Saturday, July 14, 2007

Republican "pullback" plan

Republican Senators Warner and Lugar have rolled out a proposal to... well, do something about the war in Iraq. This story in the NY Times, by Jeff Zeleny, doesn't tell you what the Warner-Lugar proposal is until the 15th paragraph. The main part of the story is devoted to retelling the familiar tale of how "politics" and "pandering to the base" is messing up the pursuit of level-headed centrist policies in Iraq. It's lousy reporting and a pretty transparent show of the kind of 'common sense' from the Washington establishment that got us into this whole Iraq debacle in the first place.

Anyway, what's up with the Warner-Lugar proposal? According to the far more informative report in the Washington Post by Shailagh Murray and Robin Wright, the legislation would require "the White House to begin drawing up plans to redeploy U.S. forces from frontline combat to border security and counterterrorism. But the legislation would not force Bush to implement the plans at this point."

That's right--Bush and his team will have to "begin drawing up plans" to redeploy troops to "border security and counterterrorism," but would not force the administration to do anything other than "present a realignment plan to Congress by Oct. 16." Other than that it would "expect" Bush to submit a new request to Congress to reauthorize the war--something that the NY Times story does not go out of its way to make clear is only an expectation, not a requirement.

As a sign of Republican disunity on the Iraq issue, the Warner-Lugar bill is welcome news. But it's not anything close to a reassertion of the Constitutional prerogatives on Congress. It's a toothless piece of legislation, and I expect it to sink fairly quickly, although amid wails and cries from the likes of the NY Times about how it's another sign of the death of bipartisanship. Even if the bill passed, it will basically allow the Bush administration to continue to do whatever the hell it wants, just as long as it redefines it as promoting border security and counterterrorism. It's not a realignment plan at all.

Hopefully, the Dems will come up with something a lot better, and stick with it even if they can't pass it over a filibuster or Presidential veto. Defeat in a righteous cause is better than a 'victory' that allows this evil war to continue.

Meanwhile, back in Iraq: U.S. Troops Battle Iraqi Police in East Baghdad

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sad, Scary & Crazy

This is just sad and scary:
Today was a historic first for religion in America's civic life: For the very first time, a Hindu delivered the morning invocation in the Senate chamber — only to find the ceremony disrupted by three Christian right activists.
This is just crazy:
Wall Street soared Thursday, propelling the Standard & Poor's 500 index and Dow Jones industrials to record highs as bright spots among generally sluggish retail sales allowed investors to toss aside concerns about the health of the economy.