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Democrats Stage All-Night Debate on Iraq

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Author Topic: Democrats Stage All-Night Debate on Iraq  (Read 124 times)
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« on: July 18, 2007, 07:34:44 am »


GOP Denounces Effort As Political Theatrics

By Shailagh Murray and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 18, 2007; Page A01

Democrats rolled out cots and ordered pizzas as they settled in for a marathon Senate debate on Iraq last night that featured numerous speeches but little chance of getting any closer to resolving the stalemate over how to end the war.

Republicans were determined to block legislation forcing a withdrawal of combat troops, which was expected to come before bleary-eyed senators this morning in the nonstop session. Republicans dismissed the Democrats' overnight effort as political theatrics and vowed to enforce a 60-vote threshold for passing the withdrawal proposal, which would bring most troop homes by May.

Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) speaks to antiwar activists outside the Capitol as the Senate holds a debate on Iraq. (Photos By Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post)

"The amendment will look just as bad at 3 a.m. as it does at 3 p.m.," said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). "The Democrats' all-night debate is nothing more than a publicity stunt -- as Democrats have freely admitted."

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and his leadership team circulated sign-up sheets for speakers. Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), one of the front-runners for the 2008 Democratic nomination, was scheduled to take the floor between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., just as the television networks' morning news programs start their broadcasts. Senators were warned that votes could occur anytime throughout the night.

The first roundup of senators began at 8:30 p.m. for a procedural vote. Afterward, several Democrats left the Capitol for a candlelight vigil across the street with antiwar activists.

In a sign of the late-night weariness, a second procedural vote held at midnight drew 80 senators, some of whom had changed into more casual clothing. It officially drew a quorum, but 11 fewer senators showed up than had for the earlier vote.

Obama, who had been at a campaign event in Cincinnati earlier in the evening, made it back to the chamber for the midnight vote. Reid set another quorum-call vote for sometime after 5 a.m., with the penultimate vote on the amendment sponsored by Reid and Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) slated for 11 a.m. today.

Earlier in the day, Reid had ordered cots to be set up in a ceremonial room off the Senate floor, and reporters were alerted when the beds, along with pillows, were delivered in the afternoon.

The office of Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) dispatched interns to buy toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant for delivery to GOP leadership offices, with a note offering the "supplies for your sleepless night." It added: "Help us bring an end to this war."

"Will the all-night session change any votes? I hope so," said Reid. "Because it will focus attention on the obstructionism of the Republicans."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said 60-vote thresholds have become standard for controversial legislation in the narrowly divided Senate. He reminded Democrats that they used similar blocking tactics when they were the minority party.

"If they want to debate all night, we'll be here," McConnell said. "Plenty of volunteers will be here to discuss this issue as long as they would like."

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) took to the floor just before 11 p.m. to denounce the amendment and noted that he hoped the cots would "wake up the senators," referring to the Democrats.

Lieberman, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee, voted with the Republicans on the procedural vote at 8:30 p.m., just as he has on every war vote this year.

"It's time for all of us to wake up to what's happening in Iraq," he said later. "Redeployment is nothing more than mandated defeat."

Some Republicans contended that the round-the-clock debate -- the first since November 2003 -- had helped GOP leaders shore up some of their wavering senators. Despite plummeting public support for the war, President Bush has urged lawmakers not to take decisive action until September, when Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker deliver a highly anticipated assessment of the war.

"The idea of waiting for Petraeus and giving him a chance has grown on Republicans," said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), one of the war's staunchest supporters.

The various Iraq proposals are offered as amendments to the annual defense authorization bill. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who has co-sponsored an amendment that moves away from the current strategy and adopts the bipartisan Iraq Study Group's recommendations, said Reid is "playing politics" and possibly hardening positions on both sides.

Alexander said Bush needs to be "more flexible," but he noted that Reid's handling of the floor debate is "slowing down our effort to find common ground."

"Instead of this gamesmanship, we should be trying to put together a unified position," Alexander said. He estimated that as many as 70 senators oppose the current White House strategy and could rally around a centrist alternative.

Samir Sumaidaie, Iraq's ambassador to the United States, said yesterday that the Baghdad government believes the Petraeus-Crocker report will be too premature in judging the impact of the U.S. military buildup.

"We want the surge continued. September is frankly too soon to really show anything more than an inkling of its potential. But we want that to continue until we see real fruit," Sumaidaie told reporters.

Although Democrats expect to fall well short of 60 votes today, they hope that the all-night session will show antiwar voters that the party is not relenting, despite continuing to fall short in its efforts to force the White House to change course.

The group called in Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans to spend the night in the Senate gallery. organized "counter-filibusters" in which protesters outside Senate offices and in other public places read firsthand accounts from Iraq war veterans and military families. "We'll send a clear message to senators and the media that this isn't about partisan games -- it's about people's lives," the group said.

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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2007, 07:45:52 am »

Senator Charles E. Schumer on Tuesday night walked through a room filled with cots for the weary as the Senate settled in for an all-night session.


Published: July 18, 2007
WASHINGTON, July 17 — A handful of Republicans who have distanced themselves from President Bush on the war in Iraq refused Tuesday to back a plan to withdraw American troops from the conflict, leaving Senate Democrats short of the support needed to force a vote on their proposal.
Where They Stand: Six Key Senate Republicans As the Senate headed into an all-night session complete with cots in Capitol meeting rooms and an antiwar vigil across the street, some Republicans who have gone public with their complaints about the war strategy also weighed in against the Democratic withdrawal plan as ill advised and driven mainly by partisan considerations.

“You wonder if they are more interested in politics than dealing with the substance of this,” said Senator George V. Voinovich, Republican of Ohio.

Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, labeled the Democratic plan calling for a troop pullout to begin within 120 days vague and unenforceable.

“If it did pass, it would lead to chaos in Iraq and a dramatic increase in casualties,” said Mr. Gregg, who is backing an alternative plan that incorporates the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

Senators Richard G. Lugar of Indiana and Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico, two senior Republicans who recently delivered a high-profile criticism of the administration’s Iraq policy, also planned to oppose the Democratic plan, aides said.

But leading Democrats and three Republicans who have joined them in pushing for the withdrawal portrayed the proposal as the most concrete of the competing plans circulating in the Senate and the surest way to force a change in administration policy.

They painted a procedural vote set for Wednesday morning as a pivotal moment in the war debate and urged colleagues to help remove American troops from what they described as civil strife in Iraq.

“Ultimately, they have a question to settle,” Senator Gordon H. Smith, Republican of Oregon, said about the Iraqi people. “This is a fight that is theirs, not ours.”

Democrats acknowledged that they were using the rare all-night session to ratchet up the pressure on wavering Republicans and try to persuade voters that though lawmakers might be breaking with the president, they were not moving forcefully enough to wind down the war.

“Many of these senators have been back home telling their constituents they’ve given up on the president’s policy in Iraq,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat.

“Well, the question is, will they have the courage now to vote with those who want real change?”

If they cannot assemble the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster, the Democrats will have again failed to push through a timetable to end the war. Democratic officials count just over 50 votes for their plan and they spent much of Tuesday ripping Republicans for not allowing a simple majority vote on the withdrawal proposal drafted by Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, both Democrats.

“Now is the time for us to make difficult choices,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, one of the four Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate.

Republicans complained that the whole episode was a charade because the Democrats who were complaining about having to come up with 60 votes on contentious issues used the same tactics themselves when they were the minority party.

“It doesn’t pass the smell test,” Senator John McCain of Arizona, the senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said of the Democratic criticism.

He and other Republicans challenged the wisdom of the withdrawal plan, saying it would short-circuit an escalation of military forces before the buildup had sufficient time to work, hand terrorist forces a victory, damage the nation’s reputation and leave Iraq in chaos.

“Keeping the Senate in for an all-night debate is not going to improve the serious concerns we have about the Levin amendment,” said Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona. “The amendment will look just as bad at 3 a.m. as it does at 3 p.m.”

But the backers of the plan disputed characterizations of the bill as a cut-and-run approach, saying it would stagger the redeployment of troops and would give the president broad discretion to keep sufficient forces in Iraq to engage in counterterrorism efforts, secure the nation’s borders and protect American personnel and facilities.

“It’s neither precipitous, nor is it a withdrawal,” said Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, who, along with Mr. Smith and Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, is one of the three Republican backers of the Democratic plan. “It’s a redeployment, a reduction in forces, a change in mission.”

Mr. Levin said his amendment was a response to what he portrayed as Mr. Bush’s refusal to consider a change in policy on his own. “We are trying to say that this administration will not change course in Iraq, apparently, unless the Congress forces that issue upon them,” he said.

In what has become a staple of overnight debates in the Senate, cots were wheeled in Tuesday afternoon, though it was uncertain they would get much use because many lawmakers live nearby or have more comfortable couches in their suites. Democratic officials said that if they failed to reach the 60-vote threshold on the withdrawal plan, they would drop it for now and possibly allow votes on alternatives. The alternatives include a proposal to enact into law the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group; another to rescind the initial 2002 authorization for the war; and a new proposal by Mr. Lugar and Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, to order the president to develop a new war strategy by October.

The legislation based on the study group’s call to combine diplomacy and military operations to create conditions for withdrawal by next March has some bipartisan support, but some Democrats have criticized it because it is nonbinding.

“It is on the right track,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who is a leading sponsor. “It is moving in the right direction and it is very significant change.”

But Mr. Alexander said he would not support the Democratic withdrawal proposal and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said he had not decided whether there would be a vote on Mr. Alexander’s approach. Mr. Reid did suggest that he was inclined to allow consideration of the plan by Senators Lugar and Warner, given concerns they have raised about the course of the war.

“I admire and appreciate Senator Warner and Senator Lugar very much speaking out,” Mr. Reid said. “I wish they would vote as well as they talk.”
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2007, 07:50:10 am »

July 18, 2007,  5:08 am

Clinton and McCain Speak Overnight
By Jeff Zeleny

A television in the Capitol showed Senator John McCain speaking on the Senate floor. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)It was 3:45 a.m. when Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, walked through the doors of the cloakroom to take her seat in the back row of the Senate chamber. She was, at this hour, the only Democrat seated at a desk on the Senate floor.
As she rose to speak, she adjusted her papers on the lectern. Suddenly, though, it was no longer her turn. On the other side of the chamber, Senator John McCain of Arizona also was standing and as the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, Mr. McCain had Republican time to use. Turning to a large map of Iraq that rested on an easel, he said: “I urge the indulgence of my colleagues.”
For more than 20 minutes, Senator Clinton listened and jotted down notes. She drank enough water for a second glass to be delivered to her Senate desk. Still, she seemed to be far more alert than many of the people who had spent the night in the Capitol.
As a Democratic presidential candidate, Mrs. Clinton is not given special treatment in the Senate. She wasn’t sure when, exactly, she would be called to speak. (Hopefully, before the morning news.) So she spent the evening in her small Senate hideaway office. And finally, around 4:15 a.m., she began.
“There are no good answers,” Senator Clinton said. “Anyone who stands here and believes that he or she has the truth, the facts and understands both what is going on and what is likely to flow from whatever decision we take is most probably to be proven wrong by reality as it unfolds.”
As she endorsed the legislation before the Senate – a plan to begin withdrawing troops within 120 days – Mrs. Clinton spoke slowly and deliberately about Iraq.
“Many of us have been searching for the best approach to take with respect to our involvement in Iraq for a number of years,” she said. “But we don’t do it with any sense that we know everything that will happen no matter what decisions are taken. But what we do have is a history of miscalculations and mistakes that we are now attempting to deal with.”
Mrs. Clinton, of course, did not mention that she voted with the majority of Democrats nearly five years ago to authorize the president to use force against Iraq. Her criticism of the Bush administration was measured, but her point unmistakable.
“The catalogs of miscalculations, misjudgments and mistakes in Iraq shocks the conscience,” she said. Then, she went on to mention the looming threat of Iran, saying: “Everybody knows that the Iraqi government is as much a client of Iran as it is an ally of the United States.”
With that, her time had concluded. It’s not bedtime yet, though. Another vote is coming soon. And a rival presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, is scheduled to speak shortly after dawn.
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2007, 08:09:13 am »


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats made Republicans stand, talk and sit for marathon arguments against the protracted war in Iraq in an all-night session where the most eye-catching props were the beds brought in for the sleepy.

Republicans, indeed, responded with a yawn - agreeing to stay around as Tuesday turned to Wednesday and respond to any votes that might be scheduled even though they remained steadfast in their opposition to the Democrats' anti-war legislation.

"This is nonsense," said Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

Added Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., of his Democratic colleagues: "I bet I can stay up longer than they can."

And so he did, speaking on the floor after even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had retired a little after midnight, to a cot set up in a parlor adjacent to his office.

Reid had pushed through a motion minutes earlier, on a 41-37 roll-call vote, instructing the Senate Sergeant-at-arms to "request the attendance of absent senators" in an effort to keep members near the chamber. Having made his point, Reid than announced there would be no further votes before 5 a.m. EDT.

By then, attendance had fallen off. As the day dawned, bleary-eyed senators passed the same motion 37-23.

Thus, most senators got a chance for a few hours of shuteye even while a handful of their colleagues took turns droning on through the night with floor speeches.

The "live" audience for the speeches was sparce, however, and there was no indication how aggressive the sergeant-at-arms was being in carrying out his official instructions to keep members near the chamber - or whether he was insisting that they be awake.

With a half-dozen spectators watching from the gallery, Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and John Thune of South Dakota were among those speaking during the long night, joined by Democrats Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Jim Webb of Virginia. Republican presidential candidate John McCain of Arizona finished his speech around 4:10 a.m. He was followed by White House hopeful Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential nominee in the last election, had the floor as the sun started rising over Capitol Hill.

The Senate was to vote later in the morning on legislation by Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., that would require President Bush to begin pulling troops out of Iraq in 120 days. After April 30, an unspecified number of troops would be allowed to remain in Iraq to fight terrorists, protect U.S. assets and train Iraqi security forces.

The legislation was expected to attract the support of a narrow majority of senators - around 52 votes - but fall short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate and end a filibuster.

"Will the all-night session change any votes? I hope so," said Reid, D-Nev. "Because it will focus attention on the obstructionism of the Republicans."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice planned to spend most of Wednesday on Capitol Hill lobbying lawmakers on Bush's Iraq policy, a senior State Department official said.

Rice's plans included spending up to five hours in the morning and early afternoon in group and private meetings in both the Senate and House. The focus would be Iraq and other foreign policy issues, including the Middle East, the official said.

While the issue was momentous - a war more than four years in duration, costing more than 3,600 U.S. troops their lives - the proceedings were thick with politics., the anti-war group, announced plans for more than 130 events around the country to coincide with the Senate debate, part of an effort to pressure Republicans into allowing a final vote on the legislation. A candlelight vigil and rally across the street from the Capitol was prominent among them, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., among those attending.

Republican Sens. Gordon Smith of Oregon and Olympia Snowe of Maine appeared with Democratic supporters of the legislation at a news conference. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., was also expected to endorse the measure.

"We are at the crossroads of hope and reality, and the time has come to address reality," said Snowe, who said the Iraqi government was guilty of "serial intransigence" when it came to trying to solve the country's political problems.

Smith, who is seeking re-election next year, said Iraqis appeared focused on "revenge, not reconciliation," and that the administration needed to change its approach. "The American mission is to make sure that Iraq doesn't fall into the hands of al-Qaida," he said, rather than referee a civil war.

© 2007 The Associated Press.
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2007, 11:15:07 am »

 Republicans block Senate Iraq withdrawal plan 30 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Republicans in the US Senate on Wednesday blocked a Democratic measure which would have required President George W. Bush to pull most combat troops out of Iraq by the end of April 2008.
After a marathon all-night debate, the Republican vote held firm, despite several senators expressing unease over the war plan after the president rejected changes in Iraq strategy until September at the earliest.

The Senate voted by 52 to 47 to move to a final vote on the measure, well short of the 60-vote supermajority needed for the bill to proceed.
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2007, 11:53:43 am »


Top GOP Senators Only Talk Against the War

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, July 18, 2007; Page A19

Anyone searching for the highest forms of invertebrate life need look no further than the floor of the U.S. Senate last week and this. These spineless specimens go by various names -- Republican moderates; respected senior Republicans; Dick Lugar, John Warner, Pete Domenici, George Voinovich.

They have seen the folly of our course in Iraq. The mission, they understand, cannot be accomplished. The Iraqi government, they discern, is hopelessly sectarian.
In wisdom, they are paragons. In action, they are nullities.

Perhaps they are simply farsighted. They have seen the problem with Nouri al-Maliki's administration in faraway Baghdad. They seem unable to see the problem with the Bush administration at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Lugars and the Warners seem to share with many of their Democratic colleagues a common assessment of our presence in Iraq: It has become an unfocused and costly occupation in a land beset by civil war. We should, in good order, pull back, leaving behind only what we need to deter jihadists who threaten us.

Problem is, the Warners and the Lugars don't actually want to act on their perception. They oppose the legislation by Democrats Carl Levin and Jack Reed that would require the administration to begin reducing our forces in Iraq within 120 days and to remove all but that anti-jihadist force by next April.

Instead, they have drafted legislation that would require the administration to draw up plans for a pullback -- but not to implement them. Indeed, they act continually as if George Bush and Dick Cheney are amenable to argument and open to facts. "I'm hopeful they'll change their minds," Domenici said last week after a meeting with national security adviser Stephen Hadley. "I think we should continue to ratchet up the pressure, in addition to our words," said Voinovich, "to let the White House know we are very sincere."

Very sincere -- now there's a threat that concentrates the mind. These Republicans who proclaim their independence without acting on it have failed to come to terms with the single most important reality confronting them: that Bush and Cheney will keep the war going until Congress forces them to stop.

A few Republicans have come to terms with that. When the Senate votes, probably today, on ending the Republican filibuster against the Levin-Reed legislation, three Republicans -- Chuck Hagel, Gordon Smith and Olympia Snowe-- have pledged to side with those who would compel the administration to begin withdrawals. But for all the sound and fury coming from the senior Republicans ostensibly in revolt, none of them is poised to join the three. None is willing to challenge the White House on the conduct of the war in the only way that counts -- by mandating a shift in policy.

Instead, these senior Republicans speak loudly and carry no stick -- indeed, they speak loudly precisely because they are so stickless. In a July 9 speech on the Senate floor, Warner warned that this is "a time in our history unlike any I have ever witnessed." He spoke of telling administration leaders about the need to change course and added, "I was asked by the press whether I thought they'd brush it off and I resoundingly replied, 'No.' "

Resoundingly, huh? If Warner wanted to be taken seriously, he could gird his loins, vote for a date certain to withdraw troops -- and then he could whisper to the press and still be heard a lot more clearly than he is being heard today.

Besides, Warner chaired the Senate's Armed Services Committee, and Lugar its Foreign Relations Committee, from the start of the war until January, when the Democrats took control of Congress. By then, the war had become so patently absurd that the Republicans were voted out of power on Capitol Hill. But did Warner and Lugar hold oversight hearings on the war? Did they propose a different course from the president's when they had more power to affect the war's conduct than they have now?

There would have been ample precedent if they had. In February 1966, just 18 months after Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and just 15 months after Lyndon Johnson was elected president by a huge margin, Arkansas Democrat and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman J. William Fulbright held exhaustive and critical hearings on the Vietnam War, concluding that the war had become a quagmire. Fulbright incurred LBJ's enmity for his troubles, but the hearings laid the basis for our ultimate withdrawal from that war. The gutless wonders of today's GOP never could bring themselves to chart such a course, and it is their continued deference to Bush and Cheney that keeps our soldiers in Iraq to this day.
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2007, 12:14:06 pm »

P R O T E C T I NG   T H E I R   P R E S I D E N T

by mcjoan
Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 08:41:10 AM PDT

Standing firmly in the slow quicksand of public disapproval and impending electoral defeat, the WINOs, the Waverers in Name Only, voted with their president this morning, blocking passage of the Levin/Reed amendment to the Defense Authorization.

By a vote of 52-47, with 60 "yea" votes required, Republicans filibustered the Levin-Reed amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, thus keeping it from going to an up-or-down vote and effectively killing the measure. Republicans Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Susan Collins (R-ME) voted with the Democrats.

Lugar and Domenici knew well before the night of debate started that they would oppose any serious effort to change course in Iraq. And Voinovich who got all that great press a few days ago for telling CNN that Bush had screwed up the war?

Meanwhile, Voinovich -- another allegedly "wavering" Senator -- had this to say about Democratic efforts to vote on Reed-Levin: "You wonder if they are more interested in politics than dealing with the substance of this."

No, the politics on this one was all on the side of the WINOs, who are doing their best to strike the posture of being mavericks on Iraq, of breaking with an unpopular president and forcing him to change. They got a whole lot of free press out of the deal, with the media just eating up the idea of Republicans abandoning the president. Of course, the traditional media is pretty easy to fool. We'll probably continue to see stories highlighting the tough talk of the WINOs. Will we see stories about how they're action belie their "tough" talk, how they have obstructed any real change of policy in Iraq?

Seeing their intransigence in supporting their President, over supporting the Troops, can anyone really
believe that something so magical will happen by September to change their minds>  No, they'll just kick
that can a little farther down the road. 

But they have done one critical thing in their actions during this debate.

They have fully taken on the mantle of responsibility for the Iraq debacle.

It now belongs entirely to them.
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2007, 12:18:13 pm »

Reid Sets Aside Defense Authorization Bill
Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 09:24:51 AM PDT

After Republicans successfully blocked an up-or-down vote on the Reed/Levin Amendment that would have set a timetable for the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, Harry Reid announced that he will allow no more votes on the Defense Authorization Bill until Republicans stop filibustering votes on Iraq-related amendments.


Via TPM, Reid said:

I have temporarily laid aside the Defense Authorization bill and have entered a motion to reconsider.

But let me be clear to my Republican colleagues – I emphasize the word "temporarily". We will do everything in our power to change course in Iraq. We will do everything in our power to complete consideration of a Defense Authorization bill. We must do both.

And just to remind my Republican colleagues – even if this bill had passed yesterday, its provisions would not take effect until October.

So we will come back to this bill as soon as it is clear we can make real progress. To that end, I have asked the Democratic Whip and Democratic Manager of the bill to sit down with their counterparts to work on a process to address all outstanding issues related to this bill so the Senate can return to it as soon as possible.
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2007, 05:11:17 pm »

They really want to make this educational they should be in the trenches like Iraq and Afghanistan.  Have them go without showers for long periods of time, let them eat MREs 3 times a day, let them run the risk of getting shot.  Let them bond with soldiers and marines for a week then let them help out with the body bag duties.

Even the Republicans would see that Bush's Imperial Agenda isn't worth all this.

That is unless they all have Illuminati memberships and could care less.
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2007, 05:52:22 pm »


Please do me a favour and go read Chris Ffloyd's article in Conspiracies (posted by me)

Have you heard anything about this?,2225.msg21322.html#new
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2007, 07:48:32 am »


T W I L I G H T   Z O N E   F I L I B U S T E R

Published: July 19, 2007

The nation’s anguish over the Iraq war was kept on hold in the Senate yesterday as the Republican minority maintained serial threats of filibuster to buy time for President Bush’s aimless policies. Last week, the House debated and voted along party lines for a timetable for an American troop withdrawal by next spring. But a similar measure was allowed no such decisive expression in the Senate. Instead, the G.O.P. insisted on the approval of a “supermajority” of 60 of 100 senators before putting to a vote a measure that would apply real pressure on the president to shift his disastrous course in Iraq.

Republicans have the right to filibuster under centuries-old rules that this page has long defended. It is the height of hypocrisy for this band of Republicans to use that power since only about two years ago they were ready to unilaterally ban filibusters to push through some of Mr. Bush’s most ideologically blinkered judicial nominees.

But beyond that, the Republicans are doing the public a real disservice and playing an increasingly risky hand by delaying sober consideration of the war. The filibuster threat on Iraq also is part of a broader Republican tactic of demanding supermajorities on a raft of major issues in the hopes of paralyzing the Senate and then painting the Democrats as a do-nothing, marginal majority.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tested the opposition’s stated appetite for unhampered debate by staging an all-nighter Tuesday replete with cots and pizzas. A measure containing a withdrawal timetable failed to get the 60 votes it needed, but it did draw a 52-vote majority, including four Republicans, that amounted to more handwriting on the wall for Bush loyalists. A year ago, a nonbinding withdrawal measure drew 39 votes. The tide is shifting, even if the White House and its Republican backers won’t recognize it.

The minority leader, Mitch McConnell, notes the Democrats engaged in similar guerrilla tactics when they were in the minority. But Mr. McConnell should keep in mind that voters can tell the difference between principled resistance and political showmanship. The Democrats’ former minority leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota, lost his seat three years ago when he was roundly attacked by the opposition for running a partisan, obstructionist minority.

The Iraq war stands apart as a watershed issue — a downward spiral that the public increasingly sees as a colossal waste of the nation’s blood and treasure.

In postponing real action to September and beyond, Republicans laughed off the all-night debate as a “slumber party” of “twilight zone” theatrics by the Democrats. In fact, Bush loyalists seem trapped in the twilight zone, ducking their responsibility to represent constituents by applying credible pressure on the president to come up with an end to his sorry war.
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