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May 24, 2007

Iraq War Funding (and Pork) Passes

by Kevin Boyd

The bill to continue funding the Iraq War until September with no timelines has passed Congress.

Congress voted tonight to meet President Bush’s demand for almost $100 billion to pay for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through September, providing a momentary truce in a bitter struggle over war policy.

Even before the House and Senate approved the war spending bill, President Bush welcomed the legislation, which does not set the timetable for withdrawing troops sought by Democrats but requires the Iraqi government to meet a series of benchmarks as a condition of receiving further American reconstruction aid.

The measure also calls for new reports from Mr. Bush in July and September on how his strategy is unfolding in Iraq and requires independent assessments of the performance of the Iraqi government and the capabilities of Iraqi military forces.

In other words, when (not if) the Iraqi government does not meet the benchmarks in September, the war will probably come to an end, for the United States at least. The withdrawal of combat forces will probably start by the end of the year. The only way the situation will change is if the situation dramatically improves on the ground and terrorist attacks begin to dramatically decline because the American people will not support continuing to pour money down the Iraq rathole with no results.

The war continuation itself passed 280-142 in the House with a majority o f Democrats and two Republicans opposing. However, the amendment to put in a $1 increase in the minimum wage and another $10 billion in pork barrel projects passed 348-73 with only 72 Republicans and Dennis Kucinich opposing wage controls and the larding up of the war bill. The war bill passed the Senate 80-14 with presidential candidates Joe Biden voting for it, Chris Dodd voting against it early, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voting against it after it passed, and Sam Brownback and John McCain voting for it.

UPDATE: The Senate roll call is interesting to say the least. 3 of the 14 opposing the war funding bill are Republicans Tom Coburn (Oklahoma), Richard Burr (North Carolina), and Mike Enzi (Wyoming). Sam Brownback, as usual, was a no show.

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  • http://www.pubcrawler.blogspot.com/ tkc

    If you were an insurgent in Iraq, or part of al-Qaida in Iraq, knowing that the funding issue would be revisited in Washington in September, what would you do?

    If I was leading one of the two groups I mentioned I’d be seeing to it that the streets run red with blood. The reason: I can’t beat the US military in the field, however, I can convince the politicians in Washington to quit.

    I’ll wager an ice cold lager that it is going to be a summer of hell in Iraq and you can thank our own politicians for that.

  • http://earthlink John

    TKC, I would not take the bet, while I totaly agree. Our House & Senate members are looking to win the White House never mind the political noise about the war losses, which will increase as you state.
    Just tell me when you leave so I can do more damage while you are leaving, I may just get more out of this with Americas help. THANKS IN ADVANCE” SAYS BIN LADEN AND FRIENDS>>>>>
    I just wish we could get House & Senate members who really give a D—-m about this country and not just the party.

    John

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  • tarran

    I do not agree, tkc.

    Let’s say that there was no timetable – that Congress announced that they were in for the long haul. Do you think the insurgents would say, “Oh Well, we tried?”

    No, the insurgents would still be going after U.S. soldiers with everything they got. It’s not like they have a resupply/recruitment problem and have to husband their resources.

  • tarran

    The bill also raises the Federal Minimum Wage, ensuring our victory in Iraq.

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