The Iraqi government is achieving only spotty military and political progress, the Bush administration conceded Thursday in an assessment that war critics quickly seized on as confirmation of their dire warnings. Within hours, the House voted to withdraw U.S. troops by spring.
The House measure passed 223-201 in the Democratic-controlled chamber despite a veto threat from President Bush, who has ruled out any change in war policy before September.
"I believe we can succeed in Iraq, and I know we must," Bush said at a White House news conference at which he stressed the interim nature of the report.
Describing a document produced by his administration at Congress' insistence, he said there was satisfactory progress by the Iraqi government toward meeting eight of 18 so-called benchmarks, unsatisfactory progress on eight more and mixed results on the rest.
To his critics — including an increasing number of Republicans — he said bluntly, "I don't think Congress ought to be running the war. I think they ought to be funding the troops."
Democrats saw it differently.
A few hours after Bush's remarks, Democratic leaders engineered passage of legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops to begin within 120 days, and to be completed by April 1, 2008. The measure envisions a limited residual force to train Iraqis, protect U.S. assets and fight al-Qaida and other terrorists.
The vote generally followed party lines: 219 Democrats and four Republicans in favor, and 191 Republicans and 10 Democrats opposed.
"The report makes clear that not even the White House can conclude there has been significant progress," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
To Bush and others who seek more time for the administration's policy to work, she said, "We have already waited too long."
Republicans sided with Bush — at least for now. The bill "undermines Gen. Petraeus, undermines the mission he has to make America and Iraq safe," said the House GOP leader, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio. "What we have here is not leadership, it's negligence."
Why do they do this? If this even passes through the Senate, all that's going to happen is that it will get vetoed. And you've just successfully accomplished a multitude of very, very bad things:
This is sickening.
Just weeks ago, Congress approved funding for the war and told General Petraus to report back in September.
Isn't it... July? Oh, yes, that's right, it is, because my birthday is in about three weeks. But I guess that's our fault for thinking that Dems would give this strategy even the smallest chance to succeed.
Nancy Pelosi blathers on about how there has been no progress and that they've waited "far too long". What would be significant progress for her? And at what point did she first start advocating for troop withdrawals? The week after the surge? The month after? Whenever it was, it wasn't enough time for it to work. But that's because Dems don't care about it working; they just want to cut-and-run, regardless of the cost.
As Van Helsing from Moonbattery puts it:
We are fighting more than one enemy in Iraq, but all of them are fighting us in the name of radical Islam. Specifically, our main enemies are the same al-Qaeda that flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and proxies of Iran, which invaded our embassy in an act of war and held Americans hostage for 444 days.
These are the people to whom Democrats would have us surrender.
The cost of surrender will be extreme. America will officially have the status of the "weak horse." Iran will be ascendant in the region. In the short term, there will be a critical threat to the energy supply that is required for our economy to run. In the long term, Iran will dominate the Middle East and metastasize into a nuclear superpower: a Soviet Union run by Islamic terrorists who don't mind dying so long as we die too.
As for Iraqis, their reward for trusting America will be genocide on a scale we haven't seen since the Democrats and their lackeys in the media forced our retreat from Southeast Asia.
Shockingly enough, CNN actually has a video of a family in Iraq saying they want US forces to stay (thanks to Beyond the News for the clip).
Dems have sent their message. They don't support our troops (but don't question their patriotism!). They don't care about national security or what the aftermath will be in Iraq (but don't question their patriotism!).
And the fact is, it is not Congress' job to tell our military how to run operations or deal with the troops. That is the President's job, which he said himself yesterday:
I don't think it makes sense [for Congress to tell] our military how to conduct operations or deal with troop strength . . . I don't think Congress ought to be running the war. I think they ought to be funding the troops.
Liberals, of course, were shocked, shocked at this display of aggression, as they put it.
And where did President Bush get that idea? Well, our Constitution -- specifically, Article II, Section 2:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.
And of course, don't expect Harry Reid or Pioneer Pelosi to actually, you know, answer your questions:
TAPPER: I'm sorry, if I could just follow up very quickly...Do you think the Iraqi people will be safer with U.S. troops out?
REID: It is clear that the Iraqi people don't want us there. It is clear that there is now a state of chaos in Iraq. And it is up to the Iraqi people to make themselves safe….We can't do it. It's time the training wheels come off and they take care of their own country. We have spent billions dollars. We're now spending $12 billion a month on Iraq. That's enough. In the last six months of the surge, six months, 600 more dead Americans, $60 billion more of American taxpayers' money. We, Democrats, unitedly believe that's enough.
TAPPER: With all due respect, Senator, you didn't answer my question.
REID: OK. This is not a debate.
TAPPER: Will the Iraqis be safer?
REID: We're answering questions. (calling on someone else) Yes, young man? Anyone else have a question?
There are very specific words that we can use to describe what the Dems in Congress are pulling, or to describe them. The words "traitors" and "cowards" are somehow floating to the front of my mind...
I think it's time to break out Michelle Malkin'sWhite Feather campaign again.
Reader and Vietnam Vet Jack Haley e-mails:The White Feather has been a symbol for cowardice. I suggest that white feathers be sent to the leaders of the Senate and House for the cowardly vote that abandons our soldiers around the world.
I was in Vietnam the day that the 101st took “Hamburger Hill” — the headline in the Stars and Stripes was Teddy Kennedy’s statement to the effect that it was all such a waste. I am sure it raised the spirits of the folks on top of the hill — I know it gave my morale a boost. Surely these leaders of our country will head out on a USO tour to encourage the troops further.
As far as I am concerned this is a Congress of Quislings.
I'm buying my white feather today. And there are 223 Congressmen/women who need one.
And hey, John, where's the Project Payback for this?