The headline I had written was straight news stuff: House Dems Approve Iraq Pullout. The second headline was closer to reality: GOP Plan to Shuck the Iraq Tar Baby Before Elections is Pure Politics. Neither tell the whole story: Bush cannot stay in Iraq, nor can he pull out.
If Bush goes to Congress citing success on the ground, he will no longer have a pretext to stay. The pull out will follow immediately. Meanwhile the ongoing chaos is, for most folk, the best argument for leaving. Bush is not most folk. Most folk didn't invade Iraq for the oil. Bush did. Pulling out under these conditions means the US gives up the permanent bases that the NEOCONS had planned. It cannot be forgot: this war was all about the price of oil --not the liberation of Iraq.
While the public and most media were focused on the Senate's Iraq debate, House Democrats passed a measure to pull US troops out of Iraq on a purely partisan vote of 223-201. An obvious conclusion is that House GOPs still don't get it. Politics is a greasy pole. Iraq is the grease!
Legislation to pull troops out of Iraq passes 223-201. Like lightning striking, House Democratic leaders wasted no time in bringing legislation to pull US troops out of Iraq to the floor and passing it on a party-line vote Thursday evening, just hours after President Bush released a July report that gave very mixed reviews on the success of US military efforts in Baghdad.
In her speech for the bill Thursday afternoon, Pelosi linked it to the Bush administration's July assessment report on Iraq, which had been released earlier in the day. Pelosi argued the report showed there has been little progress in reducing the sectarian violence in Iraq or establishing a stable government.
"In the fifth year of the war, the president's strategy has failed to meet those key benchmarks," Pelosi said in her floor speech for the bill. "President Bush continues to urge patience, but what is needed and what the American people are demanding is a new direction."In the Senate, it's GOP politics as usual. GOP Senators Richard Lugar of Indiana and John Warner of Virginia will urge Bush to draft plans for a US troop withdrawal by the end of the year but leave it up to Bush to actually order the pullout. Like that's going to happen. The GOP, running scared, still tries to have it both ways. Obviously, Lugar and Warner have at least read the polls. Equally clear, they want to have it both ways. They still don't have the guts to break with a failed "President".
Their efforts will be seen for what they are: pure politics, a half-hearted attempt to break with Bush short of pissing him off. It's a dangerous strategy. When Bush fails utterly --as he already has --the GOP hangers-on will pay a terrible political price for having been partisan cowards.
Reuters spins somewhat differently.
While it has received a tepid response from Senate Democrats and the White House, the measure underscores the growing bipartisan opposition in the US Congress to the increasingly unpopular war.I also have a message for cowardly Democrats: how would you guys like to be remembered? Are you content to get re-elected simply because you are somewhat less loathsome than your GOP opponent? Is there left in this country no honor? No one of courage? No one of principle? Are Democrats consigned to winning seats because they are the lesser of two evils?
Lugar and Warner, two of the most prominent Republicans in the Senate on foreign affairs and military matters, have become increasingly critical of the war. Reuters claims that their position now leaves Bush in a difficult position with regard to continuing the war. Does it? Where are Lugar and Warner to go when Bush just slams the door on them? On this issue there are no "moderate" Republicans. It was Bush who drew the line in the sand. "You are either with us or you or for the terrorists", he infamously said. It's hard to imagine Lugar and Warner joining forces with Democrats whose own proposals for ending the Iraq debacle are only less tepid.
Democrats are only slightly less uninspiring. "They (Warner and Lugar) clearly recognize there is no purely military solution in Iraq," said a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spokesman. "But they put a lot of faith in the president - that he will voluntarily change course."
Well, that's the GOP for you! Faith over reason! Hope over truth! Ideology over facts! Still --I am not hearing from Washington the message that I should be hearing. Too many have bought into a favorite Bush tactic: blame the Iraqi people for the disaster that has befallen their country. Of two factors screwing up the Iraq debate, that is one of them. It's the fault of Iraqis that Bush destroyed their country. It's their fault --we are expected to believe --that Bush coveted Iraqi oil and resented Saddam Hussein's ability to lower oil prices with the spigot. It's the Iraqis fault, we're told, that Bush has the blood of some one million Iraqi citizens on his hands.
The other factor is a pernicious idea championed by the GOP. I call it the "bad apple" syndrome. The US military, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, is always held blameless for war crimes, misdeeds, incompetence, stupidity or simple criminality. All of this --from Abu Ghraib to Haditha --is the work of just a few "bad apples"! Uh huh! Rainwater is beer.
--Republican senators seek Iraq withdrawal plan
Len Hart is a Houston based film/video producer specializing in shorts and full-length documentaries. He is a former major market and network correspondent; credits include CBS, ABC-TV and UPI. He maintains the progressive blog: The (more...)