Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Fools and Knaves...

House Passes Bill on Iraq Pullout. Hailed as turning point.

The House, with overwhelming, bipartisan support, voted yesterday to give the Bush administration two months to present to Congress its planning for the withdrawal of combat forces in Iraq.

The 377 to 46 vote was the first salvo of a new legislative strategy adopted by House
Democratic leaders (aka the Pelosians), away from partisan confrontation and toward a more incremental approach to war policy that can bring Republicans to their side.

With Senate leaders stymied in their efforts to force a change of course in Iraq, House Democratic leaders (aka the Pelosians) faced a choice of whether to continue pushing firm timelines for troop withdrawals, as many liberal Democrats want, or to search for bipartisan comity, even after the Senate had failed to find it.

"Our objective is to change direction in Iraq," said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.). "Those who want to support us in that are welcome to join us."

"Very clearly, there are people in the Democratic caucus who would like to work across party lines and have Congress play a constructive role in Iraq policy," said Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.), one of the bill's authors. "There is a center building in this institution that can now help drive this debate."

Under bill, the defense secretary would have 60 days to present to Congress plans for withdrawing combat forces and making a transition from a military mission to one of counterterrorism and the training of Iraqi security forces. But the measure would not specify a withdrawal timeline or require the administration to implement the plan.

The report would have to detail the number of troops necessary for the new missions, the equipment that would have to remain, exactly how troops and materiel would be brought home, and a timeline for the transition. After the initial report, the administration would have to report back every 90 days. Advocates said the continual requirement to report would keep discussions of troop reductions in the forefront of the war debate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid, who has said that any Iraq legislation should ensure troop withdrawals, gave no assurance yesterday that he would give the bill a Senate vote.

The bill, co-sponsored by Reps. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and English, attracted the support of 196 Democrats and 181 Republicans.

Thirty Democrats, largely from the party's antiwar wing, and 16 Republicans voted no.

The bill's authors hailed the overwhelming vote as a turning point, if for no other reason than that it would force a recurring debate on how the United States can get out of Iraq. "I think this bill is the crucial fulcrum, the key, the tipping point for pulling out of Iraq," Abercrombie said.

Like cockroaches when you turn on the light, the US House of Representatives can't wait to scurry away and surrender...It's really painful to watch. And does not bode well for this endeavor.