Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Repub Senator Derides Decider’s Decision

Arlen Specter (R-PA) was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee for the past two years until Patrick Leahy (D-VT) became chairman when the 110th Congress convened on January 4, 2007 under Dem control. Specter can be wildly on the wrong side of political debates. But once in a while he demonstrates that he has a brain and that he can use it. Yesterday, in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Specter joined Dems who took exception to the President’s wrong-headed contention that he, and only he makes decisions about Iraq. Specter said, “I would respectfully suggest to the president that he is not the sole decider…the decider is a joint and shared responsibility.” At another hearing, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lee Hamilton, who co-chaired the Iraq Study Group with James Baker, argued that the White House was wrong when it contended it had incorporated most of the ISG’s recommendations into the president’s plan to send additional troops to Iraq. “The diplomatic effort has not been full enough,” Hamilton said. In fact, the initiatives had been “modest and slow.” Hamilton added, “We don’t have the time to wait.” Admiral William J. Fallon has been nominated to command American forces in the Middle East. Fallon said, “time is running out” for Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to end sectarian violence in Iraq. “Maybe we ought to redefine the goals here a bit and do something that’s more realistic in terms of getting some progress…what we’ve been doing is not working and we have got to be doing, it seems to me, something different.” If the words the Republicans are using to indicate their displeasure with President Bush and his so-called new strategy sound wimpy, it is not difficult to read between the lines. The Prez is full of shit and his plan won’t work, is the closest translation. However, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) has come up with a resolution that is neither wimpy nor does it pussyfoot around the measures that need to be taken in Iraq. Feingold, who acted as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, said he will introduce a resolution that would “end all financing for the deployment of American military forces in Iraq after six months, other than a limited number working on counterterrorism operations or training the Iraqi Army and police force.” In effect, it would call for all other American forces to be withdrawn by the six-month deadline, Feingold said. The New York Times reported this morning, that “Bush administration’s allies in the Senate began a major effort on Tuesday to prevent a potentially embarrassing rejection of the president’s plan to push 20,000 more troops into Iraq.” I am so struck with the use of the words “embarrassing rejection”. I am absolutely convinced that the Republicans in Congress who want the war in Iraq to continue don’t give a damn about our troops in Iraq, or about the war in Iraq, or about the people in Iraq or about the civil war in Iraq. The sole concern of the Bush administration and the neocons in Congress is that a rejection of the president’s plan would be embarrassing. That’s it. That’s why we are staying in Iraq. That’s why we are sending more troops to Iraq. That’s why more brave American troops are being killed in Iraq. It is only about saving face.

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