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Senate Passes $123 billion More for Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

Sets “Goal” of March Redeployment But Loopholes Ensure Tens of Thousands of Troops Will Remain
The Real Issue: Will Democrats Resuscitate Bush by Caving into His Veto or Continue to Challenge Him or Is Bush Lame or the Congress?
By Kevin Zeese

While the headlines will read that the Senate voted to withdraw U.S. troops in Iraq, the peace movement recognizes that the Senate bill will extend the war not end it. The exit date in the bill is merely a goal for the removal of combat troops, and there are large loopholes that would allow a commander in chief to keep as many troops as s/he wants in Iraq. The bill provides $123 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – nearly $20 billion more requested by Bush.

The real issue now is whether the Democrats will cave into President Bush’s threatened veto by providing a funding bill with no exit requirements or whether they will challenge the president further. If they cave they will have given Bush new life – he will no longer be a lame duck, but rather will remain “the decider.” The Congress will be seen as a “lame Congress.” How they respond will be determined after their April recess.

Many peace advocates held a demonstration shortly after the vote to protest the extension, rather than end of the war. The demonstration emphasized that the Democrats have the power to end the war and highlighted the deaths of U.S. soldiers and Iraqis with a series of gravestones and photos. The Hill described the protest as an “occupation” of the Hart Senate office building. See citation below for full article.

The vote was mostly a party-line 51-47 vote. Forty-eight Democrats and independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont were joined by two Republicans, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon, in voting for the measure. Opposed were 46 Republicans and Connecticut independent-Democrat Joseph Lieberman. Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), did not vote.

Regarding getting out of Iraq the bill requires beginning redeployment 120 days after the bill’s passage and sets a goal – not a firm exit date – of withdrawal of combat troops by March 31, 2008. Combat troops make up roughly half the troops in Iraq which are projected to peak at 171,000 when the president’s troop “surge” is completed. Thus, this could leave 80,000 non-combat troops in Iraq. However, the bill allows combat troops to remain to protect Iraq’s borders, fight terrorists, and protect the Embassy among other purposes. So, it is not clear how many troops will actually be withdrawn if the bill’s “goal” is met.

The bill now goes to a conference committee with the House version and then to the White Hose for a promised veto. The Congress will not respond to the veto until it returns from its April recess.


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DonP This is the American way. Both the Congress and the President will be able to claim victory. Meanwhile the war goes on Congress does nothing, the American people and the Iraquis are hosed. The lack of courage and conviction evident in the members of Congress is exceeded only by the apathy and ignorance of the voters. Both sides of the political aisle support the resource wars in the middle east and will continue them for as long as the rest of the world allows. China may stop the war in about ten years as their oil shortage becomes severe.

Bush is an addict/alcoholic who got saved... unless a drunk works on his own behavior...the things that he or she did in his or her life that are so characteristic of the slide down... unless that person acknowledges the needed changes in behavior... then that person will eventually go insane.

Bush got saved one day... and like the rest of his misdeeds... he was pulled from the fire, in this case by God. Sorry...but the proof is in the pudding; Bush has crossed the line and hunkered down 'til the end, which is also characteristic of a long-term, dry drunk with delusions of grandeur.

God help us all.

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