Hogan's Alley

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Non-Binding Resolution: But What Do The Democrats Want To Do?

Accompanying its story about the passage of the non-binding resolution, which simply states,

‘’Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq'’ and that ‘’Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.'’,
the Times provides a selection of quotes from the debate over the resolution.

What is striking about the statements of those supporting the resolution is their clear opposition to the Petraeus plan for using the additional troops to police and hold secure the dangerous neighborhoods of Baghdad. They clearly mean to draw a line in the sand. What is less clear is what they would have the US troops do if and when they are able to stop the "surge" ("escalation" in the symbol language of the Vietnam era set.)

Here is a sampling taken from these quotes alone:

Rep. Tom Lantos: "Let us make this resolution the first step on their journey home. We must begin a reduction in force at the fastest responsible rate possible, consistent with the safety of our troops." In other words, pull out ASAP.

Rep. Joe Bocca: "The President had failed to convince me in 2002, and I am still not convinced to this day. I say let’s support this resolution. Let’s bring back our men.” A quick pullout as well.

Rep. Dale Kidee: "Before the end of this year, U.S. troops should be redeployed and their efforts focused on support and training the Iraqi Security Forces. It is their country, it is their fight, and it is their future.” Presumably a redeployment safe areas and a focus on training Iraqis.

Rep. Lois Capps: "Madam Speaker, it is time to stop the war in Iraq. Support the troops. Indeed, bring them home.” Another vote for a quick pullout.

Rep. Wayne Gilchrest: "If our young men and women are brave enough to go into Iraq and Afghanistan, then we as Members of Congress must be brave enough and informed to start a dialogue in Damascus, in Tehran, in the entire region, to hasten peace." Supporting a new emphasis on talks with Syria and Iran, with no guidance on the disposition of troops already in Iraq.

Nothing is said about the likely outcome should Bush follow their advice or if they are ultimately able to force him to abandon this plan. Clearly, absent any other new and innovative ideas from the Dems, the status quo would continue to drag along until the death tolls from bombings and death squads again embolden the Congress to further micromanage the war. The problem for them at that juncture is that they will be forced to choose a direction for the next American move and then live with the after effects. I doubt seriously that any potential Democratic candidates for President want to be saddled with that burden. My prediction is that no meaningful Congressional action will attract enough votes for passage.

Labels: ,