Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Senate demands accountability on war

This is from CNN.Com:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate demanded regular reports on the progress of the war in Iraq on Tuesday but rejected a Democratic plan to require the Bush administration to lay out a timeline for a U.S. withdrawal.

Senators voted 79-19 to add language to a $491 billion Pentagon spending bill that declares 2006 to be "a period of significant transition" for Iraq and calls on the Bush administration "to explain to Congress and the American people its strategy for the successful completion of the mission in Iraq."

The measure was drafted largely by Democrats, but GOP leaders removed language that would have called for a flexible timetable for a possible American pullout from Iraq.

But because its stated purpose was "to clarify and recommend changes" to U.S. policy in Iraq, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid called its adoption a vote of "no confidence" in the administration and said "staying the course will not do."

"The administration's strategy is aimless, and sadly, it's rudderless," said Reid, a Nevada Democrat. "[The vote is] a victory for our troops and the American people."

So the Senate Republicans have basically co-opted the Democratic plan for President Bush to layout a U.S. withdrawal timetable, without the timetable of course, and instead demand that Bush provide "progress reports" to the Senate. The Republicans are getting a little scared about where Iraq--and President Bush's poll numbers--are heading. So now the Republicans are scrambling to show they are trying to do something, so they try to maintain their jobs in 2006.

Of course, this is all for show to the voters. It is another delaying tactic by the Republicans in the Senate to protect both the Bush White House, and the Republican Party from the criticisms it has received regarding Iraq. This is also a PR stunt to deceive the voters by implying that the Senate Republicans are taking a harsher stand against the Bush White House in resolving Iraq. Nothing will come from this. There will be no "period of significant transition," nor will the Bush administration explain its mission in Iraq. In fact, consider what Sen. John Warner, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said about this measure:

Warner, a Virginia Republican, said its message was largely aimed at Iraq's fledgling government, which he said needs "to take a stronger, take-charge action" once a permanent parliament is elected in December.

"The coalition forces, most particularly the United States and Great Britain, have done their job," he said. "Now we expect in return that they take charge of their nation and run it and form a democracy and prevent any vestige of a civil war from taking place."

So this measure wasn't even aimed at the Bush administration, but rather at the US-occupied country of Iraq, and its government. The Republican-controlled Senate is demanding that Iraq's government must resolve this insurgency--even though the U.S. initiated the insurgency by invading and occupying Iraq in the first place.

It gets better though. Remember those so-called "progress reports" that the Senate demanded that the Bush administration present to them? Well, here's the standard White House PR response:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the Pentagon already sends numerous reports to Congress about the progress of the war but that the lawmakers' push for more information was understandable.

He said the withdrawal of U.S. troops will depend on when Iraqi forces can take their place, "and already some responsibilities are being assumed by the Iraqi security forces."

"We must be careful not to give terrorists the false hope that if they can simply hold out long enough that they can outlast us," he said.

What information? What progress reports? The only progress reports that the Bush administration has presented was to "stay the course," and "we'll succeed when we've completed our mission." Now Rummy is saying we can't give terrorists false hopes so they can outlast us? What nonsense is that? Of course, what Rummy doesn't say is that the lawmaker's push for more information from the Pentagon is denied, since such information is also classified.

But it gets better. Here's what else Rummy said:

Rumsfeld waded into the dispute Tuesday, citing Clinton administration statements that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, ousted in 2003, would have rebuilt his weapons programs if left alone.

He said President Bush launched the war in Iraq based on "the same information that President Clinton and the previous administration had."

"It's the same information members of the House and Senate had. It's the same information that the other intelligence services had," he said.

"People who are willing to risk their lives need to know the truth," Rumsfeld said. "They need to understand that they are there based on decisions that were made in good faith, by responsible people, and that this world is going to be a lot better off with Saddam Hussein gone and with that country on a path toward democracy."

Got to bring up Bill Clinton again. Bill Clinton had the same intelligence information that Bush had, and the same intelligence information that Congress had. There's only one difference between Bill Clinton and George Bush--Bill Clinton did not invade Iraq. George Bush did. Of course, Rummy also finishes with the White House PR statement of "the world is better off with Saddam gone," climax.

The Bush administration is still living in fantasyland.

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