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The only rational explanation I can come up with is that the whole supplemental is intended to send a message.
A message to the Shiite dominated Iraqi government to get the militia's under control and address the legitimate grieviences of the Sunni minorty.
A message to "anti-occupation" groups of what long term US intent is.
A message to the Sunni minority that if they really want a civil war they can have one.
Everyone agrees a portion of the Iraqi problem requires a "Political Solution"....I would quote John Warner(A right wing hawk if there ever was one) speaking to General Petraus..."Leave the Politics to Us".
I would note that the Sadr City Offensive...which had the potential to be the bloodiest battle of the war by orders of magnitude has gone exceedingly well.
The other explanation is that various members of Congress just vote whichever way the wind blows.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes an independent, unauthorized trip to Syria to make diplomatic overtures to Syrian President Bashar Assad, as reported by the Associated Press. Her trip immediately followed her visit to Israel earlier this week.
Her message to both countries: Grandma Speaker wants the kids to stop that bickering and just get along.
Obviously believing Foreign Policy to be well within the ken of the average Grandparent, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes nice with Dictator Assad in Syria. This is contrary to US Foreign Policy, as constitutionally conducted by the Executive Branch. Her go-it-alone diplomatic initiatives are, however, entirely in line with the desires of new Democratic Party majorities, who view the constrictions of the US Constitution as quaint, and ever malleable and adaptable to whatever they want at any moment.
The problem is, there are excellent reasons the founders invested powers and responsibilities for foreign policy with the Presidency. Not least among them, the United States must speak with a unified voice on matters of International Relations. When Speaker Pelosi starts doing her wise old Grandmother shtick with foreign dictators, elevating them to co-equal status with Democracies and allies such as Israel (or the US for that matter), she confounds and acts against US national interests, however wrong and misguided Grandma Pelosi believes them to be.
The President objects to Pelosi’s visit to Syria, and reminds us that the US remains estranged from normal relations with Syria based on Syria’s active support for terrorism:
Bush has said Pelosi's trip signals that the Assad government is part of the international mainstream when it is not. The United States says Syria allows Iraqi Sunni insurgents to operate from its territory, backs the Hezbollah and Hamas militant groups and is trying to destabilize the Lebanese government. Syria denies the allegations.As they also deny having had a role in assassinating Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Does Grandma Speaker and her Congressional allies consider these allegations and objections as mere “squabbles” amongst the grandkids? She certainly gives that impression, and thereby make matters more difficult as she coddles tyrants and confounds US national interests.
Syria reacts as one might expect, further underscoring the damage Grandma Pelosi has caused:
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem was quoted Wednesday as saying that Pelosi and other members of Congress were "welcome" in Syria.Yet in the very same AP report, the efforts of the Bush Administration are credited with successfully isolating the Syrian regime, although now undermined by overtures by European (and now US) officials:
"Better late than never," he told the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Anba in an interview. He said the visits were taking place because Americans and Europeans had realized that their policy of trying to isolate Syria had failed.
However, the Syrian ambassador to Washington, Imad Moustapha, was quoted as saying Syria was "wary of the sudden U.S. openness" and would respond cautiously.
"Syria will not hurriedly offer concessions when it refused to offer them under much greater pressure from the United States in the past," he said in an interview with the Al-Baath newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling party.
"Syria will take a step forward every time the Americans take one," he added.
Washington has since succeeded in largely isolating Damascus, with its European and Arab allies shunning Assad. The last high-ranking U.S. official to visit Syria was then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in January 2005.Note to the Democrats: the “will of the people” you so stridently trumpet before each of these petty little power plays refers to the latest Congressional elections, not Presidential. That means the “mandate” you claim can rightfully only apply to the powers of Congress. No election result can be construed to mandate powers or control beyond the constructs of the Constitution. During the Civil War, US citizens who behaved as Speaker Pelosi were greeted upon their return with a warrant for their arrest. Not such a bad idea, if you ask me.
The isolation, however, has begun to crumble in recent months, with visits by U.S. lawmakers and some European officials.
We have arrived at a point where acts of treason, disloyalty, acts of war, aiding and abetting the enemy at time of war, constructive complicity with war criminals, are all condoned, excused, or tolerated as politics as usual.
(Cross-posted over at Dadmanly.)All done!
CNN is reporting that Iranian President Ahmadinejad is meeting with the British hostages as they are being freed, after he "pardoned" them as "a goodwill gesture for the Iranian new year which began last week".
'Bout effin' time. Now we'll see if the Brits let their people tell the press what they wen't through during their captivity, or if part of the agreement to free them included a clause to not cause the Iranian regime any "undue embarrassment".
I am not sure what the purpose behind this really is... but I suspect it might be a little awkward when it comes to awards of the GWOT or GWOT-E.
Some Rep (D) would have to mention that a constituent was awarded the _________ Service Medal or ___________ Expeditionary Medal?
REID: AMERICA CANNOT AFFORD BUSH STRATEGY ANY LONGERGiven the $40 billion in pork projects the House and Senate have tacked on to this bill, I think the "afford" issue is the wrong attack.
Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, released the following statement today after comments made by President Bush at the White House:
The President today asked the American people to trust him as he continues to follow the same failed strategy that has drawn our troops further into an intractable civil war. The President's policies have failed and his escalation endangers our troops and hurts our national security. Neither our troops nor the American people can afford this strategy any longer.
Democrats will send President Bush a bill that gives our troops the resources they need and a strategy in Iraq worthy of their sacrifices. If the President vetoes this bill he will have delayed funding for troops and kept in place his strategy for failure.
Unless, of course, you are absolutely unconcerned about how the press will cover the story.
By the way, can anyone, pro- or con- the war, explain why spending an extra $100 billion then leaving is a good idea? (I'm really more interested in the anti-war response.)
Finally, here's how "the Pentagon" will respond if funds aren't made available in time. Because I already know there's no answer to my question above, I'll repeat here that the pork-laden bill to stop the surge and withdraw troops from Iraq is not the supplemental Iraq and Afghanistan funding bill that will ultimately (and hopefully soon) have to be debated in congress - it's a political ploy, and a dangerous one to be conducted in time of war.
Consider the sourcevia SanDiego Online
NEW YORK – Kim Gamel, a veteran correspondent and editor for The Associated Press, has been appointed to the new position of news editor in Baghdad......Before joining the AP, Gamel was a reporter for The Moscow Tribune in Russia
I'd note that Ms. Gamel was frequently quoted by various hard left rags while she was working for the Moscow Tribune.
Michael Ware has made this point repeatedly and emphatically during his 15 minutes of fame:
This has been done time and time again. U.S. generals and U.S. representatives have often been able to conduct such walks.
But Congressman Mike Pence says this:
We were the first group of American dignitaries ever to tour parts of Baghdad since the beginning of the war.Obviously one of these guys is right, and the other is living in an imaginary Neverland sort of Baghdad. I think Pence is correct this time - while other congressional trips have visited the green zone and Camp Victory* I'm not sure any have been "downtown".
Anyone have evidence to the contrary?
*Recently Hillary Clinton gave a news conference from there in which she declared the American people think the mission will fail, and more recently the Pelosi/Murtha duo shot through like shite through a goose to talk to the troops about "the intelligence that got us into the war."
Congessman Mike Pence, (D-In), was there:
John McCain is a national figure and a maverick. We have had our differences on issues but never on the object of this journey. John McCain, himself a former Navy airman and Vietnam P.O.W., is the third generation of his family’s extraordinary American military leaders. He has never wavered in his belief in the justice of our cause in Iraq. He was the first leader in Congress to call for a surge of U.S. forces in Iraq. He commands the respect of our generals on the ground and the Iraqi leaders who recognize him as a national leader in America. I think his personal story of heroism and his lineage also give him real currency in the Arab world. Sheikh Sattar greeted him in Ramadi with the words, “we know of you and know of your proud family of warriors and we respect you.” It was an extraordinary privilege for this small-town boy to travel with this national figure for his first visit to Iraq since the surge began. This would be a journey of firsts.(Via Instapundit)
A couple details Pence left out: Sheikh Sattar is the leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, I hope that name is familiar (but if not, read this, then this, this, this, this, this, this, and this...). And if McCain is a third generation GI, his son the Marine is a fourth.
But the spin I'm talking about isn't from Pence or McCain, it's from the folks who will make sure that Michael Ware is the only voice heard on this trip. Every minute of air time and every column inch of newsprint devoted to Ware decrying the accusations that he laughed at a press conference is a minute or an inch that could have reported on Iraq.
But given how those reports usually go, perhaps that's for the best. (Egregious example follows...)
Another excerpt from Congressman Pence:
We pulled up to a bustling marketplace whose card tables, tents and shops lined either side of this street now closed to all but foot traffic. This was the site in February of a horrendous car bomb that killed more than 100 innocent Iraqis but with the barriers up, the people are back.Here's what the media found newsworthy :
We exited the vehicles and, along with a squad of military security, we spent more than an hour mixing and mingling with the locals. While we were instructed to leave our bulletproof vests on, General Petraeus took off his helmet and urged us to leave our helmets in the vehicles. Senator McCain threw himself into the crowd like he was in New Hampshire. I followed as he bought a ball cap, and haggled over rugs with a few Iraqi merchants.
Before I left for Baghdad, my 12-year-old daughter asked me to buy her a souvenir and I had responded by reminding her gently that I was visiting Iraq and that wouldn’t be possible. As I stood on the street, I decided to come through after all. I bought my kids some rugs in Baghdad, Iraq. The merchant almost refused to take my money. He kept touching his heart and shaking his head no. His eyes, like so many others, radiated with affection and appreciation. He wanted to give me the rugs. I insisted that he accept my ten dollars and, happily, he relented.
And so it went, up and down the street, in between tents and tables, squeezing past pedestrians to inspect the offerings in one booth after another, we milled around this marketplace in downtown Baghdad for more than an hour. I told reporters afterward that it was just like any open-air market in Indiana in the summertime. I didn’t mean that Baghdad was as safe as the Bargersville Flea Market; I just meant that that was what it looked and felt like…lots of people, lots of booths and a friendly relaxed atmosphere. We were the first group of American dignitaries ever to tour parts of Baghdad since the beginning of the war. While the fact that we were able to do so was remarkable, the people impacted me the most.
When I am home in Indiana people who know I have been to Iraq often ask, “But do they appreciate what we’ve done?” That day, as we milled around this open-air market, I encountered nothing but warmth and friendship. Three little boys lined up just to shake my hand as I walked by, with their mother smiling nervously behind them. As we passed shop after shop, people waved, touched their hearts and expressed a greeting in Arabic and many just said “hello.”
We paid our respects at the site of the February bombing and I breathed a prayer for the names listed on bed sheets fluttering in the wind. The scars on the buildings went up six stories on both sides of the street. It must’ve been a horrific explosion and yet, thanks to the security provided by U.S. and Iraqi forces, the people came back to the market.
As we boarded our vehicles, I hoped for the day I might come back without a security detail, the day ordinary Americans could come to visit this fair city and receive the warmth and gratitude we experienced. As I dwelled on that thought, I noticed a young man standing by the curb wearing a baseball cap with the Indiana Pacers logo on it. I smiled to myself and felt hope for the first time in a long time and, with all my heart, I think many of the Iraqis I met are feeling hope as well.
McCain Visit Angers Some IraqisAngered "some", and one called it propaganda and was not impressed. That. my friends, is headline worthy in America.
(CBS/AP) Iraqis in the capital said Tuesday that Sen. John McCain's account of a heavily guarded visit to a central market did not represent the current reality in Baghdad, with one calling it "propaganda."
Jaafar Moussa Thamir, a 42-year-old who sells electrical appliances at the Shorja market that the Republican congressmen visited on Sunday, said the delegation greeted some fellow vendors with Arabic phrases but he was not impressed.
As for Pence's report, read the whole thing - it's an overused expression, but do it.All done!