Senate Republicans have drafted legislation that aims to spell out how the war in Iraq will end. One can only hope, given our present national leadership on both sides of the aisle, that the word “victory” shows up somewhere in all that legalese. I wouldn’t bet on it, though.
This move by members of the president’s own party seems on its face to be a rebuke to the president for his conduct of the war. But that’s not so, according to Sen. John Warner (R-VA):
Mr. Warner said the underlying message was, “we really mean business, Iraqis, get on with it.” The senator, an influential party voice on military issues, said he did not interpret the wording of his plan as critical of the administration, describing it as a “forward-looking” approach.
“It is not a question of satisfaction or dissatisfaction,” he said. “This reflects what has to be done.”
Well, okay I guess. But do we need legislation in the US to tell the Iraqis what to do? And have the Iraqis been slack in their committment to fight off the terrorists and Baathist? I would answer no to both questions.
Looking at this idea from a broader point of view, the GOPers surely had to know how the press would spin it. It looks for all the world like Republicans are busting a Republican president’s knuckles over an issue that most Republican senators have been all too weak in defending. Add to it the misguided McCain amendment that bans practices that are already illegal–we really mean it’s illegal this time!–and may ban practices that we need to conduct the war, and you have the appearance of a Congress that’s either trying to take over leading the war or is not so gently rebuking the administration for its conduct of the war. Yet they deny they’re doing that.
And these same Republicans, with the exception of McCain, haven’t done nearly enough to beat back the “Bush LIED” lie.
All of this makes me wonder, how much worse would a Democrat senate majority really be? The GOPers spend too much, they killed ANWR drilling again, and they’re making moves on the war that are at least head-scratchers and probably counterproductive to actually winning the war. This is libDem stuff, not bedrock conservatism or even common sense. The only thing the Democrats could do that would be worse would be to cut off funding of the war entirely. Which is what some Democrat senators want to do.
This legislation makes me wonder if many Republicans aren’t far behind them.
ON THE OTHER HAND, the Senate Republicans did block Sen. Carl Levin’s attempt to tell Zarqawi just how long he has to survive, by setting a timetable for US withdrawal from Iraq. The measure got 40 votes–presumably all Democrat. A Democrat majority would probably have passed it, and it would have been a major mistake.
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