No Timeline, No Funding. No Excuses.
El Pollo Loco told the ‘Murkan people that things are just peachy in Iraq, that Anbar is progressing nicely, (even if his buddy, the Sheik, was blown up near his own home) that we have to give the Iraqi government more time to meet the benchmarks we’ve set (even though that’s what he said in March and again in July… all the while conveniently moving the goalposts since they can’t even manage to agree on what color the sky is).
But, because he’s such a nice guy, he’s going to start bringing some of the troops home. Of course, he failed to mention that the surge troops will be rotating out of Iraq whether he wanted it or not.
From the AP:
Bush said that 5,700 U.S. forces would be home by Christmas and that four brigades — for a total of at least 21,500 troops — would return by July, along with an undetermined number of support forces.
Which means, we went from 130,000 or so troops in January of this year to a current high of 162,000 and will “reduce” to a pre-surge 130,000 or so by July 2008.
Only in BushWorld is going back to where you started called “progress” and considered to be a “troop withdrawal” on par with that of the Democratic proposal which would have all troops (minus a residual 30-40,000) home by July 2008.
In other words, this speech was just like every other Bush speech: Total. Bullshit.
Jack Reed gave the Democratic response, but it was John Edwards who nailed both Bush’s complete disconnection from reality and Congress’ failure to act to end the war.
John paid for a two minute ad on MSNBC, delivering a brief, but incredibly powerful message:
This week – as we will forever – we remember those lost on September 11th. And this week, Washington refocuses on Iraq. But the question of Iraq is separate from September 11th – as it has always been, whatever George Bush would have us believe.
Likewise, supporting our troops and pursuing a failed war are not the same things – whatever George Bush would have us believe.
All Americans honor the incredible sacrifice of our troops. They have done everything asked of them with courage and resolve. Now we should bring them home.
They are policing a civil war, and the only way to end that civil war is for both sides, Sunni and Shia, to take responsibility to end it by agreeing to a political solution. And the only way to force them to take responsibility is to withdraw our troops – starting now.
Unfortunately, the president is pressing on with the only strategy he has ever had – more time, more troops, and more war.
In January, after years of evidence that military actions cannot force a political solution, the president announced a military surge to force a political solution. In May, he vetoed a plan to end the war, demanded more time to show the surge could work, and Congress gave it to him. Now, after General Petraeus reports the surge has produced no progress toward a political solution, what does the president want? More time for the surge to work, when we know it won’t.
Our troops are stuck between a president without a plan to succeed and a Congress without the courage to bring them home.
But Congress must answer to the American people. Tell Congress you know the truth – they have the power to end this war and you expect them to use it. When the president asks for more money and more time, Congress needs to tell him he only gets one choice: a firm timeline for withdrawal.
No timeline, no funding. No excuses.
It is time to end this war. [all emphasis mine]