by user Towncommons
If you want to know the likely Democratic strategies for Iraq, they usually get floated first in the opinion section of the New York Times. And what appears there today is a prescription for putting barely disguised poison pills into the supplemental appropriations bill.
This is now a race to defeat. General Petraeus has promised to brief our elected leaders in September (assuming Murtha and Pelosi can make that briefing) on the status of counter-insurgency operations in Iraq. It seems a reasonable bet, based on all that has occurred since February, that General Petraeus will be reporting significant progress. If the true justification for leaving Iraq was because the situation had degenirated into a civil war, that certainly is undercut by the facts as portrayed by General Petraeus at his most recent briefing, that sectarian violence is down by two thirds and that our primary counterinsurgency effort is today aimed at al Qaeda in Iraq and its related organizations.
This leaves the Democrats in a quandry. In what must be the craven low point of partisan politics, "http://towncommons.blogspot.com/2007/04/give-em-surrender-harry-and-dancing.html Harry Reid and Jack Murtha have already begun attacking the honesty of General Petraeus. But that will be nowhere near enough. The far left of the party is demanding an outright end to the war, irrespective of the President's veto. And given their stranglehold on Democratic politics today, they have touched off a bidding war among Democratic presidential candidates to see who can surrender the fastest - with Ms. Clinton submitting the latest bid.
There is of course no chance of such legislation passing into law, but it greatly complicates what Democrats in Congress will seek to put into the bill. The NYT tells us today that it will be benchmarks tied to penalties. There is nothing wrong with crafting reasonable benchmarks that are grounded in reality and take into account on-going hostilities. That is not what the Democrats have in mind. In articulating this strategy, the NYT attempts to deligitimize Maliki, falsely painting him as inept and partisan, unable and unwilling to do what is necessary to govern Iraq:
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