Monday, June 12, 2006

Iraq on center stage in Congress; speak up

A vote is coming soon, maybe on Tuesday, in the US Senate over setting a deadline for US troop withdrawal from Iraq. It is undoubtedly going to fail, but pressing the issue makes sense, even if the timing works against passage. The House GOP also is planning action this week to show support for the misguided adventure. The LA Times:
House Republican leaders say the decision to focus on Iraq and terrorism was made long ago. But GOP officials concede that the killing of Iraqi insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi by a U.S. airstrike this week would make it easier for the Republicans to defend Bush administration policies.

"It certainly helps the atmosphere of the debate," said Ron Bonjean, spokesman for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). "It shows that we are fighting and winning the war on terror, and the resolution will reflect that."

The measure is expected to assert that operations in Iraq are part of a global "war on terror" and to express "resolve" to complete the mission.

House Democratic leaders are awaiting the resolution's final wording before announcing their position on it.

"We haven't seen it yet," said Jennifer Crider, spokeswoman for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). "I would hope the Republicans did not try to play politics with something this serious."
Did Jennifer Crider just fall off the turnip truck? Of course it will be all politics all the time. Look at the games the GOP played last time the subject came up, rushing through a phony resolution with one hour of debate.

In the Senate, John Kerry says he will offer an amendment to a defense appropriations bill and call for withdrawal of troops by the end of 2006.

In an e-mail, Kerry says:

The outcome of what is now a civil war in Iraq cannot be determined by American military force. It has to be solved by Iraqis brought together to hammer out their differences. Period. It is time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq.

Our soldiers are fighting and dying in the third war in Iraq -- not the war for mythical weapons of mass destruction or the war President Bush said had to be fought against armies of foreign jihadists, but an escalating civil war between Sunni and Shia.

In the next 24 hours, it is likely that the Senate will vote on my amendment which calls for the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq by the end of this year. For months, you and I have been pressing for this step. We've made it clear that we needed to set deadlines in Iraq -- and with the formation of an Iraqi unity government and the killing of Al-Zarqawi, this is a moment of truth in Iraq.

Now a critical vote is at hand. Our brave soldiers have done their work. It's time to put the future of Iraq in the hands of the Iraqi people.

Urge your Senators to support withdrawal of combat troops by the end of 2006.
If you live in Wisconsin, you know Russ Feingold will vote for it; Feingold was the first one in Congress to propose that deadline. You also know Herb Kohl is not ready to support it yet, although he spoke out against the war over the weekend. But it can't hurt to ask him, or to tell Feingold you support his efforts. Feingold 202-224-5323. Kohl 202-224-5653

If you're a non-Wisconsin reader, here's a link to other phone numbers. Tell 'em Xoff sent you. Or, better yet, don't.


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