost and lives).
How do you ask our troops to die for some foreign nation that was never our friend?
Yes, I’m hoping some Republicans will join the Democrats and think of a way to stop Bush.
Yes, I say Wolf Blitzer’s interview with Cheney.
Cheney and Bush are both in denial.
If Bush is allowed to continue with more blunders (and there’s no reason to think the blunders will now end), there will most likely be more death and destruction.
Also, is it the right thing for our troops?
Should our troops be used this way?
How many more U.S. troops must die and be maimed to salvage Bush’s failed legacy.
Is Iraq salvagable?
The quagmire in Iraq is not making the U.S. safer.
It’s time to start pulling out of Iraq.
Most Iraqis don’t want us there anyway.
Most U.S. troops don’t want us there either.

  • Most Iraqis polled want us to leave (who can blame them?). 82% of Iraqis “strongly oppose” the continuing occupation, and 45% of Iraqis feel attacks against coalition troops are justified! The battle for hearts and minds has already been lost!

  • A poll of U.S. troops in Iraq (released by the Zogby International polling firm) finds that 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should leave Iraq.

  • In March of 2006, 25% of U.S. troops said the U.S. troops should leave Iraq immediately.

  • Our troops deserve better. It’s not right to subject our troops to danger for nation-building and baby-sitting civil wars. Iraq will have their civil war with or without us.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 26, 2007 6:16 PM
Comment #205262


Dan: I posted what I think is close to what they think and what they are going to do. I agree with you 100%. The greatest thing Bush and Cheney could do for our country is resign.

Posted by: jlw at January 26, 2007 6:42 PM
Comment #205265

jlw,
You may be right.
If so, I fear we’re in for a bigger quagmire.
And the cost will be enormous (money and the lives of Iraqis and U.S. and coalition troops).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 26, 2007 7:01 PM
Comment #205399

BTW, another reason that this non-binding resolution was a bad idea, it has brought Jane Fonda out of the woodwork… *sigh*

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 28, 2007 6:27 AM
Comment #205460

Watchblog Manager
My personal info is being rememberd on this site.
I don’t knoe if it’s my computer or the site.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 28, 2007 4:14 PM
Post a comment