The Democrats need to replace their donkey emblem with a photo of Gilda Radner’s SNL character, Emily “Neeever mind” Latella:
After inveighing stubbornly for months about their non-negotiable demand for an Iraq withdrawal timetable, the Dems are pulling a Latella. The nutroots will not be happy. Via Politico:
Each day lately, Democrats inch closer to giving President Bush more money for the war in Iraq without any serious mandates for withdrawing U.S. troops.
Democratic leaders are loath to acknowledge they’ve backed off, but lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, as well as congressional aides, say Democrats are trying to find a way to provide continued troop funding while searching for some compromises that show they’re still intent on challenging the president on the war.
The possible conditions for troop funding include anti-torture rules and benchmarks for Iraqi political reconciliation, language sure to upset an impatient Democratic anti-war base that wants immediate troop withdrawals.
According to one senior Democratic lawmaker, there’s a growing discomfort among pro-defense Democrats about linking a $50 billion Iraq measure to troop withdrawal.
“We have to come off this lack of funding for the military operations,” the lawmaker said. “We have to continue the funding. We don’t want to look like we’re against troop funding. … We should separate the funding discussion from the rest of the war.”
Now it hits them!
Ed Morrissey invokes Lucy and Charlie Brown.
Meantime, Gen. Petraeus spotlights progress and hard work on the ground:
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iting a 60 percent decline in violence in Iraq over the last six months, Gen. David Petraeus said Thursday that maintaining security is easier than establishing it and gives him more flexibility in deploying forces.
Armed with charts showing that as of Wednesday, weekly attacks and Iraqi civilian deaths have plunged to levels not seen here since early 2006, Petraeus said the reduction lets him make force adjustments to address remaining problem areas, which would include northern Iraq.
Speaking to reporters at the U.S. military’s Camp Victory, he said the improved security is due to a number of factors including a “a reduction in some of the signature attacks that are associated with weapons provided by Iran,” as well as a cease-fire called by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that he said had a particularly noticeable impact what had been one of the most violent areas of Baghdad.
And he said there has been a “reduction in some of the signature attacks” associated with insurgents using Iranian weapons, including deadly armor-piercing rounds.
But, he added, that it is “hard to tell if that’s because there has already been a cessation of provision of those items, or if there has been direction to stop.”
At the same time, he said the military has detained individuals as recently as October who were trained by Iranians, evidence that the instruction has continued.
Petreaus, who is scheduled to give Congress and the American people an update next March on progress in Iraq, and map out some plans for U.S. force levels down the road, refused to offer too much optimism.
“Nobody says anything about turning a corner, seeing lights at the end of tunnels, any of those other phrases,” said Petraeus. “You just keep your head down and keep moving.”
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