Senate Ponders Iraqi Pullout


The Wash Times reports on today's Senate debate (and likely vote) on bringing the boys and girls home from Iraq:

Senators today will be forced to take a position on two different proposals for withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the votes coming in an election year where polls show support for the conflict is steadily declining.

Democrats are sponsoring both plans, one to start a "phased redeployment" by Jan. 31, the other to pull out combat troops by July 1, 2007.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is pushing for the latter, while Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is pulling for the former. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), the head of the Armed Services Committee, is confident that the 55 GOP senators will stick together, which would kill the chance of either Democratic amendment being attached to the pending defense authorization bill.

Whole article here.

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  1. It seems that Bush was right when he had his “Mission Accomplished” gala on the navy ship. What’s left for the Army to do? The job now belongs to cops, not soldiers. Even if we had some business going into Iraq, why do we insist on putting them on missions for which they are poorly trained and under-equipped? For all the training and technology of our Army, we have no business meddling in civil wars or fighting crime in foreign countries. If we did, we’d have invaded Colombia years ago…

  2. Doesn’t the senate know that the pullout method really isn’t an effective form of birth control?

  3. Is that like coitus interruptus?

  4. If the Democrats were to take control of both houses of Congress in the 2006 elections, would they push similar legislation?

  5. Phileleutherus Lipsiensis,

    No. Then they could make it their war.

  6. The basic problem is that when you’ve got a fucked up situation it’s only natural to conclude that the heavily armed authority figures should “do something.” But what, pray tell, should they do? What could they do?

    Once you move past the natural reaction and start asking the hard questions, it becomes clear that sometimes you just have to let go and accept that there are some situations that cannot be resolved by outsiders with guns.

    I’m not saying that insiders (armed or otherwise) will be able to do any better, but the bottom line is that there are some problems that can’t be solved simply by bringing in more government employees with guns.

  7. Even if both houses passed a resolution calling for withdrawal, would they have the authority to make such an order legally binding? I’ve never heard of a case where the president was compelled to order a troop pullout due to a congressional vote.

    I know that none of the major conflicts in which the US engaged since WW2 have been officially declared as wars by congress, but there was often some kind of resolution authorizing military action. Can congress revoke its authorization? Can they say that they refuse to allocate any funds to the war effort thereby attepting to force the president to order a pullout? Or are the funds for war taken out of the DOD funds in amounts that congress can’t directly control? (Should I have paid more attention in high school government class?)

  8. BG-

    I think the administration would argue that killing foreign civilians and recklessly wasting the lives of Americans in pointless wars is an inherent power of the executive.

    And if that didn’t work, they could argue that…OMG! Look! Two men kissing! Holy shit!

  9. BG,

    All the Congress has to do is knock the funding out from under the program. Funding for military operations have specific constitutional time limits. So yeah, if they can overcome a veto, the Congress can end the war.

    The Congress can also impeach and then try the President if the President tries screw around with the funding issue.

    Not that either of these are going to happen.

  10. Thanks Phileleutherus Lipsiensis/ thoreau

    So its technically possible to effectively compel(sp?) withdrawal through funding but not likely they will do so.

  11. In an 86-13 vote, the Senate turned back a proposal from some Democrats that would require the administration to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by July 1, 2007, with redeployments beginning this year. No Republicans voted in favor of the plan.

    Minutes later, the Senate rejected by 60-39 the proposal more popular with Democrats, a nonbinding resolution that would call for the administration to begin withdrawing troops, but with no timetable for the war’s end.

    That vote was mostly along party lines.

    Siding with all but one Republican were six Democrats – Sens. Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and three running for re-election this fall: Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Bill Nelson of Florida and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

    Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who also is up for re-election, was the only Republican supporter of the troop withdrawal resolution. Associated Press

    Predictable mush. The Dems will whine and cry about the cost of the war, in blood and treasure, but when push comes to shove they can only get behind a non-binding resolution. The R’s can repeat that whole he was for it before he was against it meme from the `04 Presidential campaign. Blech.


  12. “The Congress can also impeach and then try the President if the President tries screw around with the funding issue.”

    You left out those steadfast defenders of liberty and the Constitution, the Supreme Court.

  13. Phileleutherus Lipsiensis,

    Congress could also affect the situation in Iraq by declaring war on another country. Like China. Probably would need all of our troops for that one. The Democrats could then run on having ended the war in Iraq.

  14. OK, it’s time for someone to make a real estimate of when we will be leaving. I will do this by considering past events. How after WWII did we leave Germany and Japan? How long did it take us to leave Korea? Hmmm…how long after the freakin’ Spanish-American War did it take us to leave Cuba and the Phillipeans?

    It seems pretty safe to say that we will never be leaving. Kids who are now in diapers will be collecting Social Security and we will still have troops in Iraq. Correction, Social Security will collapse and we’ll still have troops there. Unless the Iraqis manage to develop a native military force capable of forcing our troops to leave (not too likely)we’ll be getting a tan there for the next century.

  15. I’d like to see the troops come home, but just from the size, complexity and permanence of some of the bases we’re building over there, I don’t see it happening anytime soon, barring some unforeseeable change in the political climate.

  16. Eryk Boston says “Kids who are now in diapers will be collecting Social Security and we will still have troops in Iraq.”

    I have never seen a posting by a Hit & Run commenter that was so optimistic about Social Security.

  17. I, on the other hand, have seen H and R commentors respond to a statement without reading the very next sentence first.

  18. If I were a senator I would just introduce a resolution declaring war in Iraq. I just really want to see all the suporters of this war try to weasle out of puting their name on it.

  19. Even if you continue to believe that invading Iraq was a good idea, the time has come. The in-your-face presence of the American military in Iraq is encouraging people to join the insurgency (as it inevitable will wherever a foreign army occupies a hostile population), pushing some of the political factions needed for a government to function to operate outside the political process, and undercutting the legitimacy of the quasi-puppet Iraqi government in the eyes of the public.

    The promise of American pullout would encourage the government, the militias, and the insurgents to negotiate their own political space. Getting the insurgents, even if only some of them, to become political players would eliminate the immediate military threat to the Iraqi govenrment and allow to concentrate their security forces on squashing the terrorist jihadis we let into their country, while keeping criminals and militias in line. A stronger govenrment that could provide security for the public would, in turn, encourage the public to look to democratic leaders, rather than armed groups, as the legitimate authority.

    It’s a virtuous circle than the pig-headed insistence that we “stay the course,” done for domestic consumption becuase it’s all the Republcian party has going into the election, is interrupting.

  20. I more or less agree with joe. I’m not convinced that getting out will turn around as many people as joe thinks it will turn around. I’m more inclined to believe that the mess will happen with or without us. But joe’s scenario is at least plausible, and I think he’d grant that my scenario is at least plausible.

    Either way, we need to set a date and tell the Iraqi government that if they don’t want all hell to break loose then it is in their best interests to get their damn act together on schedule.

    Schedules have a way of motivating people to get shit done.

  21. I’m all for pulling out of Iraq.

    When the elected Iraqi government asks us.

    If they don’t ask us I propose that we say no longer than we did in Germany post WW2.

    BTW the Iraqis are increasingly taking up the duties formerly done by the US military.

  22. BTW the Mission Accomplished sign was put up by ship’s company. They accomplished their mission.

    It was not a comment on the overall war effort.

    Some times wars take longer and cost more.

  23. I have never heard George Bush, nor Dick Cheney, nor Donald Rumsfeld, nor Condoleeza Rice, nor any Republican in Congress, nor anyone in the uniformed military say that our redeployment of our troops will be based on the wishes of the Iraqi govenrment. Nor have I ever seen the Iraqi people given the opportunity to vote on the question.

    I have heard the new PM of Iraq, and at least one of his predecessors, say that they wanted to leave as soon as possible. But for some reason, some inexplicable reason, they’ve never chosen to put the question to a vote of their people.

    But if you say so.

  24. We could withdraw to northern Iraq (“Kurdistan”) and tell the Iraqi government that we’d come help out if anything really major required it. Then go right back north once we’re done. That gets us out of the anti-American Iraqis’ faces but allows us to try to maintain stability in the region. The Kurds still love us and would like the added security. I’m sure that Turkey would be annoyed, but “withdrawing” from Iraq could be used to get the E.U. to keep them quiet.

    That, or we revive the Ottoman Empire and leave.

  25. A good majority of the Iraqi people now feel that the level of violence will decrease once we leave, as the primary motivation of the insurgency is to get rid of U.S. occupation and discourage collaboration with it. There will still be some sectarian violence, as well as a good measure of old fashioned criminal activity, but U.S. troops are not trained to handle these things anyway. The only thing keeping us there is Bush and Rummy want to save face.

  26. The only thing keeping us there is Bush and Rummy want to save face.

    That, and a severe lack of true Ottoman spirit. The Ottomans were rulers after all.

    A good majority of the Iraqi people now feel that the level of violence will decrease once we leave

    I doubt that very much. I predict the “insurgents” won’t get serious until the US actually pulls out. What they’re after is another Taliban style theocracy. I’m just not sure there’s enough of them to pull it off.

    But that’s why I vote for declaring the Kurds our bestest of friends, as well as winners of the lottery for Supreme Ruler of Iraq. Then we can call it day, pack up and come home.

    Got any better logic? I can’t see us doing anything any more intelligent anyway. A lottery is so much cleaner and easier than all this democray crap.

    The only legit interest we still have in Iraq is making sure terrorist types don’t get control of the oil. So, before announcing the winner of the lottery for Supreme Ruler of Iraq, we plant discrete little bombs all over the oil pipe lines. If the terrorist unseat Our Friends the Kurds, we just start blowing up pipe lines. Hell, they’d be easy enough to bomb again later anyway if we had to.

    In fact, I just finished convincing myself that there really, really isn’t any good reason for staying over there.

  27. “A good majority of the Iraqi people now feel that the level of violence will decrease once we leave, as the primary motivation of the insurgency is to get rid of U.S. occupation and discourage collaboration with it.”

    So do the CIA and DIA. But, once again, Republicans partisans won’t listen what the people who actually know what they’re talking about are saying. You’d think there would be a little humility from the people who have gotten Iraq so wrong for so long; but then, cornered rats don’t usually spnd their time mulling over how they ended up in a corner.

  28. “OK, it’s time for someone to make a real estimate of when we will be leaving. I will do this by considering past events. How after WWII did we leave Germany and Japan?” [snip]

    Comment by: Eryk Boston

    I guess ignorance *is* bliss – I spend two years in Germany in the 1980’s, and was never shot at, blown up or beheaded, even when wandering around late at night, full of beer. Good thing that they didn’t tell me I was in mortal peril.

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