Thursday, August 30, 2007

note to congressional dems: start those spine-strengthening exercises before you return

Everybody remember the last fight over an Iraq supplemental. Of course you do—it was only, like, four months ago! Or, maybe you don’t remember. . . because, when all was said and done, it really wasn’t much of a fight—Democratic leadership tapped out after one veto and one additional veto threat.

Well, if I were a member of the leadership, currently wrapping up my summer holiday, I would start practicing how to stand up. . . or, at least, how not to bend over. . . again.

As Thomas Ricks warns us in Wednesday’s WaPo:

President Bush plans to ask Congress next month for up to $50 billion in additional funding for the war in Iraq, a White House official said yesterday, a move that appears to reflect increasing administration confidence that it can fend off congressional calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces.

The request -- which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- is expected to be announced after congressional hearings scheduled for mid-September featuring the two top U.S. officials in Iraq. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will assess the state of the war and the effect of the new strategy the U.S. military has pursued this year.

The request is being prepared now in the belief that Congress will be unlikely to balk so soon after hearing the two officials argue that there are promising developments in Iraq but that they need more time to solidify the progress they have made, a congressional aide said.

If I were a Democratic member of Congress, I would also bone up on the facts; like the fact that by any metric you choose—troop deaths, Iraqi deaths, Iraqi government unity—the surge escalation is not working. Not even a little.

So, I would start working out and reading up for a stronger body and a sharper mind. That’s what I would do.

But, of course, I want the occupation to end and the troops to come home. . . .

(Oh, and, note to Ricks, or the unnamed White House official, or whoever is responsible for the term “rapid drawdown”: By using that term, it perpetuates the myth that somehow Democrats are advocating a reckless and precipitous withdrawal. I can’t think of a single member of the majority that has argued for that. Rather, the plan, for those that have a plan in mind, would look like this orderly redeployment—at its most “rapid.”)

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