Thursday, July 12, 2007

Skelton Bill Passes In House

The Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act, sponsored by Ike Skelton (D-MO04) and supported by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, passed today 223-201. To quote the Congressional Quarterly article:

The House bill (HR 2956), sponsored by Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., would require troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq within 120 days of enactment of the legislation. All troops would have to be redeployed from Iraq by April 1, 2008, with minor exceptions.

House Renews Iraq Pullout Effort

What exceptions might there be? Here's a quote from the House Speaker's website:

The President would have to report to Congress why troops should remain in Iraq for limited purposes such as to fight terrorism or to train Iraqi forces.

House Passes Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act

This is the sort of bill I've been urging Congress to pass for some time. It's what they should do, instruct the President that he's no longer authorized to deploy forces in an area. In short, Congress is telling the President he has no legal basis for making war there. There is none of the opportunity for demagoguery that there was with the efforts to cut off funding for the war. They can't claim it's not supporting the troops. They have the money they need, at least if there's any amount of money that can give them what they really need there.

Of course, to say there's no chance for demagoguery here vastly underestimates our demagogues. They'll complain that this bill is a waste of time, because even if the Senate passes it (and there seems to be some doubt), the President will veto it, and there certainly aren't enough votes to override that veto. That's beside the point. The troops aren't leaving until either George W. Bush is no longer President or he sees the light. This is another opportunity for the Republicans to say "no" to what the American people clearly want. Each time they do that, they take one step closer to political disaster. There are plenty of Republicans, particularly those in swing districts or states, who understand this all too well. Sooner or later, they'll probably change their minds. When enough of them do, they'll override a veto.

Meanwhile, I want them on record now, before the elections are looming. You'd have to be a political idiot not to.

In addition, I don't want to waste a single day. Every day, more people die in Iraq thanks to the chaos and our troop operations. To quote Patrick Murphy (D-PA08):

“In the last month alone, in Bucks County, we have buried four of our finest sons. Four names have been added to the memorial board outside my office. I – for one – don’t want to add any more names. My Republican colleagues, you have the power today to stop these tragic phone calls… to stop adding faces and names to our memorials. Let’s change the direction in Iraq and get back to fighting a smarter War on Terror – together – not as Democrats or Republicans – but as Americans.”

House Passes Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act

Every time the Republicans vote against a bill to get us out of Iraq, they vote to continue this useless slaughter. If it has to be someone's albatross, let it be their albatross. The heavier and stinkier it becomes, the more they'll be ready to get rid of it.

(H/T to Taylor Marsh, who wrote about this earlier today and found most of the links.)

UPDATE: Corrected the name of the bill.

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