“The real problem is not that we are different, nor that we disagree and have conflict. It's that most of us automatically view conflict as something negative rather than as a tool God can use to help us better understand ourselves and one another.

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Friday, February 16, 2007

02/16 Morning Report

I’ve been really busy with some school projects and tax season at the brokerage. So, I’m doing a little catch up on the news. Did you have any idea how fragmented the Democrats really are over Iraq? The Ft. Worth Star Telegram reported on Saturday, February 10 that:

In the House, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio has an 11-point plan to end the war.

Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois and Chris Dodd of Connecticut have outlined their own proposals. Sen. Joseph Biden has said he will have one, too.

More than a dozen such measures are competing for notice as Congress moves deeper into its war debate; virtually all make the safety of the troops a priority.

Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., was the first to introduce a bill on the subject in the current Congress. He proposed, the day after lawmakers convened in January, that money for combat troops be cut off after six months.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., was the first lawmaker to propose legislation denying permission for Bush to increase troop strength.

Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., supports legislation to rescind the authorization that Congress approved in 2002 for the invasion of Iraq, and requiring the withdrawal of troops "in a safe and orderly manner."

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and others have a bill to begin withdrawals within 30 days and turn all U.S. military facilities over to the Iraqis.

More than 70 members of the House Progressive Caucus announced last week they favor a withdrawal over six months. A group of moderate Democrats has filed legislation requiring greater accountability over funds spent in Iraq.

Some withdrawal measures make exceptions for targeted anti-terrorist activity or security for U.S. personnel. Sestak's plan would allow the military to provide air support for Iraqi forces.

Several bills would ban permanent U.S.. military bases in Iraq, and some place Iraq's oil off-limits to U.S. government agencies or American companies. Some provide for reconstruction aid, others endorse regional diplomatic efforts.

One bill places a limit of 500 personnel on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad; provides assistance for elimination of land mines; envisions compensation for Iraqi noncombatant casualties; and supports establishment of an Iraqi Institute for Peace.
The truth is, the Democrats probably have enough clout and bipartisan support to actually get most of this stuff passed.

The evidence is mounting against staying, that is if you count leadership by public opinion poll as a valid measure of doing what is or is not right. With Iranian support of the Shiite militias, and with Moktada al-Sadr probably living there, too, and the American media all ramped up to get the soldiers out of Iraq, all I can do is feel sorry for the Iraqi people. At the moment, US forces are all the security worth mentioning that they have.

Meanwhile, Pelosi and company are declaring Bush doesn’t have power to invade Iraq. Under the Constitution and War Powers Act, he actually could do it—short term. Technically, it only comes under Congressional oversight if it goes over 30 days. The President only has to inform Congress of his actions. All that really is meaningless. The Democrats have created a lot of fear in the American people. But, the truth is, given Bush’s work at getting bipartisan support for going into Afghanistan and Iraq, why does anyone believe he would just arbitrarily attack Iran? All it does is succeed in dividing the American people, and solidifying left wing hardliners' belief in Bush’s supposed “dictatorial agenda.” It also gets the attention of the American people off the issues America must face in Iraq—like seeing a stable government formed, even if we don’t like the shape of it.