Escalation: It Is Not Up To Him

( - promoted by David)

UPDATE: Video from today’s speech is now available at Huffington Post.

(crossposted on Daily Kos)

I am on my way to the National Press Club in Washington in a few

minutes to speak about a new bill. If passed, it will prohibit

escalation in Iraq without express Congressional approval of a plan

and budget.

President Bush owes the American people a clear explanation about

what he’s trying to accomplish in Iraq, and that’s why I’m introducing

legislation that will force him to explain himself.

In October 2002, Members of Congress authorized a war against the

regime of Saddam Hussein, not to send our troops into a civil war. I

voted against that resolution and feel an escalation of this war only

compounds the original mistake of going in the first place.


The American people know, and our generals agree, that a military

escalation in Iraq would not strengthen our national security –

instead it would further weaken it by enabling the Iraqis to avoid

taking responsibility for their own future. More than 3,000 American

soldiers have died in Iraq and more than 22,000 have been wounded.

It’s time to get this right.

Here’s the text of the legislation:


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the

United States of America in Congress assembled,

Section 1. Prohibition on use of funds for escalation of United

States forces in Iraq.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds may

be obligated or expended by the United States Government to increase

the number of United States forces in Iraq above the level for such

forces which existed as of January 1, 2007, without a specific

authorization of Congress by law for such an increase.

Some have claimed that the president has the authority to escalate

this war without the consent of House and Senate. They dismiss the

possibility that Congress has a role to play stopping this president

from leading us further into the quicksand in Iraq.

That may have been true when Republicans were in charge, but people

elected Democrats to show some backbone. Congress is the voice of the

American people, and it’s time those voices are heard in this

debate.

I had planned to discuss the minimum wage, health care and college

affordability at this speech today, but those issues will have to wait

for another day. We are at a grave crossroads and the moment demands

action.

My staff will update this post with video of the speech when it is

available. Below you will also find a longer message I sent to

supporters earlier this morning.

I cannot stay to talk now, but please leave your comments and

questions. After the speech I will spend some time with them. I am

interested in your reaction to the bill.

Thank you.


<img

src=”http://www.tedkennedy.com/page/-/2007%2001%2009%20Escalation%20Email.jpg”

width=”180″ height=”489″ hspace=”5″ border=”0″ align=”right”>
Dear

Friend,

If you care about changing direction in Iraq, now is the moment

to act.

George Bush will speak to the nation tomorrow, and every

indication is that he will announce an escalation of the war in Iraq.

Such a military escalation would not strengthen our national security

– instead it would further weaken it by enabling the Iraqis to avoid

taking responsibility for their own future.

Thankfully, escalation is not President Bush’s decision to make.

He must have the people’s consent.

For too long Congress refused to hold the White House

accountable for its failed policies in Iraq. It endangered the lives

of our brave young men and women in uniform for a civil war that has

no military solution.

No more. Democrats swept the November elections because

Americans wanted George Bush’s policies challenged by the branch of

government constitutionally charged with representing the people.

I’m headed to the National Press Club right now, where I will

announce legislation that will prevent any further escalation in Iraq

until two important things happen: the president presents a plan for

success and Congress approves it.

One misguided politician cannot simply decide to drop tens of

thousands more troops into the middle of a civil war. As Speaker

Pelosi said on Sunday, "If the president wants to add to this

mission, he is going to have to justify it."

Tell the president that we will not allow an escalation in Iraq

without the people’s consent — support this legislation now:

http://www.tedkennedy.com/ourdecision

One key fact even George Bush cannot ignore: Congress never

authorized what’s happening in Iraq now.

In 2002, the Bush Administration’s case for war focused on

Saddam’s supposed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and

alleged ties to al Qaeda. In October of the same year Congress

authorized a war against the regime of Saddam Hussein, not to send our

troops into a civil war. I voted against the resolution and feel an

escalation of this war only compounds the original mistake of going in

the first place.

In 2007, Saddam Hussein is dead. Weapons of mass destruction

were never found — nor was any evidence that Saddam and al Qaeda were

working together.

The 2002 authorization for the use of force has nothing to do

with today’s reality. Back then it was simply bad policy. Today, when

it comes to escalation, it is obsolete.

A serious escalation of the war requires the people’s consent.

Our Commander in Chief has shown that he is seriously out of touch.

He has ignored the reality that Iraq is embroiled in a civil war.

When military generals spoke out against escalation, he replaced them.

When voters clearly demanded an end to the war, he decided to

escalate instead.

Never has America’s system of checks and balances been so

threatened, and never has the courage to act been more important.

Escalating the war in Iraq is not President Bush’s decision

alone. He must ask for the people’s consent — and Congressional

approval is the only way he can get it.

Please add your name to the list of Americans who demand a voice

in the debate over escalation:

http://www.tedkennedy.com/ourdecision

My legislation is simple: it states that any substantial new

commitment in Iraq requires a plan from the administration and

explicit authorization from Congress.

Whether you believe that escalation would be a grave mistake, or

whether you’re part of the dwindling minority willing to increase the

scale of this misguided adventure, it would be irresponsible to

continue to issue the president a blank check.

We must have a full debate about the course ahead. Senators and

Representatives should have a vote on whether the president may spend

more money and risk more lives for an expanded operation in Iraq.

If George Bush wants to ignore the advice of the military and

the findings of the Iraq Study Group, he’s going to have to make his

case and get the consent of the people through their elected

representatives.

Iraq has become George Bush’s Vietnam, and it’s up to you and me

to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself any longer. Please sign

our petition supporting this important legislation:

http://www.tedkennedy.com/ourdecision

The Iraqi people need to take responsibility for their own future.

But our only hope for change over there is if we, the American

people, take control of our own destiny here at home.

Thank you.

<img src="http://www.tedkennedy.com/page/-/EMK_signature.gif"

width=”198″ height=”57″>

Senator Edward M. Kennedy

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Discuss

85 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Thank you Senator Kennedy

    You have stood up on principle on this issue since day #1. This is EXACTly the bill I want to see. If the Dems cannot make a stand that no, Bush will not be allowed the funds for another failed escalation in Iraq, then why did they win back the House and Senate in November?

    I can understand the need for Dems to not be seen as "cutting the funds for troops in Iraq" even though I disagree that's what it would be. But to allow further funds for any part of this obvious mistake is not only throwing good money after bad, but good people too. Our troops deserve better.

    My other idea is to earmark all future appropriations - and cut money for Halliburton and other war profiteers. Anything not pertaining to supporting the troops directly in Iraq should be cut right away. That way, Dems can keep supporting the troops with funds for them, but not the wasteful, traiterous war machine, which is not helping them stay safe, anyway.

    I believe Bush will not actually follow any new laws surrounding war appropriations, I believe he'll even spend earmarked money illegally (him, and his signing statements) but let him violate that law, instead of deciding not to enact it in the first place.

    • I applaud this bill, I like your ideas, but I want more:

      The first thing to cut is funding for the fourteen permanent bases in Iraq.

      Then, if Bush continues to pull shenanigans, we need to go even further. I want Congress to formally repeal the Iraq War resolution, and immediately replace it with a grant of war authority that is far more limited in scope and time.

      First, such an action would signal that Bush is no longer the Decider on keeping America committed to war. And it would gut the specious claims of authority for crimes ranging from torture to illegal spying that the Administration has derived from the IWR.

      But this bill is the right first step.

      • Why?

        Of all the things that are wrong with Iraq, why would we destroy the bases?  For the record, I'm pretty sure that they're "temporary" the same way the ones in Korea are "temporary", which is actually a thing in terms of military construction codes. 

        I mean, do you really think that if we get rid of our bases in Iraq and keep our troops there in, I dunno, tents, the Iraqis will say "Hey, this civil war is stupid, let's sing Kumbayah while Moqtada plays guitar"?

        • Why are we building

          14 PERMANENT bases in a country that we are supposed to be occupying only temporarily?

          • I'm pretty sure they're $quot;temporary$quot;

            Just like the ones in Korea.  But as for your real question.. well, you already know the answer, don't you.  The bases will be there as long as we're there, AKA at least another decade.  It's that or enable a genocide, unfortunately.  You don't see Kennedy saying "Pull all the troops out, right now"... there's just not that much room for emotion with this many lives involved.

            The isolated bases in the desert are the only place in Iraq that our troops SHOULD be.  We can play referee from there... no getting too far out of hand, Moqtada, SCIRI, Iran, Syria or Baghdad sunnis... or else we'll leave these bases and you won't like it.

            • No, what we have there NOW

              is temporary; what we are building is permanent and must be stopped/scrapped. 

              • Why?

                What's the upside?  (Sorry everyone for the threadjack)..  if we're going to be there for at least 2 and probably more like 10-20 years, why shouldn't we build bases to accomodate that timeframe?  It seems to me you should either advocate complete withdrawal right now (which is a defensible position although I think it would be a disaster) or not.  The bases are pretty secondary and dependent on whether the troops are actually there or not.  My quick googling on the matter seemed to reflect that these "permanent" (technically "temporary", albeit with burger king and swimming pools) bases were the result of trying to consolidate our forces instead of having them spread around the country on 100 bases.  If we're there, presenting less of a target is better, right?

                • I believe we should

                  withdraw immediately.  Our presence is incendiary, counterproductive, and our penchant for infantilizing the Iraqis only makes matters worse.  We cannot fix it; it's time to pull out.  The Iraqis have every right to control their own destiny as well as the detritus and  debris of their infrastructure and society.  Time for the arrogant freedom-marching occupational forces of the United States to go home. 

                  And I can tell you this, if you think we can sustain a presence in Iraq for 10-20 years without a draft or the recall of prior service, you're dreaming.  This prior service Army ain't going--and my son isn't either.

                  • Pretty much says it

                    Jay, you might also consider that the bases -- which, let's face it, are not temporary but permanent as long as we are there -- are one of the reasons we've had such a hard time pacifying Iraq. The Iraqi decision-makers know that as long as we are there, they won't really control the country (and more specifically, the oil): the bases will. The bases are a critical element of a flawed strategy to permanently occupy Iraq in order to control its oil supply.

                    • If oil was what we wanted

                      We could have just traded with Saddam... or just get out now, it'd be a lot cheaper than the current situation.

                      Iraqis aren't fighting because of our basing policy or even anything at all to do with us right now.  We only get involved in firefights because we're basically in the way.  I agree that they have to sort it out, I responded to lightiris below that we should get out of the cities and let them fend for themselves as far as the day-to-day, but refusing to provide air support and a reserve ground force for the government is IMO an abdication of responsibility. 

                  • I agree that we're counterproductive in the cities

                    And we should withdraw from them in as orderly a fashion as possible (no idea on timeframe here, I'm not a general, but it should be fast).  The troops for the most part don't speak arabic, don't know the local dynamics and by the time they learn, they're rotated out.  But an airbase full of AC-130s and drones for fire support along with a division or two in the desert just in case (40,000 troops or so?  still not a general) makes a pretty good insurance policy.  Make it clear that the ground troops won't interfere with the low-level warfare going on right now but will stop any widescale organized ethnic cleansing. 

                    The iraqis are not fighting because of our troops right now, they're more concerned about each other.  Smarter moves by the admin could maybe have forestalled it, but pulling our troops completely out of the country certainly won't convince them to stop now.  And a not-in-daily-combat ground force of 40,000 on bases is sustainable, while the fire support for the gov't is IMO our basic moral obligation at this point.  It's not like they have their own air force.

                    • Then why are they shooting our troops?

                      Surely all those U.S. casualties are not just a result of wrong place/wrong time. As to the oil, control is about ensuring that we get to trade.

                    • I wasn't saying that they liked us

                      I was saying that the fighting going on in Iraq isn't primarily or even secondarily about us.  We do provide quite a bit of macho cred to a militia if they kill US troops and there's plenty of people who's brother was roughed up or sister touched inappropriately or forced to show her face or whatever while US troops were doing a routine search.  So we should get out of the cities.

                      But as far as us retaining the ability to support the gov't with air, communications and a do-not-use-lightly ground force from the desert bases... I mean, that's not going to negatively affect the behavior of ordinary iraqis trying to stay out of trouble, low-level militiamen or high-level sectarian decision makers.  All of them have much more immediate things to worry about than troops 50 miles away and our inspirational example of completely leaving the country certainly won't inspire them to more peaceful lifestyles.  Basically the way I see it there will be zero positive effect from removing the bases in the desert (as they don't interact with basically anyone) and quite a few negatives (giant deterrent removed, inability to rapidly support the government if one of the militias or a foreign power makes a move, loss of an effective option for intervention in the case of large-scale ethnic cleansing).

          • Wasn't the Pentagon supposed to be a temporary structure?

            What is temporary?

    • I support your bill wholeheartedly

      and also want to echo the above comment by Lynne: "If the Dems cannot make a stand that no, Bush will not be allowed the funds for another failed escalation in Iraq, then why did they win back the House and Senate in November?".  I signed the petition and will circulate it to many others.

      You struck an extremely strong chord for me and I hope for many others with the following statement: "But our only hope for change over there is if we, the American people, take control of our own destiny here at home."

      This statement immediately brought to mind the fact that the U.S. is THE ONLY industrialized country that does not yet have a national health care program for its people.  This is even more of a disgrace and an outrage because we spend, on average, one-third to two times MORE MONEY per person on health care than any other industrialized country.

      Quality and sustainable universal health care will require major changes to the market-driven status quo and will take much more leadership and reform than the major tinkering that is underway here in Massachusetts.  I appreciate that many more of the poor in our state are now covered but it is not an affordable nor a sustainable plan to greatly expand quality coverage.  We must have gov't set rules on how health care dollars can be spent (e.g. on health care not wasteful admin. spending); the MA Chapter 58 law does nothing to address existing highway robbery healthcare costs that are bankrupting many in our state.

      Please don't give up or give in and abandon your fight for Improved Medicare for All.  Achieving universal HC was the #1 issue for over 100,000 MoveOn.org members in a poll taken a few months ago.  Just yesterday I took part in MoveOn.org's photo-journalism project when a neighbor came over to take photos of my husband and I to share with our Congressman Mike Capuano and with you and Senator Kerry.  There was a stack of policy issue topics to choose from and hold up in the photo.  We chose "Get Out of Iraq" and "Health Care For All".

      Thank you for your steadfast leadership on these and other vital issues for our country and for its people.  My husband and I, and our 2 children, are ready to take further action with you for peace and for social justice and welcome such opportunities.

  2. Wow

    Is Blue Mass Group coming of age or what? It's not only a force to be reckoned with, but a forum that is respected. Congratulations again, David, Charley and Bob.

    • Thanks, but it is you not us!

      The reason our most excellent Senator is posting here is not to reach David, Charley and me (flattering though that might be), but to reach YOU. And even more importantly, I think, to hear what you have to say in response. So please keep those substantive, interesting, provocative, constructive comments coming. :-)

  3. Senator Kennedy:

    I'm thrilled that you wrote

    I cannot stay to talk now, but please leave your comments and questions. After the speech I will spend some time with them. I am interested in your reaction to the bill.

    Using the blogs as a way to post a one may message like a political mailer is very useful to you and a little useful to us.  Spending some time reading the comments after your speech is very useful to you and very useful to us -- because it allows a bit of dialog -- and that very fast feedback loop will allow our politicians to stay far more nimble in today's fast paced political forum.

    So, thank you for listening to us, not just talking at us.

  4. Just to amplify the two points above

    It is NOT a coming of age for BMG if pols begin to put all their press releases into diary form.  Disagree with Speaking Out. 

    It IS a coming of age for BMG, as per Stomv, if the actual pol - not his handlers - actually spends a bit of time, maybe even 20 minutes, reading a few comments and responding to them, a true give and take.  THAT would be amazing. 

    • Agree and Disagree

      GGW, I have to agree with you on the dialogue piece. It is nice when politicians sit down and spend some time using the blogs to chat with constituents. But keep in mind that TK (like him or not) is a Senator, not a blogger. I wouldn't expect him to log the time (or keep BMG open in the background while doing other work, as I tend to do these days) that some of the more obsessive members of our community do. And it seems like he has already committed to spending the 20 minutes or so, you are calling for.

      Where I disagree with you is that my post referred to TK actually opening an account under his real name and real contact information (hence, my link), something you seem loathe to do.

      Come to think of it, why would he want to mix it up with anonymous (fill in the blanks)?

      • Anonymous are people too

        Come to think of it, why would he want to mix it up with anonymous (fill in the blanks)?

        To a Senator, nearly everyone is anonymous.  That's OK -- there's about 300 million of us and only 100 of them.  If Senator Kennedy is going to "mix it up" with the blogosphere, why would it matter if we claimed to be using our real names or not?  We're clearly interested enough in politics to be hanging around here, which means we're almost certainly not only voters but also opinion shapers (on a small scale).  Our level of anonymity has nothing to do with our relevance.

        • True enough

          Really, I don't have a problem with people being anonymous on the Internet. Anyone who assumes they really know who they are  "talking" to on line is naive. How about if I give you 80 percent of this statement?

          Our level of anonymity has nothing to do with our relevance.

          Would you at least agree that the level on anonymity has a little to do with your relevance? Or do you insist on being a purist on this one?

          • I'll wiggle a little...

            People who have a strong reputation offline keep it online.  So, Senator Kennedy posting anon is different than Senator Kennedy posting as Senator Kennedy.

            However, for us rank-and-file folks, the relevance of behavior on the blog quickly surpasses your relevance in meatspace.

            So, for people like me (and perhaps you), I think the "purist" angle is pretty OK.

            • Uncle

              • Not really incompatible

                The internet is big enough for both anonymous people and real names. That said, the ones who use their real names generally gain the most influence, in my observation, because people can get some kind of handle on where they are coming from and what their motivations may be. Real namers, in this sense, are more responsible than anonymous commenters (although their ideas may not be). That's why I continue to feel very strongly that it is best for discourse on BMG if as many people as possible use their real names. (I recognize that reasonable people disagree!).

  5. thank you senator kennedy!

    thank you, thank you senator kennedy, and many thanks also to your staff.

    it has been so frustrating... after spending so much effort canvassing and phone banking (and some $ too) before the november elections only to read that the plan of our beautiful new D congress is to avoid adressing the iraq war/occupation - while president bush plans to escalate the war.

    i'm so glad that is not the case. your bill is wonderful and wise. thanks for giving me more hope than i've had since before september and the MCA.

    .... watching you now on c-span. you are so right, iraq is (sadly) the issue of the day. give 'em hell!

    and i'm looking forward to your health care plans (know you've been working for decades for universal health care).

    • agree about working for the dems and then waiting

      for them to stand up and fight for what we put them there for.  No more Iraq.  Ask yourself this question. What would vistory in Iraq look like?  There is no answer because there never was one.  They went in without knowing anything about the country.  What they appear to be doing now is siding with one group of Shi'ites over the Sunnis and another group of shi'ites.  And "appear" is all the certainty I can muster. I love the commenter's idea of watching the "earmarks" very carefully. Please keep the 100,000 (did I hear right?) contractors in mind.  Can we get them out too.  And can we make provision for those who have helped us and not leave them to the ministrations of avenging swordhandlers?  Many questions arise but you are absolutely right to start with the strongest battle over the simplest things.  No more money.

  6. 100% in support of this bill

    And I hope it leads to more than just a show of opposition from the Dems.  We need actual, committed, dogged opposition to both escalation or continuation of the Iraq adventure--for the good of the country.

  7. This is the right approach

    Thank you, Senator Kennedy.  The American people understand now that a blank check for this administration was a mistake, and that asking for accountability is not unpatriotic.  Thank you for your continued leadership.

  8. Thank you, Senator Kennedy. I hope you will also

    take a lead role in bringing about the repeal of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and in ending the torture and inhumane conditions occurring at Guantanamo and elsewhere in our name.

    The Military Commissions law has stripped detainees of their habeas corpus rights, has allowed endless detentions without trial, and has permitted the use of tortured testimony before Guantanamo's Military Commissions.

    I hope you and the Democrats in the Senate and House will help  us regain our moral authority to criticize other nations that trample on human rights.  To date, we've lost that authority.

  9. Thanks Senator

    I signed the petition, thank you for introducing this bill.  President Bush's escalation is nothing short of a hail mary attempt to save his legacy.  Speaking as a father, that is not worth the lives of our children. 

    Bush is continuing to push his failed policy instead of changing direction and letting the people in Iraq take over their country with our support and letting us fight the war on terrorism.

    When is the last time the Bush Administration discussed Al-Qaeda or Bin Laden?  Weren't they the ones who attacked our country?  While George Bush continues to invest our army and resources in Iraq, Al-Qaeda is free to roam and do what it pleases.  We know that Pakistan has carved out a safe haven for Al-Qaeda where they can train and recruit freely. Then Pakistan released from jail thousands of Taliban fighters caught in Afghanistan.  What is Bush's response to this?  He did absolutely nothing.  Thank you for helping in bringing our country back and to re-focus on making our county safer.

  10. Is this do-able?

    I'm not a lawyer, let alone a constitutional one and I'm sure they all disagree anyways, but say this passes and Bush just does it anyways, justifying it as an executive decision involving force that has already been authorized (albeit not by TK :)), what's the recourse?  Can congress dictate troop levels or just the "authorized/not-authorized" status for the whole war (or police action or "use of force" or whatever it is technically, short of war).

    • Power of the purse

      is a way of side-stepping the whole "who gets to declare war" issue.

      • So,

        It's not saying the president can't put those troops there, it's saying congress refuses to pay for additional troops, that I get.. But Bush can still just send the troops with the supplies and logistics on hand.  Is it more a threat that if Bush sends more troops, don't expect the next supplemental spending bill to pass?

        At any rate, I'm certainly on board with the bill even though I'm a hawk, a "surge" executed by this inept administration will just result in more targets unless it comes along with drastic political and operational changes in Iraq.  I could be convinced to think it was a good idea if Hakim takes over the gov't and Sadr's people are all sidelined, in that case it might be worth plopping an extra 9,000 troops (or whatever) in Baghdad for the short term to deter Sadr, but then the president would have to make that case to congress.  That's not the way it should normally be, but this isn't a normal president.

        I'd say that a carveout allowing the prez to commit extra troops for up to a month "pending authorization" in the event of a drastic change on the ground is worthwhile, though.

        • No carveout

          Sadr's people are running Mailiki nearly as I can see.  There is no government in Iraq.  The legislature can't meet because they don't have a quorum.  Every legislator who can afford it is in London.  Jaybooth, if you want to be a hawk look at how Aphganistan is disintegrating.  We do need troops there.  We appear to have played a relatively positive role there but pulled out way too early because Bush and the Neo-cons and probably the Israelis wanted us to go to Baghdad.  Now we have destroyed the balance of power in the Middle East and left the Aphganistanis in a rut. I've never quite gotten "Hawks" but it's not as if the army would have nothing to do if we left Iraq.

          • That's the consensus now

            But he was a compromise candidate originally.  On the other hand, if SCIRI convinced Dawa to split away and Sistani to OK it (neither happening now, but wait till Sadr screws up), they could pick up the Kurds and moderate Sunni and Shi'a blocks for a government and Maliki would probably go along.  I'm not saying bank on this and I'm certainly not saying commit more troops banking on it, just saying it's possible.

            I wouldn't call myself a "hawk" in general in some "i love war" sense, I was just using shorthand because I'm not for immediate total withdrawal. 

            I don't think more troops will help significantly in Afghanistan or Iraq.  Afghanis doesn't even listen to the central gov't in most places, why would they listen to some non-pashtu/uzbek/whatever speaking GI.  The Taliban will be back in town by nightfall anyways..  not to say that they're "winning" in the sense of taking over other tribes' lands, just that they're largely in control of their own.

            • central government in Afghanistan

              Maybe Afghanis would listen to the central government if the provinces weren't run by warlords. Maybe the provinces wouldn't be run by warlords, if there were more American troops in Afghanistan. No?

              • From my understanding

                The country is so rural that more US troops wouldn't help unless it was to the point of permanently occupying most villages, which isn't really feasible and would lead to backlash as well.  Right now, our troops swing through villages every so often on patrols and the Taliban are always back by nightfall.  I'm not a military expert nor have I ever even been in uniform so your mileage may vary.

                • Corruption and economic development

                  The New York Times ran an editorial on December 5 ("Losing the Good War") and an opinion by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Decembwer 13 ("One War We Can Still Win") both of which suggest that key problems are corruption and economic development. Cordesman writes:

                  The United States' and NATO's focus on democracy and the political process in Kabul -- rather than on the quality of governance and on services -- has left many areas angry and open to hostile influence. Afghanistan is going to need large amounts of military and economic aid, much of it managed from the outside in ways that ensure it actually gets to Afghans, particularly in the areas where the threat is greatest.

                  The Times opines:

                  The failure to provide local security -- or even a semblance of impartial justice -- helps explain why so many Afghans have lost confidence in the pro-Western government of President Hamid Karzai, and why a growing number are again turning to the Taliban for protection. The failure to stand up an effective police force also helps explain why opium cultivation rose by nearly 60 percent this year.

                  Quite unlike Iraq, Americans and the West still enjoy a lot of good will in Afghanistan, but unless Afghani lives improve concretely, that could change for the worse.

                  • There's certainly lots of room for improvement

                    And I'm no expert (at least no more or less than the NYT editorial board, we've prob read about the same amount of news on the subject), but I don't think troops are going to accomplish much more than they are already in Afghanistan.  A better state dept presence and more language/culture training for the troops we do have might do something, but unless we adopt the "great game" style of imperialism a la the british empire, we're never going to have that much control over these places.

    • Might have just answered my own question

      from dkos:

        December 1970. P.L. 91-652 - Supplemental Foreign Assistance Law. The Church-Cooper amendment prohibited the use of any funds for the introduction of U.S. troops to Cambodia or provide military advisors to Cambodian forces.
    •   December 1974. P.L. 93-559 - Foreign Assistance Act of 1974. The Congress established a personnel ceiling of 4000 Americans in Vietnam within six months of enactment and 3000 Americans within one year.

        June 1983. P.L. 98-43 - The Lebanon Emergency Assistance Act of 1983. The Congress required the president to return to seek statutory authorization if he sought to expand the size of the U.S. contingent of the Multinational Force in Lebanon.

        June 1984. P.L. 98-525 - The Defense Authorization Act. The Congress capped the end strength level of United States forces assigned to permanent duty in European NATO countries at 324,400.

        November 1993. P.L. 103-139. The Congress limited the use of funding in Somalia for operations of U.S. military personnel only until March 31, 1994, permitting expenditure of funds for the mission thereafter only if the president sought and Congress provided specific authorization.

      Although apparently none of those were challenged... off the top of my head, seems like they were reactive to external events (beirut, mogadishu) or just going along with overwhelming public opinion (vietnam, cambodia) and at any rate were going along with what the prez at the time was doing anyways.  I guess Iraq fits in with overwhelming public opinion.

  • Even royal absolutists like John Yoo

    architect of much "unitary executive" nonsense for the administration, acknowledges that the Constitution is so explicit on the matter of Congress controlling the purse strings, there is nothing Bush can do. The power of the legislature to control the purse stretches back into medieval times; it provoked the English and French Revolutions, and denial of that power to the American colonists provoked our own.

    • Not practical in the short term

      according to Joe Biden

      SEN. BIDEN:  No.  But there's not much I can do about it.  Not much anybody can do about it.  He's commander in chief.  If he surges another 20, 30, or whatever number he's going to, into Baghdad, it'll be a tragic mistake, in my view, but, as a practical matter, there's no way to say, "Mr.  President, stop."

      MR. RUSSERT:  Why not try it?

      SEN. BIDEN:  I'm going to try it after the hearings.  Here-there's three things I'm going to try to do, Tim.  Speak out as loudly as I can as to why I think repeating this mistake-we've tried it twice before-why it will not work, and why we need a political solution first, not a military solution.  Secondly, I'm going to be holding extensive hearings as chairman, incoming chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee for the next four weeks, bringing in experts from every, every perspective to talk about what options are remaining in Iraq.  And thirdly, I have, I've, I've drafted a resolution of disapproval that is just hortatory, it's a-to send to the Senate to try to convince the president that there are significant numbers and members of the United States Senate who think this proposal is a mistake, and hopefully force him to reconsider it.  Because every two months he's going to have to reconsider this, every two months.  It's not just surging once and that's it.  He's not surging for a year.  Every two months he's going to have to decide, "Do I continue to extend the tours of duties of those who are there?  Do I bring more people in?" And hopefully make the case to him that this is a mistake.

      • Biden does love to hear himself talk, doesn't he?

        Taking stands is apparently tougher for him.  Has he withdrawn from the presidential race yet?

  • Thanks you, Sen. Kennedy

    I signed and passed it along. 

  • Senator

    I applaud your effort to hold the current administration responsible for their actions.  Regardless of whether we withdraw, escalate or change strategy I believe we must take the following issues into consideration.

  • Ensure that the security of the United States is protected
  • Honor the work and sacrifice of our soldiers
  • I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the Iraqi's to pick up the pieces from the mess we initiated there. We need to make amends for the disaster and utter chaos we as a nation have perpetrated in Iraq. We broke it and now we own most of the responsiblity.
  • One last thing - I look at this as our Vietnam. Irrespective of any one person's position on the war, we as a country have this hanging over our heads. We will all, and especially soldiers families, feel the consequences of this invasion of Iraq for a long, long time.

    Respectfully, Jim Caralis

    • I agree, but

      Towards your point about the Powellian China Shop "If you break it, you own it" mentality, I don't think this is a question of  how much sacrifice we make on the road to success but rather "Are we doing more harm than good?". I think there's no question that we are. We're creating more enemies than we're killing, we've lost the trust of the people via Abu Graib, Haditha, Saddam's execution, etc...We've overseen the transition from a dictatorship to a civil war, and we're not appreciated for that. I don't blame the Iraqis at all for this, at least under their dictator the water and electricity worked and Sunnis and Shiites weren't killing each other in the streets by the dozens.

      I don't believe we can win, but more importantly these guys don't either. When our brave troops don't think it can be done, you're going to have a serious problem convincing me otherwise.

      • Not yet concvinced

        That the "good" we are doing isn't simply preventing the post-withdrawal meltdown, which cretainly has much potential to descend into a regional religious war- a disaster many, many orders of magnitude worse than the present situation.

        And I'm not yet convinced that preventing that broad humanitarian distaser, not to mention the global economic crisis that could be caused by the disruption or discontinuation of such a huge portion of the global oil supply, doesn't counsel to stay-- at least on the permanent "temporary" bases-- for a long time.

        I continue to await a reasonable and credible analysis of the consequences of complete withdrawal before chipping my particular two pennies behind that movement.  Thus far, I don't see any more in the way of anticipating or planning for how things might go badly than I did from the invade Now! folks in 2003.

        • A Bad Frame

          Again, this is in line with the "We broke it, we fix it" argument, and to it I have this to say:

          I think the ball is in the court of those gung-ho about the original invasion to prove to the public (and now increasing numbers of our troops and generals)that we're wrong about what they have said time and time again they no longer believe, which is that our invasion and our past, current, and future presence is making things better. I understand the argument about severe deterioration if we "cut and run", but coming from those who advocated for this war in the first place have the burden of proof to upon their shoulders to show me how our presence is helpful, because what I see is a botching of the reconstruction from De-Baathification on forward. I wrote about my reservations regarding the war at length way back in the day, before we invaded. I have not seen my points disproved, except for the fact that I actually thought we could dredge up at least one single WMD once we got on the ground.

          Humanitarian disaster? Disruption and volatility of the oil supply? Preventing the post-dictatorship meltdown? It's freakin' all happening right now, on our watch and our dime.

          To say "Most everything we did until this point was wrong, but if we leave...BEWARE!" is just a bunk argument. There are major issues to deal with in Iraq post-Saddam, to be sure...But propping up a country that may well have been created specifically to fail is not adept foreign policy, period.

          • Ew, you said $quot;frame$quot;

            CentralMassDad hates the word frame!

          • Don't miss the live show!

            Now playing in NYC: Get Your War On. Worth risking your life on Fung Wah.

          • Hooray for You

            You opposed the war, and you were right.  Whoop de ding dong do.

            But just because you were right that Bush was wrong doesn't mean you're right that you're now right.  (ha, its late.)

            If you are going to propose or implement major overhauls of American security policy, it is incumbent upon you-- not someone else-- to explain how your plan makes things better and not worse.

            Saying nanny nanny noo noo, it is up to those who started it to prove us wrong before we go firing off half cocked simply makes it seems like now there are other children in charge of policy, which inspires no confidence.

            There are plenty who didn't necessarily support the invasion, who now thing that a precipitous withdrawl is a recipe for (greater) disaster.

            • We were right; they were wrong

              We've exchanged on this on the other Iraq thread. I want to add something new.

              This is not just a personal thing; it is not just that they hurt our feelings and unseated Senators and monopolized the airwaves. It is also a particular view of foreign policy that got us into Iraq. We might want to acknowledge that those views were mistaken and we might want conventional wisdom to recognize that neoconservatives are full of s**t that which Stomv wants me not to mention.

              Here is a small sampling:

              • Democracy is a God-given form of government for which all people yearn.
              • Terrorists share common interests with one another. It is more important to respond to their evil with force than it is to waste time trying to understand what causes it.
              • Diplomacy is only useful among friends.
              • We are hated for our freedom.
              • With sufficient will to win, we can accomplish any military goal.
              • If the French disagree with our government, it can only be because they're wrong and stupide.
              • A reluctance to drop bombs or send in troops is a sign of cowardice or a weak will.

              To those of us who were awake (good for you Rollbiz!) or who woke up (good for you Andrew Sullivan!), now see that the above points were crap. It would be a good thing if that were more broadly acknowledged so that we don't have a reappearance of the Jesse Helms School of Foreign Policy.

              With the neocons already trying to provoke a war with Iran, those apologies cannot happen soon enough.

              • All true

                The neocons are wretches. But CMD's point is also valid: people who favor immediate withdrawal, including the permanent bases (like me) have to make effective positive, not just negative arguments. Your comment, with respect, is not responsive to this point. So I'll start with one, which I have made before somewhere on BMG, and which I wrote to Senator Kerry when I urged him to vote against the use of force resolution way back when (sadly, he ignored me, fancy that): the age of empires is over, cheap sub-machine guys, plastic explosives, and global communications killed it. The failure of the US occupation, not to mention the collapse of almost every empire in the world after WWII, supports this thesis. The U.S. cannot hold Iraq at a reasonable cost given the gains we can accrue (primarily oil and regional influence). The longer we stay, the more we will invest, and lose, in a foregone conclusion. Our priorities should be to cut our losses: ensure that whatever government follows the withdrawal of our forces is (a) reasonably well disposed to us, and (b) strong enough to protect the Iraqi oil fields (not to mention Saudi) from an Iranian attack. It is an illusion to imagine that a "surge" of U.S. troops will change this basic dynamic.

                • Elsewhere

                  CMD and I had a longer exchange over at this diary which my comment here continued.

                  Questions about Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia as they relate to our pulling out of Iraq do require attention.

                  You may have noticed, though: I push the partisan angle. The conservative movement has no trouble demonizing our senior Senator. That neocons are able to continue to float about mud-free disturbs me.

                  • Partisan angle

                    I'm not sure the neocons are exactly mud free.  They are certainly not egg free (face, ha).

                    Your expression here of supportb for partisanship is interesting.  It is true that foreign policy and security policy has been politicized to a far greater degree than at any other time in most of our lifetimes.

                    After WWII, we were able to achieve a sort of Cold War consensus with respsct to Soviet expansionism.  Politics stopped at the waters edge, and the disputes were generally of the Do-we-take-I-93 up through the city or 128 around to get to the same place in Woburb variety.

                    Not so since 9/11.  The failure to even attempt one will be regarded as one of this administration's greatest shortcoming in statesmanship.

                    The well may be too poisoned now to achieve any consensus; the thread here demonstartes how strong the Sam Kinison impulse is on both sides.

                    Now I'm depressed again.

                    • Bipartisanship RIP

                      Given the disappearance of moderate Republicans, there is a vanishingly small basis for bipartisanship now. It is also even harder to suggest now that "both sides have a point" when one side represents a neocon face to the outside and a theocratic one to the inside. I suggest that is the tragedy much more than today's rather weak attempts for the Democrats to become more partisan.

                      I don't get your movie reference.

                    • One of the funniest scenes ever in schlocky film

                      From Back to School.  I'm not able to make the YouTube window appear, but here is the link.  You have to watch it through to the end to see the "Say it!!" part.  God bless Google.

                      Though the Sam Kinison charcter lives on the other side of that old ideological divide, my reference was to the tendency of seemingly rational discussion to suddenly descend into irrational rage.  Sam Kinison was a comedian in the 80s whose entire schtick was sudden irrational rage.

                    • Sam Kinison - here it is

                      Too funny not to be viewed - regardless of your perspective.

                    • Thanks

                      Your HTML skills are to be envied.

                    • Is computerized gerrymandering a progressive issue?

                      The governator pushed this in California, but got squashed by the Democrats in Sacramento. This is unfortunate, because if it had gained traction in CA, it might have elsewhare also.

            • Who's Role is it Anyway?

              -The role of Congress in this war is not to lay out specific battle plans, that is the role of the generals and the Commander in Chief. The role of Congress is primarily to control the pursestrings, and also to represent their constituent's opinions and beliefs.

              -The role of Rollbiz in this war is not to lay these plans out either, it's to bring my humble opinion to the table either in the blogosphere, letters to the editor, or my representatives in government.

              -The role of the president, his advisors, and military leaders is to create the plan, spell out the plan,  and it is the correct plan to be accepted and funded by the Congress and the people.

              When I say that it's not my role to spell out a specific battle plan (Or Kennedy's, for that matter) this is what I mean.

      • WE do not own Iraq.

        They want us out.  They have to solve their own problems. We are not even an effective imperializer like the Brits were.  Imagine our holding India for over 100 years.  That stuff is as the kids say so over.  If they work out their own problems and want some help in the future then we listen.  Now the best thing we can do is get out and take the ones who need to escape with us.  I do not claim that we don't have a debt but I resist the notion that because you break some country you own it.  It's arrogant and assumes you know more than they do what they need and even if you leave a mess which we will do, you at least give them the honor of believing that they like everyone else in the world can fix their own house.

        • 108,000 Iraqis flee their country - THIS MONTH

          SEE The London Daily mail, which said:

          "More than 108,000 Iraqis have left their homes and registered as refugees in the last month, a senior official has said.

          Since the February 22 bombing of a Shi'ite shrine that sparked a wave of sectarian killings between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunnis, about 432,000 Iraqis have fled their homes, Deputy Migration Minister Hamdiya Ahmad said.

          "The main reason behind the rise of displaced families is the deterioration of the security situation and the death threats that people have received to flee their houses, in addition to the bombing of safe areas," she said.

          In Baghdad alone, 42,000 Iraqis have left their homes since the bombing of Samarra. Baghdad has a population of seven million.   FOR THE REST OF THE STORY http://www.dailymail...

          How can we be "helping" if anyone who can, is fleeing?

    • $quot;we had to destroy that village in order to save it$quot;

      A problem with the misguided Vietnam War was that the rules of engagement eventually led to a very brutal relationship with the native population aka "gooks". There's a lot of evidence that this has happened to Iraqis aka "hajj". If we have soldiers and Marines in Iraq on a hair trigger, they're not going to be much good for humanitarian anything. Certainly after Abu Ghraib, over-extreme de-Baathification, the demolition of Falluja, and the Saddam Hussein death circus, Sunnis have no inclination to be the willing recipients of our aid. Remember too: our media may not show many photos from Abu Ghraib but you can bet your booties that the insurgents point everyone they can at them.

      *

      After the Big Bad Wolf blew down two Little Pig houses, the Little Pigs were disinclined to except Pigtarian Aid from the Big Bad Wolf, too, I'm sure. I'm joking, but this is really a horrid tragedy and part of the tragedy is that it has made us helpless to fix it -- helpless even to make the Very Pure in Heart fix it.

    • 20,000 additional troops will not fix this

      First of all, Colin Powell is 0 for 2 on major military foreign policy issues of the last two decades.

      He was utterly wrong on Bosnia, claiming air strikes would do nothing to stop the fighting. Actually, a week of air strikes led to a cease-fire, which led to the Dayton peace agreements. Why? Because he didn't grasp the simple fact that there already was an effective and highly motivated fighting force on the ground that desperately wanted and needed our help, and had managed despite an arms embargo to begin fighting the nationalist extremists to a draw.

      And he was obviously dead wrong to try to persuade the world that there was an imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction from Iraq.

      That aside, though, you need to understand the type of commitment which would be needed in order to deal with the mess that has been created by George W. Bush's Iraq disaster. After a cease-fire was agreed to in Bosnia, NATO sent about 60,000 troops to implement a peace treaty that all sides agreed to. Bosnia is a country of about 4 million people, just a bit more than half the size of Baghdad alone. Iraq has about 7 times the population of Bosnia. In Bosnia, all sides had agreed to stop fighting. In Iraq, and there is no cease-fire to implement but a civil war is raging.

      Do the math. How many troops do you think would be needed to try to effectively deal with the mess we created in Iraq? It looks to me like well over half a million with absolutely no guarantee of success. There's no way to do this without a widespread draft. Are you prepared to support that? If not, then a small-scale escalation will do nothing to address the basic problem here. It will just send more Americans into the meat grinder without improving the situation in Iraq. I've had enough of that.

      Like you, I am horrified at the nightmare Bush has unleashed on Iraq in our name. We need to find a way to help support the best possible outcome there of some bad choices right now. But I do not believe we will be able to use the sheer force of our military to positively affect the long-term outcome under current conditions.

    • Help and $quot;help$quot;

      One of the ongoing issues in my relationship is what constitutes help. Is it just what I ask for? Is it what I want but don't ask for? Is it what I need, don't want, and eventually come to appreciate?

      So too the relationship between Iraq and the United States. A little trip to World Opinion Org [slow link] indicates that the kind of help we are offering Iraqis does not appear to be the kind of help they want or ask for.  Overall 21% think the U.S. is a stabilizing force, but 78% think the U.S. is not. In fact, that includes 82% of Shia and 97% of Sunni Arabs. Even 41% of the Kurds think the U.S. military presence is provoking more conflict than it is preventing.

      When is it clear we are really not wanted? When the majority of the country approves of attacks on U.S. forces. 61% of the country approves of attacks on U.S. forces. That includes 92% of Sunni Arabs and 62% of Shia.

      Even if these polling numbers have a margin of error of 20%, the inescapable conclusion is that it is time to go.

  • Roundup

    I believe Kennedy's proposal, on its merits, should unite hawks, doves, and those in between. 

    If you're a dove, like Steverino, you get a vote and, if you win, the chance to avoid escalation. 

    If you're a hawk, like Jaybooth, you get a vote and, if you win, the chance to claim a new mandate for a clearly defined strategy. 

    Alas, DC doesn't tend to work that way. 

    From CNN

    Sens. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, and Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who caucuses with Democrats, have predicted most Democrats won't deny funding for a troop increase.

    The two senators released a letter they sent to Bush, urging him to send additional troops to Iraq. Graham implored Congress not to propose cutting off funding or capping troop levels. Doing so would be "proposing defeat," he said.

    Also, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told the Detroit Free Press on Monday that he would consider sending more troops to Iraq if Bush agrees to start withdrawing troops within six months....

    "Senator Kennedy's resolution underscores the significant opposition on the Hill and with the American people to the president's plan. This is only one of several ideas about how to respond to the president's proposal on Iraq," said Jim Manley, (Harry) Reid's spokesman.

    Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, indicated Monday they might consider blocking funds for a troop spike. Other senators have said they are considering legislation to cap the number of troops authorized to fight.....

    I signed. 

    • I'd warn Democrats...

      Not to side with Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman.

      They'll become the next Joe Lieberman, if they do. And mark my words, not many of them will be able to win as independents when we toss those asses out of the Democratic Party.

      Pun intended.

      • How's that?

        Get elected anyway, only with the signugalar power to absolutely f&&k the entire caucus at any time?  I'm not sure that the Lieberman will be kowtowing to the rest of the party so much as vice versa.

        • The point is

          We can beat Joe Liebermans now. Connecticut law had a provision that allowed people who lost primaries to get on as independents. I doubt most states have that - certainly not Massachusetts. (Especially with our late primaries).

          Furthermore, most politicians are quite as complete cantankerous creeps willing to lich off all that is corrupt in order to screw over democracy. Almost any other elected official in such a position would have abided by the will of their party. Joe Lieberman's will, it appears, was more important. To him. And, sadly, to Connecticut.

    • Just to clarify

      I'm not expecting anything approaching a "clearly defined strategy" out of this administration.  Either Iraqi politicians work something out that sidelines sadr and the death-squad-fanboys in favor of a SCIRI/Kurd/moderate/maybe Dawa coalition or they won't. 

  • Wow - Keep Up the Good Work!

    This is why I was proud to vote for you in November. We need your voice of clarity on Iraq, now more than ever. President Bush must be stopped from escalating our presense in Iraq. Someone, finally, has to tell him no - probably for the first time.

    I hope you can help lead all the other Democrats on this issue, Senator. God knows the American people are on our side, it's time the rest of the elected representatives of the Democratic Party start to be too.

    Good job and keep it up. Only tough pressure from people like you and the rest of the American people can force President Bush to bring our troops home.

  • A Great Bill From A Great Leader

    Someone had to step up and say, "The Emperor has no clothes" and who better than our own hometown hero, Senator Ted Kennedy. You're right on track sir, and I am sure you know how to help get us "Back on Track".

    May I say that your family's service to the people of this country embodies the patriotism, heart, and strength we all admire. Thank you.

  • Thanks Teddy!

    Your a great senator and I'm proud to say that I was the third generation of Conway's to vote for you this past fall. I urge you to go forward with this bill at all costs and to get it approved. Personally I feel that the current debate over Baker Hamilton or as Sen. Smith called it "cut and walk" vs "surge" is not the debate we should be having. The debate really should be between the only two honorable options "victory at all costs" which means demanding real sacrifices from the American people including higher taxes and gas rationing along with a draft to pump up state side reserves (NOT a combat draft) or "withdraw ASAP" which is sadly the only politically viable option at this point. Your bill helps steer the debate towards the two actual options and away from the ones the President and the media have helped fabricate. I applaud you for this leadership and even though conservative friends of mine laugh at my support, its for leadership like this that my family and many voters all over the state keep re-electing you. Keep up the good work and welcome to BMG!

    -James Conway

  • that's exactly the point isn't it?

    It's not up to him.  It's up to the American People.  And the voters have spoken.  Bush claims he wants to bring democracy to the Middle East.  It would be nice if he understood it at home.  Go Senator!

  • military tactics as legislation

    I'm no fan of the military and there is, clearly, no such thing as a slam dunk in warfare, but leaving the waging of the war to the military is the least bad choice we can make.  The idea of the war being fought from the White House or Capital Hill was a notable failure under a previous Republican administration, A. Lincoln's. 

    In fact the news out of Iraq sounds a lot like Lincoln's strategy with Union generals.  Ultimately Lincoln and the Union got Grant and Sherman and an unrepentently aggressive campaign to end the war.  Is this the way we want to go? Because I believe that some version of Sherman's March to the Sea is the only way to win in Iraq at the moment.  Many more Americans must die or be maimed in order to kill a lot more innocent and not-so-innocent Iraqis and achieve a working peace in Iraq.

    Sen. Kennedy is correct, we need to hold the administration accountable, but hand wringing without action only gets people killed gradually.  It is either all in or all out.  Anything else is plain cynical.  If we pull out, do it in two weeks, leave the bases and the equipment, it is already paid for. Let's get our men and women out of the line of fire.  Then we wait two years, time enough for Iraq to establish a pattern of life death and civil war that is predictable. The United States then re-enters Iraq or Iran with an identifiable enemy.(see Second Chechen War) 

    Is there any doubt that the "government" of Iraq after the US pullout will be anti-American or that the United States will have to return to Iraq at some point in the next 5 years.

    • Win in Iraq?

      ... I believe that some version of Sherman's March to the Sea is the only way to win in Iraq at the moment.

      I suppose that might be true if you mean "score more fatalities" or something, but this is not a video game and we are not fighting anything shaped like the Confederacy.

      Killing lots and lots of Sunnis and killing lots and lots of the Mahdi Army is just going to inflame more tensions and destabilize Pakistan (did you forget nuclear Pakistan?) It is not going to install an American-friendly government in Iraq as peaceful as the bilingual Belgians and their delicious chocolates.

      The other thing to remember is that Bush is demonstrably not listening to military opinion. Mr. Know-It-All Rumsfeld didn't either. Ironically, a Democratic Congress seems much more willing to listen to military opinion than Bush.

      Why do you think he's putting a naval officer in charge of Iraq?

      *

      That said, I agree with your point that a military operation should be run like a military operation.

      • Indeed, let's not forget the history

        It's reasonably clear:

        At a Pentagon news conference with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Mr. Rumsfeld echoed his deputy's comments. Neither Mr. Rumsfeld nor Mr. Wolfowitz mentioned General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, by name. But both men were clearly irritated at the general's suggestion that a postwar Iraq might require many more forces than the 100,000 American troops and the tens of thousands of allied forces that are also expected to join a reconstruction effort.
  • A perfect Diversionary $quot;Issue$quot;

    Troop surge effectively occupies "news" bandwidth by taking attention away from IMPEACHMENT.  A search of left leaning "news" sites also dutifully omits mention of Cindy Sheehan. And today's Dem anti-terror bill fully endorses Bush's GWOT by funneling trillions into inspecting containers of substandard Chinese crap.  Imagine the electronics jobs for Asian workers and software engineers in India building the every expanding Orwellian surveillance world!  Imagine the grateful and rich CEOs flocking to Dems with campaign dollars!  No jobs for you, no jobs for me.  And your kids?  Forget it.  Military-industrial complex wins!!!!

  • Sen Kerry is a co-sponsor of this bill and Rep. Capuano's staff told me he's co-sponsored a similar bill in the House

    it's what I expected to hear but still good news!

    contact info for your own congress-persons at this link Congress.org

    • Good to hear re: Capuano

      You've got an overwhelmingly safe seat, Mike.  And therefore you have an especial responsibility to use your position for the good of the country.  End the madness.

  • Senator Kennedy's Bill

    Senator Kennedy today made me proud to be his constituent. The U.S. Congress are the elected representatives of a constitutional democracy, and should perform that role by voting for or against his bill. Senators and Representatives unwilling to vote on it are not worthy of their office, and invite dictatorship.

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