Monday, November 13, 2006

The Dem Priority of the New Congress: A Phased Withdrawal from Iraq

On one of the most violent days in Iraq yesterday, the Congressional Democratic leadership talked about one of the top priorities for them when the new Congress convenes: A phased withdrawal from Iraq.

In today's LA Times, they discuss the Democratic Senate leadership uniting behind a proposal for phased withdrawal:

Senior military officials have recently voiced increasing concern that the security benefits of keeping large numbers of troops in Iraq are outweighed by significant downsides to the heavy U.S. presence. Among them are a perceived reluctance by Iraqis to take the lead in stemming the violence as long as U.S. forces are there.

"We have to tell the Iraqis that the open-ended commitment is over and that we're going to begin to have a phased withdrawal in four to six months," said [Sen. Carl] Levin [D-MI], who also appeared on "This Week."

Levin was joined in his call for a phased pullout by Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), who is in line to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader in the Senate, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that decisions on drawdowns should rest with U.S. military officers in Iraq. Still, Reid said that "we need to redeploy" and that a withdrawal should start within several months.

Now we probably won't see any concrete proposals until the Baker-Hamilton Commission releases its suggestions on Iraq. At the same time, Bush & Co. still refuse to consider any withdrawal of troops until there is "victory in Iraq". Of course, Bush still doesn't quite define what "victory in Iraq" means. Is it a stable government? A democratic government? An American-style republic? Bush is still promising to block any legislation calling for a withdrawal, but what if that's what the commission recommends (though I'm not counting on it)? What if that's what the American people want (it already is)? What if that's what the Iraqi people want (it already is)?

If only we had an Administration that cares about more than its own desires, and the desires of their corporate sugar-daddies.

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