Breaking: Senate passes Iraq timetable; Update: NYT reporter fears limitless violence if troops withdraw

posted at 11:08 am on March 29, 2007 by Allahpundit

Mild surprise in the final tally. As you’ll recall, the amendment to strip the timetable from the bill was defeated 50-48 on Tuesday. The Dems picked up an extra vote somewhere today. Probably Mark Pryor’s.

Standby for updates. While you wait, who wrote this?

The withdrawal language is wrongheaded. As we have argued before, it is bad precedent and bad public policy for Congress to attempt to micromanage military operations in Iraq. As Bush said Wednesday: “It makes no sense for politicians in Washington, D.C., to be dictating arbitrary timelines for our military commanders in a war zone 6,000 miles away.”…

If a majority of the people’s representatives conclude that the effort to stabilize Iraq has failed, then Congress should vote to cut off war funding. That is its constitutional privilege. But a willingness to wait even a few months to see the results of the surge strategy, followed if necessary by a meaningful threat to cut off funding for combat by a specific date, is more likely to focus Iraqi minds than the current, purely political, play.

The U.S. has a moral obligation (as well as a national interest) to leave Iraq as quickly as possible with a stable government in place. This resolution won’t end U.S. involvement in Iraq. But it may help persuade Iraqis to end the violence.

Surprise.

Update: Solid piece here from the LAT mapping out the maneuvering to come. A compromise bill with the timetable intact is expected on Bush’s desk by mid-April; he’ll veto it, with a standoff expected to continue possibly until August, which at least will give the surge a chance. What about funding in the meantime? Quote: “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.”

Update: Bush cowboy’d up this morning before the vote:

The vote came shortly after Bush, in a move that his aides said was unprecedented, invited all House Republicans to the White House to appear with him in a sort of pep rally to bolster his position in the continuing war policy fight.

“We stand united in saying loud and clear that when we’ve got a troop in harm’s way, we expect that troop to be fully funded,” Bush said, surrounded by Republicans on the North Portico, “and we got commanders making tough decisions on the ground, we expect there to be no strings on our commanders.”

Update: Yup, Pryor switched. Here’s the roll. Straight party line except for Liebs, Gordon Smith, and the future Republican Party nominee for president, Chuck “Fredo” Hagel.

Update: Nice grab by the ‘Busters. Iraq correspondent extraordinaire John Burns, this morning on “Today”:

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 countervaling 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 countervaling force. . . Remove that countervaling force and there will be no limit to this violence.”


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Standby for updates. While you wait, who wrote this?

Too easy. You did.

Wade on March 29, 2007 at 11:15 AM

I don’t want to believe it.

KatieFavazza on March 29, 2007 at 11:17 AM

Forget it. We need to pull out, let the middle east implode, become isolationists, defund the military and just watch as the world goes to hell in a handbasket. This is ridiculous. At least we have loads of entertainment to keep us zombified as the world falls apart. Ugh.

robblefarian on March 29, 2007 at 11:17 AM

Sigh…. Viet Nam… part Deux….

Those who do not know history, are doomed to repeat it…

Romeo13 on March 29, 2007 at 11:19 AM

Surprise is right. I was about to guess the Wall St. Journal.

Slublog on March 29, 2007 at 11:20 AM

robblefarian, Romeo13:

Just relaaaaaaaaaaaax. Take a deep breath. Chant the mantra “Veni, Vidi, Veto” until you reach enlightenment.

ccwbass on March 29, 2007 at 11:34 AM

F it! Pull out now and every time something bad happens pile on the Demo’s about.

When did this country lose it’s fire? I

VikingGoneWild on March 29, 2007 at 11:41 AM

Chuck “Fredo” Hagel

Heh. I love it every time you use it. Suggestion to “Fredo”….don’t accept any fishing invitations.

KelliD on March 29, 2007 at 11:42 AM

I think we need to tie an exit date to the next batch of Fed aid to New Orleans. Now THAT, my friends, is a bottomless pit with no end in sight. At least in Iraq there are signs of improvement.

pistolero on March 29, 2007 at 11:43 AM

AP- I take issue with you comparing Fredo to Chuckie…at least Fredo had an excuse :)

Now can someone please tell me when the Republicans are going to get their groove back and carry out the politcally comparable actions that Michael did at the baptism?

Pam on March 29, 2007 at 11:44 AM

robblefarian, Romeo13:

Just relaaaaaaaaaaaax. Take a deep breath. Chant the mantra “Veni, Vidi, Veto” until you reach enlightenment.

ccwbass on March 29, 2007 at 11:34 AM

OK.. smart dude… so Bush vetos this bill, and Congress then sits on its collective assets until the Troops run out of money.

Or resubmit the EXACT SAME BILL! (with very minor technical mods, like… oh.. more pork…).

How long can Bush hold out with no support? How long can the troops go WITHOUT the funds needed? How long until we start to loose troops due to the lack of funding?

Remember, Bush’s Veto means the troops don’t get the money.

And also remember, this is not happening in a Vacuum… do you really think Iran would be this froggy about the Brit sailors if they didn’t know what was going on over here??? Do you really think the Gulf States who yesterday threatened Israel once agian, would do so if we were not divivded???

Romeo13 on March 29, 2007 at 11:44 AM

Gutless surrender monkeys–and they wonder why so few in the military vote Democratic. Bush needs to veto that piece of Congressional crap in a public ceremony on a military base.

ReubenJCogburn on March 29, 2007 at 11:44 AM

F it! Pull out now and every time something bad happens pile on the Demo’s about.

When did this country lose it’s fire? When did quitting become the norm?

VikingGoneWild on March 29, 2007 at 11:44 AM

Yeah, I’m not worried right now, people aren’t at the “we want out and we don’t care if we lose or the whole middle east sets itself ablaze and jihadis take over, we want out” stage… yet.

Hopefully the surge will cause a backtrack and opinion will go up a bit, plus hopefully we can keep the dems from passing conditional funding with vetos and enough votes to keep out an override. Don’t get all doom&gloom and apocolyptic on us.

Bad Candy on March 29, 2007 at 11:45 AM

I’m all for voting Hagel off the GOP island.

JammieWearingFool on March 29, 2007 at 11:45 AM

Um, OK… so is now a good time to ask why we can’t get a timetable for withdrawl from Social Security? It’s a quagmire!

saint kansas on March 29, 2007 at 11:48 AM

This really upsets me. I learned long ago that you must pick your battles. Some things in life are not worth getting upset about, but when you do pick a battle you fight it til the end.
Too bad the ruling class never learned that.

bopbottle on March 29, 2007 at 11:51 AM

My spirit is too broken to even get mad anymore. Americas end will not come about in all probablilty in my lifetime, my children however will have to decide if they are going to embrace the spirit of independance of our founding fathers or the humilatation of submission demanded by the Islamic taskmasters.

LakeRuins on March 29, 2007 at 11:53 AM

Yep the Dems are going for the Jihadists vote next election… figuring they will be here anyway, may as well get in good with them early, just like the Illegals…

God, I am so disgusted.

Romeo13 on March 29, 2007 at 11:56 AM

I’m all for voting Hagel off the GOP island.

True ‘dat.

Bad Candy on March 29, 2007 at 11:59 AM

When do I start stocking up on canned goods and shotguns?

VikingGoneWild on March 29, 2007 at 12:06 PM

Look on the bright side. There’s at least 50 people that every single person here is smarter than. Except the trolls. But trolls aren’t human anyway.

Right Tracker on March 29, 2007 at 12:06 PM

I guess we don’t have any right to complain. They’re just doing what we, the American people, demanded of them.

That’s their argument, right? Overwhelming pubic demand?

saint kansas on March 29, 2007 at 12:08 PM

Bad Candy wrote: “Hopefully the surge will cause a backtrack and opinion will go up a bit,….”

It already has, according to AJ Strata.

As the situation improves due to the surge, watch the Democrats position weaken. It is up to each of us to remind the American voter of WHICH party is the party who sabotaged a war for their selfish political advantage.

As I have said in other threads, I look forward to the day when the Democratic Party is outlawed, their HQ raised and replaced with a hot-dog stand, their money confiscated and distributed to charity, and their leaders in jail awaiting trial for capital treason.

georgej on March 29, 2007 at 12:11 PM

Bad Candy on March 29, 2007 at 11:59 AM

So, give him a primary if he backs off his Presidential delusions.

I liked Tom Osborne until I saw his support for in-state tuition rates for anchor babies. Even so, he’s less of an assclown than Chuckles, right?

Kid from Brooklyn on March 29, 2007 at 12:13 PM

Do these Senators, and Congressmen for that matter, have any concept as to how much this action invigorates the enemies of the United States and Western Society?

The War on Terror or Islamic Extremism will last for the foreseeable future and while Iraq is only one of the fronts thereof, it is the front where Al Quaiada has clearly stated its goal that it will force the US out.

While I am not surprised by the lack of resolve expressed by the Democrats, it is still disappointing and disheartening.

Oxybeles on March 29, 2007 at 12:14 PM

“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.”

If the Dems start passing continuing resolutions to cover funding a month at a time, doesn’t the President just need to wait them out? The supplemental that he will have vetoed only provided funding through the end of Sept 2007. As long as the Dems do not add the same language to the budget bill for the next fiscal year, then the impasse should be resolved. Once the Dems pass the first continuing resolution, then they politically own the ongoing funding of the troops.

rw on March 29, 2007 at 12:22 PM

“Do these Senators, and Congressmen for that matter, have any concept as to how much this action invigorates the enemies of the United States and Western Society?”

The Democrats are willing to sell out this country in order to regain political power. They are the TREASON Party, just like they were in 1864.

georgej on March 29, 2007 at 12:24 PM

There is only one thing politicians are concerned with, Winning the next election. Everything else be damned as long as they stay on the Federal Welfare Rolls with all expenses being paid by the very people they ignore. Let’s face the military is only comprised of a very small percentage of voters, and it is easy to get their votes thrown out anyway , just ask Gov Rendell of PA. Even if you roll in their family members it still doesn’t amount to even a fourth of say the Hispanic or African American vote or even the Gay and Lesbian vote. So we just need to keep everything in perpective and realize that the military doesn’t does not comprise a significant portion of the electorate and hey it is easy to bash the Pentagon.
Crawl back under the covers America, trust your politicians they are looking out for you.

LakeRuins on March 29, 2007 at 12:30 PM

Do these Senators, and Congressmen for that matter, have any concept as to how much this action invigorates the enemies of the United States and Western Society?

It’s handy for the “insurgents” to have a date to put in their PDAs. Lay low, stockpile weapons for a bit, and then tear it up the day after the withdrawl deadline.

saint kansas on March 29, 2007 at 12:34 PM

Chuck “Fredo” Hagel, will have the shortest Presidential candidacy evuh.

amerpundit on March 29, 2007 at 12:38 PM

I don’t know, guys. I simply seem unable to get upset about this. Probably that’s because there aren’t any surprises here and I’ve already had time to get angry and then work my way through it.

Or, heck, maybe I’ve just had too much Mt Dew today. I most certainly don’t believe this spells the end for our presence in Iraq. Keeping in mind that it may just be the sugar and caffeine talking, I believe that the troops won’t lose their funding. This seems to be more about campaign-season performance art than anything else.

ccwbass on March 29, 2007 at 12:39 PM

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.”

File under “duh”.

thirteen28 on March 29, 2007 at 12:48 PM

In the months before the surge, Democrat senators like Biden and Kerry were trying to conceal their defeatist ways by claiming that the problem was not enough troops. They abandoned that bogus position as soon as the surge began.

It’s not enough for Bush and the Republicans to assert their support, they should be accusing the Democrats of treason at every opportunity to provoke the Democrats into at least pretending they aren’t traitors.

Perchant on March 29, 2007 at 12:49 PM

Veto! Veto! Veto! Then, make a gift of that turncoat idiot Hagel to the Democrats.

rplat on March 29, 2007 at 12:50 PM

“Do these Senators, and Congressmen for that matter, have any concept as to how much this action invigorates the enemies of the United States and Western Society?”

OF course they do — that is exactly why they are doing it.

They also know that Iraq will turn into a bloodbath after we leave – that is also exactly why they are doing it.

CrazyFool on March 29, 2007 at 12:56 PM

You know, Nancy Pelosi’s birthday was on March 26th. A veto could be a kind of “belated” birthday present.

amerpundit on March 29, 2007 at 12:57 PM

I am pissed that it even got this far. That is what everybody seems to be glossing over. In 2 weeks there are going to be jihadi videos all over the place syaing the President Bush is a true cowboy. He ignored the desires of the elected people in his own goverment who represent the people of America. It is only Bush who wishes to continue this illegal, immoral and wrong occupation. He continues to ignore the wishes of his people and is a crimminal.
Give me time to set up a Paypal® account and anybody who doubts me I will send you the information so you can send me my payoffs.

LakeRuins on March 29, 2007 at 1:06 PM

I have a sneaking feeling, that as we get closer and closer to ACTUAL defunding, the Democrats, the cowards they are, will back down and find “some” excuse for the funding, while blaming Bush all the way………

In the mean time, the surge is working, the troops are PISSED, and those in the way are part of the problem, not the solution, and will be dealt with.

The Democrat’s actions have been noticed by our friends and foes alike, and as they start rattling their sabers, let us see our beloved Democrats respond.

Even the NY Times is starting to say,….”uh… well…. you know…. if the Troops pull out, that would leave all the bad guys, right?”

You liberal democrats are pathetic! There is more class, intelligence, patriotism, wisdom, and common sense in my cat’s litter box than in your entire politcal party.

You make me sick! Cowards ALL! TRAITORS, ALL!

PinkyBigglesworth on March 29, 2007 at 1:53 PM

Am I wrong?
Didn’t Lieberman say that he would switch alliances if the Democrats passed a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq?

Does That mean he will caucus with the Republicans now?

George on March 29, 2007 at 1:54 PM

Given their hubris over the results of the last election, I took it as a given that the donks would overreach in the next two years; what’s surprising is the velocity with which they’re going about it.

It’s been what, about four months? And already we have:

- Congress passing surrender legislation;
- Congress authorizing subpoenas on the administration;
- Congress drafting the largest tax increase in history;
- Congress going on a pork spending binge; and
- Congress wading deeper into the “culture of corruption.”

And they’ve manage to do all of this despite the fact that one of their one-vote margin senators is effectively a non-voting semi-vegetable. Not bad … and they’ve got another what, 18-19 months to go? What a ride we’re in for!

But I’ve gotta hand it to the donks: They’ve taken Reagan’s own words to heart better than the Republicans have, for they act in a way that makes “a statement, not an apology.” We gave the Republicans a 10-seat majority in 2004, and all they did was to go on acting like they were still in the minority; give the donks a one-seat majority in 2006, and they act like it’s a mandate.

I think it’s time to go find a copy of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” and put it on repeat play. It’s as good a theme song as any for what’s in store until 2008.

Spurius Ligustinus on March 29, 2007 at 2:36 PM

…Remove that countervaling force and there will be no limit to this violence.”

Two words; Pol Pot.

BacaDog on March 29, 2007 at 2:57 PM

Rome and Pinky are both making an oblique reference to something I’m begining to fear; the democrats have cut off funding for the troops in Iraq. They are just not saying that is what they did.

Bush veto’s this bill, and congress goes home; no funds.

If Bush continues military operations without funds authorized by congress what happens then? Impeachment?

Congress doesn’t pass ANY funding legislation, and then what happens?

What could be more traitorous then just not authorizing any more money for military operations? Not even enough to get our people out? Just abandon them in the middle of a war?

rockhauler on March 29, 2007 at 3:05 PM

I happened to read that Times article this morning, because it was linked from the google front page and the title caught my eye.

I thought it was weird that there was no byline/author (is it still a byline if it’s editorial?) and I just looked again to verify. Is that unusual?

Tanya on March 29, 2007 at 3:29 PM

The lefties in this country have never answered for the deaths of millions after they stopped funding Viet Nam. They have blood on their hands from then and they are headed for the slaughter of millions more again.

Here is a link to a good sight about the Fall of Saigon and what we are headed for again. I would imagine most the people you see in the top photo were killed by the invaders.

Wade on March 29, 2007 at 7:08 PM

Isolationism is a form of procrastination. Just put off the threat until it gets ten times worse and then fight a world war to try and end it.

Chamberlain/Lindbergh 08!

aengus on March 29, 2007 at 8:30 PM