The Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations is currently drafting legislation to fund the war in Iraq for the duration of the year. The legislation calls for troops to be withdrawn by years end -- binding or non-binding, I don't know. One thing is for sure -- President Bush will send it right back with his veto due to the language of the bill.
This will be the last major test for the Democratic majority of the 110th Congress. When the bill hits the floor each member will have a final opportunity to vote their conscience and show their constituency where they stand on the war in Iraq.
Should Congress succumb to veto threats by the President or a filibuster in the Senate we can officially update our dictionaries and look up the 110th Congress under "do-nothings."
In the last war funding showdown Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid gave President Bush a strong ultimatum -- except our version of the war funding bill or you won't get your money. Sadly, President Bush stood his ground while the Democrats in Congress folded like cheap suits.
Half of Senate Democrats and 79 House Democrats voted with Republicans to authorize unconditional funding for the war.
All while using the troops for cover to justify their votes -- "Oh , I just can't cut off funding for the troops in harms way." Come on, as if the lunch truck is going to drive off and the troops are going to be left without drinking water and throwing rocks at the enemy. Do they really think we are that stupid?
Congress does not have to pull the plug on funding. Frankly, that is not a reality under the current circumstances. What they can do is attach a binding timetable for troop withdrawal to the funding bill and stick to their guns. When the President vetoes the bill than it will be the President who cut the funding for our troops, not Congress. It makes perfect sense to me.
The Republican "minority" has consistently prevailed in all past war funding showdowns. Can the Democratic "majority" win at least once?
There is absolutely no excuse for this President to leave us all with the mess he and his administration created in Iraq. He has an obligation to put his petulance aside and end this occupation on his watch.
* There were no weapons of mass destruction to disarm
* Saddam Hussein is dead
* The Iraqi people have had 3 Democratic elections
* We built, armed, trained, and financed a new Iraqi army and police force
* We completed a full year of the surge
* We are approaching our fifth year of war
The United States military has completed the many revolving/rotating missions they were tasked with by the Bush administration. It is time for the Iraqis to receive their country back and for them to make their own decisions regarding Iraq's future.
As an anti-Iraq war activist it has been extremely difficult for me to play my position. Imagine me in the street telling people they need to vote for Democrats to end the war while a substantial number of Democrats are voting for it -- blank checks no less. What makes it worse is that the Democrats vote to continue the war and simultaneously complain about doing it. There is no way to defend this and I can't continue to carry on the struggle on behalf of the Democratic party -- but the struggle will surely continue.
In all fairness, it is imperative to recognize members of Congress who have shown tremendous courage from the very start of this war. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Barbara Lee, and the entire Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus. These are the people who have kept me in the Democratic Party.
Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority leader Reid should immediately begin to rally the entire party to unite just this once and demand that President Bush end the occupation of Iraq.
I know it is naive to believe that President Bush will cave in and except the demands of Congress -- a coequal branch of government. However it is not a tall order for the Democrats to show the same kind of resolve.
Only through unity and strength can the Democratic party regain credibility.