Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Senate Proposals for Iraq

According to an AP story the Senate is preparing to vote on a couple of proposals today that are meant to tell President Bush what they believe America's policies on Iraq should be. There are two proposals one Republican and one Democrat, whichever wins out will be added to a defense bill. Both proposals are nearly identical differentiated only by small language changes.

Both proposals "call for, but do not require, the Bush Administration to explain to Congress and the American people its strategy for the successful completion of the mission in Iraq." It also wants the Administration to provide updates every three months on operations in Iraq until all combat units are withdrawn. According to the report a "major difference in the two versions is that the Democratic proposal calls for the President to outline a "campaign plan with estimated dates for the phased redeployment" of U.S. troops." The Republican proposal has deleted the Democratic provision of a timetable for withdrawal.

Both proposals also have provisions allowing Guantanamo Bay detainees to appeal military tribunal hearings in federal courts. They would also give detainees with certain sentences an automatic appeal in the federal courts and would allow the 500 detainees to "appeal the procedure under which they were labeled "enemy combatants"."

Of course this is political posturing at its best due to the upcoming 2006 elections. As the report states the democrats are trying to capitalize on spiraling poll numbers in regards to the Iraq War. The Republicans in the Senate are running scared and cannot allow Democrats to gain the upper hand in terms of concern about the conduct of the war. All of this just goes to further the erroneous assertion that Bush is mishandling the war.

The provision calling for an explanation of the strategy "for the successful completion of the mission" is just rehashing the democrat argument that Bush has no plan for the war. How many times does he have to say it? The plan is simple, we will provide security in Iraq until that country has a government firmly in place and the Iraqi security forces can take over the defense of their nation. Point, period, end of paragraph.

To be quite honest, I do not know what to say about the provision that would allow the detainees to flood our federal courts with hearings and appeals other than it is ludicrous.

I do believe that this could have been avoided if the Bush Administration had not waited so long to rebutt democrat attacks. One provision I have no problem with are the three month updates. This is something that should have been happening all along and could have been accomplished with frequent press conferences. The mistake Bush has made in handling the Iraq War is not having a campaign style support system on the home front. Bush has started to rectify this problem by coming out swinging this week and countering the manipulation of intelligence claim put forth by democrats. He needs to go further and start showing the American people the accomplishments we have made in Iraq.

Democrats are trying to sneak their way into any successes in Iraq that may occur in 2006 that allow for a troop reduction. It matters not which proposal passes either one only helps the democrats. Republican lawmakers are only doing what they think they have to do for their political survival. It will be up to Bush to marginalize these proposals as unnecessary.

Captain's Quarters has more...
Don Surber...

Update: The democrat proposal was defeated 58-40 and the republican measure passed 79-19. The senators upheld military tribunals at Guantanmo Bay but will allow them to appeal their sentences and status as enemy combatants in federal courts.
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