Reprinted by permission of Chip Bok and Creators Syndicate
Democrats controlling the House of Representatives will try again to bring American combat in Iraq to an end when it debates legislation this week tying new war funds to troop withdrawals, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday.
The legislation, similar to a bill President George W. Bush vetoed earlier this year, “gives voice to the concerns of the American people” over a war that is now in its fifth year and “with no light at the end of the tunnel,” Pelosi, a California Democrat, said.
As early as Friday, the House will debate the plan that would give Bush only $50 billion of the $196 billion in new funds he has asked for to continue fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of the money would go to Iraq.
The House repeatedly this year has passed legislation aimed at ending the Iraq war, only to see it die in the Senate or killed by Bush.
Congress is expected to consider the rest of the funding sometime next year.
Pelosi said the money would fund the war for another four months. But as they have done in the past, House Democrats will try to attach conditions requiring the Pentagon to immediately begin withdrawing some of the 169,000 troops in Iraq and with the goal of completing the withdrawal by December, 2008.
Pelosi sidestepped a reporter’s question on whether congressional support for the idea has grown enough to overturn an inevitable veto by Bush.
Holding troop funding hostage to the Code Pink agenda. Nice way to usher in Veterans’ Day weekend, eh?
Brian Faughnan at the Standard: “Anyone think this bill will get the 223 votes that the last surrender measure got?”
Meantime, Bill Ardolino has interviewed senior military and intelligence officials for a comprehensive round-up explanation of “Why the violence has declined in Iraq.” The conclusion:
Officials are cautiously optimistic about the trends of the last two months, but they are quick to caveat the improvement in security. The long-term danger of an al Qaeda resurgence remains a possibility, as al Qaeda in Iraq remains a significant franchise of the broader terrorist network safely based in Pakistan, which it’s believed will attempt to resupply and redouble its efforts to destabilize Iraq. Officials stress that continued momentum is required to solidify gains, specifically maintained targeting of extremist groups, successful border interdiction, the official employment of a portion of CLCs in the Iraqi Security Forces and, most importantly, a mid-term commitment to American brokerage of reconciliation between the national government and tribal and former insurgent groups