WASHINGTON - In a direct challenge to President Bush, House Democrats are advancing legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the fall of next year.This appears to be a step in the right direction. As I mentioned the other day, setting a date for withdrawl is more meaningful that nipping around the edges.
Democratic officials who described the measure said the timetable would be accelerated — to the end of 2007 — if the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki does not meet goals for providing Iraq's security.
However, with Congressional Democrats there is always the possibility of a fumble at the goal line, with the Republicans recovering and running the ball back for a touchdown.
Yet it also permits Bush to issue waivers of these standards. Democrats described the waiver provision as an attempt to embarrass the president into adhering to the standards. But they concede the overall effect will be to permit the administration to proceed with plans to deploy five additional combat brigades to the Baghdad area over the next few months.This legislation sounds like a promising start. The hang up is with these unnamed "moderate" Democrats in the House. Will they screw the pooch?
[House Speaker Nancy]Pelosi and the leadership have struggled in recent days to come up with an approach on the war that would satisfy liberals reluctant to vote for continued funding without driving away more moderate Democrats unwilling to be seen as tying the hands of military commanders.Mark my word, we are in for a season of Congressional dithering and the continued effusion of American and Iraqi blood.