Sunday, March 25, 2007

Iraq War : Is it Time for a Time Table? The arguments from both sides

In a cliffhanger vote — 218 to 212 — the House of Representatives defied a White House veto threat and passed an emergency war-funding bill requiring that most U.S. forces be out of Iraq no later than August 2008.

Just an hour after the bill passed, President Bush fired back from a White House event, where he stood ringed by military veterans. He derided the House vote, calling it an act of political theater.

Senator Trent Lot Critical of Timetable Plan

Meanwhile, the Senate's No. 2 Republican leader harshly criticized Democrats
in the House of Representatives for setting an "artificial date" for withdrawing troops from Iraq and said he believes Republicans have enough votes to prevent passage of a similar bill in the Senate.

"We need to put that kind of decision in the hands of our commanders who are
there on the ground with the men and women," said Senator Trent Lott,
(R-Miss.). "For Congress to impose an artificial date of any kind is totally

Lott said setting withdrawal dates is a futile because Bush has made
clear he will veto any such legislation.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi explains her view of the situation

1. Returning Soldgiers poorly cared for: "And when they come home, they are not being honored as the heroes they are. The revelations of appalling conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital and VA facilities across the nation remind us once again that our troops have been sent into war with no plan to care for them when they come home."

2. Bush is NOT listening to his commanders on the ground :"Our commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, recently said: 'There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq.' "The Department of Defense has finally admitted that 'elements of a civil war do exist in Iraq.' In fact, it is even worse than that.

Yet the President's response to escalating levels of violence is to deploy more troops -- a strategy that has been tried without success on three previous occasions .

3. Troops Not Ready: "The admission by General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, that he is "not comfortable" with the readiness of Army
units in the United States.

4. US war effort marked by poor planning, coordination and oversight. "The
conclusion by the special inspector general that the failure of the reconstruction effort in Iraq was caused by a lack of planning, coordination and oversight.

Senator Chuck Hagel stopped short of calling for Bush's impeachment

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent critic of the war, stopped short of calling for Bush's impeachment. But he made clear that some legislators viewed that as an option should Bush choose to push ahead despite public sentiment against the war.

"Any president who says, I don't care, or I will not respond to what the people of this country are saying about Iraq or anything else, or I don't care what the Congress does, I am going to proceed - if a president really believes that, then . . . there are ways to deal with that," said Hagel, who is considering a 2008 presidential run.

Bush is Accountable

In the April edition of Esquire magazine, Hagel described Bush as someone who doesn't believe he's accountable to anyone. "He's not accountable anymore, which isn't totally true. You can impeach him, and before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment. I don't know. It depends on how this goes," Hagel told the magazine.

In his weekly address Saturday, Bush accused Democrats of partisanship in the House vote and said it would cut the number of troops below a level that U.S. military commanders say they need. Vice-President Dick Cheney also accused Democrats of undermining U.S. troops in Iraq and of sending a message to terrorists that America will retreat in the face of danger.

"We have clearly a situation where the president has lost the confidence of the American people in his war effort," Hagel said. "It is now time, going into the fifth year of that effort, for the Congress to step forward and be part of setting some boundaries and some conditions as to our involvement.

"This is not a monarchy," he added, referring to the possibility that some legislators may seek impeachment. "There are ways to deal with it. And I would hope the president understands that."

Senator Dianne Feinstein - the people have spoken

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said "People of this country have spoken overwhelmingly. It's been constant now," Feinstein said. "They want us out. It is time for the Senate to weigh in. I hope we will have the votes."

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