The LA Times ran a piece in which they study how the next few months are going to go with the bill to fund the troops:
Norman J. Ornstein, who studies relations between Congress and the White House at the American Enterprise Institute, said the confrontation would "play out over months, no matter what," and that the "crunch probably won’t come until August."
"If you get a confrontation over an emergency [spending bill], presidents almost always win those. He has the bully pulpit of saying, ‘They’re trying to tie my hands, blackmail me and cut off funds.’ He can prevail for a while," Ornstein said.
Moreover, refusing to compromise also would buy the president more time for his "surge" strategy to show benefits on the ground in Iraq.
If the scenario plays out as expected, the Senate will vote today to adopt an emergency war spending bill that sets a nonbinding timetable for withdrawal. Then, Senate and House negotiators will draw up a compromise version of the legislation — the House’s timetable was binding — and send it to the White House.
When that compromise arrives, probably shortly after Congress returns from its spring recess in mid-April, Bush is expected to veto it.
At that point, each will try to lay the blame at the other’s feet. How successful they are may largely depend on how the confrontation was framed in the public mind.
"Both sides have an interest in gaining the upper rhetorical hand with the public," Gergen said. "Bush wants to paint [the Senate bill] as an avenue to defeat, and the Democrats say the opposite." The Democrats argue that Bush "is not accepting any limitations or boundaries on the war."
One tool the Democrats could use would be to pass temporary spending extensions, known as continuing resolutions, for 30 days or so at a time. That would enable them to avoid the charge that they have cut off funding for the troops while keeping the heat on the White House to compromise.
Of course the LAT’s being the LAT’s they couldn’t let a whole article go without putting in some anti-Bush digs:
"In the long run, we’ve had four years of the war," Ornstein said, noting recent polls that show two out of three Americans favor setting a timetable for withdrawal. "With a super-majority sentiment that this was a disaster, Bush is going to suffer for it."
It’s a super majority now. Yeah. I guess he is ignoring the latest Gallup poll:
Would you favor or oppose Congress taking each of the following actions in regards to the war in Iraq? How about – [RANDOM ORDER]?
A. Denying the funding needed to send any additional U.S. troops to Iraq
2007 Mar 23-25
And when questioned about setting a timetable 60% were for the timetable….."super majority" it is not. 50-48 itself shows that it’s not a "super majority", but alas this is the LAT’s were talking about here. Not exactly a MSM outfit that is grounded in reality.
The Democrats just don’t get it. They will lose this fight. I have said from day one that Bush will not back down on this and either the Democrats believe they can force him to back down or they are just stupid. I vote the latter.
Do they not even understand that they cannot, CANNOT, tell the Commander In Chief how to run a war? If they believe Iraq is a disaster then use the power given to them under the Constitution, pull out all the funds for Iraq. But if they think they can dictate how the Iraq war is run they are sadly mistaken:
The Founding Fathers made the president commander in chief of the armed forces for a reason. Wars cannot be run, at least not successfully, by committee, and one decision-maker is more accountable than hundreds of members of Congress.
That fact didn’t deter the House last week from narrowly approving a measure containing objectionable features, including language constraining the way in which U.S. troops are prepared and scheduled for deployment in Iraq, as well as how and for how long they may participate in combat.
These decisions, however, are up to the president.
The House’s $124 billion Iraq spending bill – a version of which is working its way through the Senate this week – would violate the Constitution’s separation of powers principle by interfering with the president’s ability to exercise his powers as commander in chief.
The fact that the House bill also is larded with pork, including subsidies for such critical wartime industries as spinach growing and dairy farming, simply adds insult to injury. It is not every day that the Democratic leadership must bribe its own members with new spending, or even – as reported by The Politico- threaten them with yanking the earmarks for their districts, to obtain enough votes for a raid on the president’s constitutional authority.
This bill was passed by a "super majority" of 50-48 by including earmarks and pork that would have had the Democrats wailing about corruption if the roles were reversed. But do we hear that now? No. Now all of a sudden adding all this pork to buy votes is no big deal.
So let me wrap this up in a neat little package for you. The Democrats introduce a bill that dictates to our Commander In Chief how he must run this war. The bill BARELY passes by adding billions of bribes to various Senators and Congressmen, with nary a peep of protest by the left or our MSM.
The Senate likes to call itself ‘the world’s greatest deliberative body.’ If that was ever true, it certainly isn’t today. Walking away from a just fight in order to gorge on pork hardly counts as a profile in courage. Yet that’s precisely what the Democrat-dominated chamber did.
The vote was 50-48, with two Republicans — Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon — joining 48 Democrats in support. One Democrat, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, voted with the 47 Republicans in opposition.
Last week, a similar measure passed the House by a 218-212 vote. It called for a U.S. troop withdrawal by the end of August 2008. The Senate bill starts the troop pullout just three months from now, with a complete withdrawal expected by March 31, 2008.
Each bill also features $24 billion in pork-barrel spending. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid kept it in to buy support from reluctant members. It’s nothing but blood money for those who otherwise might be troubled by running from a fight we can still win.
Given Congress’ runaway spending, its members’ apparent willingness to be bought off and its disgraceful abandonment of the troops, this will go down as one of the most venal votes in the last 50 years — perhaps ever.
And the bill barely passes despite the fact that we are winning in Iraq:
It is indeed striking that war critics like Sens. Harry Reid and Joseph Biden, who in 2005 were calling on the Pentagon to mount a proper counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq, and to send enough troops to make it happen, should now be seeking ways to revoke legislative authority for that very operation. Exactly why they should have changed their minds on the issue is not obvious, although they and their colleagues do claim to be expressing not only their own judgment but the opinions and sentiments of the American people at large. If recent polls are to be trusted, however, these politicians may well turn out be wrong about popular sentiment. And if past history and our current experience in Iraq are any guide, they are certainly wrong about the war on the ground.
In fact, the historical record is clear. The roots of failure in fighting insurgencies like the one in Iraq are not military. To the contrary, Western militaries have shown remarkable skill in learning and relearning the crucial lessons of how to prevail against unconventional foes, and tremendous bravery in fighting difficult and unfamiliar battles. If Iraq fails, the cause will have to be sought elsewhere.[…]Thus far, the antiwar forces in both the United States and Europe have been greatly successful in presenting the Iraqi future in terms of an inevitable, and richly deserved, American defeat. Not even positive results on the ground have deterred them from pressing their case for withdrawal, or from winning influential converts in the heart of the U.S. Congress. If they succeed in their ultimate goal of forcing a withdrawal, they will take their place in another "long line," joining the shameful company of those who compelled the French to leave Algeria in disgrace and to stand by as the victorious FLN conducted a hideous bloodbath, and of those who compelled America to leave Vietnam under similar circumstances and to similar effect.
Unlike the French in Algeria, the United States is in Iraq not in order to retain a colony but to help create a free, open and liberal society in a part of the world still mired in autocracy and fanaticism. Will we stay long enough to defeat the jihadists, to engage Iraqis in the process of modern nation-building, and to ease the transition to a free society? Or will we quit before the hard work is done, leaving this vital part of the world to become an al Qaeda sanctuary, bathed in chaos, anarchy, and blood? As the polls suggest, a large constituency at home is waiting to learn the answer to this question, and so is a much larger constituency abroad. But time is running short.
"Act quickly," Gen. Petraeus wrote in January 2006, "because every army of liberation has a half-life." This is true not only in the field but at home. James Thurber once said that the saddest two words in the English language are "too late." Terrible as it is to think that our surge may have come too late, it is much more terrible to think that feckless politicians, out of whatever calculation, may pull the plug before the new approach is fully tested.
And terrible not only for Iraqis. For the French, the price of failure in Algeria was the collapse of one Republic and a permanent stain on the next–along with the deep alienation of the French military from the political establishment that it believed (with considerable justification) had betrayed it. Here at home, it took the American military almost a decade and a half to recover its confidence and resiliency after the failure and humiliation of Vietnam. How we would weather another and even more consequential humiliation is anybody’s guess; but the stakes are enormous, and the clock is ticking.
(If you read nothing else please read the above article in it’s entirety, a very important article about the history of counter-insurgency warfare and how we can easily win this fight, or lose it just as quickly)
The bill also gets passed with the Senators knowledge it has no chance of being signed into law.
So what can we learn from all this?
We learn that without question the Democrats want the United States of America to go down in defeat. We learn that the fact that the bloodshed in Iraq, if we leave before completing the job, would be unheard of matters nothing to the Democrats: (via Newsbusters reporting on the Today Show)
LAUER: What do you think happens if there’s a date certain set for that withdrawal?
BURNS: If United States troops stay, there will be mounting casualties and costs for the American taxpayer. If they leave, I think from the perspective of watching this war for four years or more in Baghdad, there’s no doubt that the conflict could get a great deal worse very quickly, and we’d see levels of suffering and of casualties amongst Iraqis that potentially could dwarf the ones we’ve seen to this point."
And later: "Most would agree there is a civil war, but a countervailing force exercised principally by Americans but also other coalition troops is a very significant factor that leaves the potential for a considerable worsening once you remove that countervailing force. . . Remove that countervailing force and then there will be no limit to this violence."
While Burns acknowledges we really do not know what’s going to happen (as none of us can see into the future) we can make an honest assessment. And any observer who is being honest with him or herself, not letting any bias creep into their thought process, almost has to acknowledge that if we leave before the Iraqi’s can fend for themselves there will be massive bloodshed. There will be a terrorist upheaval inside that country which will in turn create a terrorist state in which al-Qaeda can launch attacks INSIDE our borders.
Recall that we were very close to losing the Cold War. We had just about given in to the march of Communism with Nixon’s "Detente" and Carters non-response to Communist insurgencies worldwide. The MSM threw in the towel long before either of those two men and the American people were shrugging their shoulders to the whole thing. But then in came Ronald Reagan who told us all that Communism was not something to just accept, it was to be fought against.
We have a great leader in office right now who told us all that being attacked by terrorism is not something we should just accept. We must take the fight to them, we must take out sponsors of terrorism and we can’t wait for tomorrow to do it. We took out a tyrant and sponsor of terrorism and are building a free nation, one who will be our ally smack dab in the middle of our enemy, and the left and MSM want us to lose.
Will we let them force the greatest nation on earth to lose?
Bush’s response to these bills
And Wretchard’s thoughts after attending a briefing with Rear Admiral Mark Fox:
My own personal impression from the briefing is that many things are actually going right. But considering the nature of the Middle East and the fact that the enemy will adapt, the road ahead will be long and hard. Nevertheless, there is a feeling among some of confidence and probably no alternative but to persist in some form or the other, simply because the threats that grow out of the region really can’t be avoided. Just recently the British decided to pull some units out of Southern Iraq, but the recent abduction of sailors shows just how easily a crisis can pull units back in again. Like the Baghdad neighborhoods, Western strategy needs to find some way to clear and hold against the destabilizing forces in the area to avoid them flowing right back in. Some form of political stability has to be built, however painstakingly, other wise the West may wind up chronically fighting smaller and larger versions of Desert Storm into the distant future.
Regarding the present, one blogger raised the question of whether General Petreus had already run out of time to win his campaign, given efforts by the Congress to set a deadline on withdrawals Iraq. Of course Admiral Fox could provide no answer to that question other than to express confidence in the good sense of the American people. Personally, I thought that it quite amazing that Congress should think it could ever dictate a timetable upon events. Probably nothing is certain except that the Persian Gulf isn’t Indochina. Oil and terrorism mean that the West will always be back and even Congress probably can’t change that.
No, Congress cannot change this fact. This is a War on Terror that if ignored will hunt us down and bring down more towers. It cannot be ignored and wished away.
Blackfive has some emails from troops serving oversea’s:
From a soldier just returned to Ft. Hood from Iraq:
A lot of the guys in my unit can’t stand the weak, whiny, nonsense that is comming from Congress. I know it makes me sick to think these people get…to run our great country into the ground.
And from Camp Victory, anger:
I am in Camp Victory… I was in Tallil, and Balad in ’03/’04…I am sickened by the treasonous actions of the Democrats. I believe that they should consider themselves lucky that the Armed Forces, that they so readily give up for sacrifice, don’t turn their weapons on the most dangerous of our enemies in this
As a sailor in Kuwait (it sounds weird to me too), I just want to tell you that those cowardly, greedy, short-sighted, spineless pieces of you know what that voted for this abortion of bill, should all be forced to come here for tour, just for a reality check. How can they complain about the Iraqi government not STEPPING UP, when the Congress is all but falling down! Talk about factions and greed! I can’t believe the pork in that bill. If such an arbitrary date is not harmful, and we are leaving regardless of conditions, WHY NOT cut off funding for the Iraq campaign, and have us home tomorrow? Oh, right, they would look bad. The election news wouldn’t hide it. Oh, yeah, election…….. They believe that THEY will be in charge in November…..God forbid that there are any messy international problems, especially ones that they VOTED FOR AND AUTHORIZED!
What’s worse, however, is the reaction of their parents. I’ve received a lot of email from parents who describe heart-breaking phone calls with their sons and daughters in Iraq. They are counseling these young Americans who are now questioning why they are fighting for a group of people that are duplicitous, spineless, and certainly not worthy of them. IMHO, if you want to talk about damaging morale, this could be the final straw.
The Democrats care little about the morale of our soldiers or the morale of the American people. They care only about power. They tell the world that when the get into power they are going to drain the swamp but instead they fill in even more swamp water. They show our troops that they care little for the sacrifices made by them because either way, they (meaning the Democrats) are going to force our country to surrender a fight we are winning.
Good job Democrats!