Saturday, July 28, 2007

Liberal Democrats should support Murtha

Next week, the House of Representatives will vote on a new proposal from Rep. John Murtha that mandates redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq begin 60 days from enactment but without a deadline for completion. This is an effort to win over anti-surge Republicans who support a draw down of forces but disagree with a timetable. However, Out of Iraq caucus Democrats oppose the plan:
“We cannot go backward,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) a leader of the Out of Iraq caucus. “If we are to build on the slow, painful process we’ve been engaged in, we need a date certain for withdrawal.”

...Waters’s fellow leaders of the Out of Iraq caucus, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) backed her opposition, saying it represented a step backward.

“The House voted two weeks ago on a withdrawal measure with a clear timeline,” Lee said. “I don’t know why we would back away from that.”

Woolsey said that members who have voted for a “date-certain” withdrawal might be reluctant to vote for a measure that does not, for fear of being seen as backsliding by anti-war constituents.

“They’re counting on us to be bold,” Woolsey said, referring to voters. “I think they’d be disappointed.”
Well, I'm certainly one of those people and I support the measure. It is clear the legislation that passed that House can't pass through the Senate right now because of Republican obstructionism. Even if it could, President Bush would simply veto it and the Democrats obviously don't have anything near a two-thirds majority capable of overriding him.

If Democrats get united behind this and peel off more Republicans than before, we might get that majority at some point (and in the more immediate future, one that couldn't overcome Republican blocking tactics in the Senate). This would end the escalation and bring some troops home or put them in Afghanistan where we need them.

Furthermore, this is no way prevents a timetable from being passed at some later point when it's politically doable. I also think that attempts to end funding for the war would be more feasible and accepted once troops are actually being safely withdrawn.

In the meantime, if Republicans still can't get behind this it'll just further reveal how committed they are to Bush's war policy and indefinite occupation of Iraq.

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