Not only has Senator Reid issued a smackdown of Bush’s veto threat by challenging him to come up with his own alternative to this latest failure of a strategy, but he has also apparently rounded up enough support to call for a “change of course” and a timetable for withdrawal on the compromise Iraq and Afghanistan funding bill that, on the surface, makes Bush look the damn fool.
According to the articles released:
Defying a fresh veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Congress will pass legislation within days requiring the start of a troop withdrawal from Iraq by Oct. 1, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday.
The legislation also sets a goal of a complete pullout by April 1, 2008, he said.
In remarks prepared for delivery, Reid said that under the legislation the troops that remain after next April 1 could only train Iraqi security units, protect U.S forces and conduct "targeted counter-terror operations."
Now, it does remain to be seen what will happen if the compromise bill is vetoed, however Reid has been nothing short of stellar throughout these past few weeks. Of course, the fact that polls are showing an increasing support for cutting off funding altogether or to tie the funding to a timeline. Or it could be helped by the fact that it is painfully obvious that there has been a tremendous worsening of the violence, the latest “wall” idea is an absolute embarassoment not to mention the fact that the administration has already backed off it.
But in the battle to push the debate in Congress and the actions of America closer to an exit strategy, Reid has now not only hung tough in the face of blistering blathering by the right wing noise machine, the administration’s mouthpieces and the talking meatsticks. He has said that the “war is lost”. He has not backed down – calling for a tougher bill co-sponsored by Senator Feingold that would flat out call for a withdrawal of all combat troops by next year. And he has held his caucus together despite tremendous odds and factors to pass a bill (and the compromise version) which seems to be better than the one passed by the House.
In addition, the article quotes Reid today as saying:
"The military mission has long since been accomplished. The failure has been political. It has been policy. It has been presidential."
Reid said that in addition to the timetable, the legislation will establish standards for the Iraqi government to meet in terms of "making progress on security, political reconciliation and improving the lives of ordinary Iraqis who have suffered so much."
The measure also would launch diplomatic, economic and political policy changes, Reid said.
Bush "is the only person who fails to face this war's reality - and that failure is devastating not just for Iraq's future, but for ours."
Not only this, but Reid dared Bush (as the republicans have done to the Democrats so many times before) to come up with another alternative if he doesn’t like what Congress has passed, saying:
"If the president disagrees, let him come to us with an alternative. Instead of sending us back to square one with a veto, some tough talk and nothing more, let him come to the table in the spirit of bipartisanship that Americans demand and deserve."
Of course, “clap harder” hasn’t worked yet, and since McCain said that he too has no “Plan B” it is the republicans who are not only backed into a corner, defending an unpopular and failure of an occupation, but do not have any alternatives – alternatives that the American public is SCREAMING for.
To quote a great movie, “it looks like the foot’s on the other hand now”.
Bush has looked more and more like the bumbling idiot that he is since he first threatened to veto a bill that gives him all the money he wanted. As for our Senate Majority Leader – you have to hand it to him. He took the onslaught of this administration’s and country’s propaganda machine over the past few weeks, chewed it up and spit it back in their face. And even better – he is still standing and has the support of the American people. Even more than before this bill was first passed.
There is a new set of rules in Washington DC. Whether Bush likes it or not, the rules were set by the American people back in November. And the Democrats in Congress are doing, in Bush’s words, a “heckuva job” so far in trying to extricate us from this colossal disaster.