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July 14, 2007


Thanks DemFromCT, the "teeth," I would propose is the Powell Doctrine.

FYI, here's a summary of the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force:

The questions posed by the Powell Doctrine, which should be answered affirmatively before military action, are:

1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
7. Is the action supported by the American people?
8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

I think Democrats have to start using the language of the military to fight the battle to get us out of Iraq: "Based on current US deployments to Iraq, what are the troop to task ratios and the force protection requirements?"

It's the Commander in Chief's responsibility to answer that and if the Democrats don't hold his sorry ass responsible, it's on them.

Bush cannot answer any of those questions, because it's not a "war." It's an occupation. Since no one can "win" an occupation, it would be helpful if the Democrats quit letting Bush get away with calling it a "war." Dusting off Sara's terrific post about the HUNT Report on US occupation is another very good way to go.

Finally, if the Democrats allow Bush benchmarks limited to Iraq, I will be even more pissed off than I already am. Iraq is a failed nation state and thanks to Bush and the neocons will continue that way for quite some time. The only thing left to preserve is regional stability. Democrats have to hold Bush responsible for all the damage he has done to the entire region. It would be nice if they would also mention that the Green Zone in downtown Baghdad is completely indefensible. If the Democrats would mention that the longer they wait to pull out the more they risk having our troops have to fight their way out, it would really help. Finally Democrats failure to mention the cost of the war, @$270,00,00/day in every sound byte is a serious mistake.

The real nightmare scenario is the closing of the Straits of Hormuz and 25% of the world's oil. That triggers an immediate world-wide depression, until the straits are reopened. The Straits are a very shallow two-mile wide channel.

One of the problems may be that Congress can't tell us from the wingnuts. We're just being filtered out of their system, because we're not using the right words to get through their 'wingnut' mail and phone filters.

I don't know what the 'right' words are. I'm about ready to write to my congresscritters and tell them that they are so far down the wrong track that I, a member of their party, a solid part of their voting base, am ready to look for a new political home, because I don't know what they're thinking and doing, and they seem to be unable to explain it to us.

Like that amendment that JoeL rammed through the other day: no word on why there was so much rush, no explanation of why it was so nearly unanimous, no copy of the thing available to read: WTF was going on?

Can you give us an update of how Joe's being treated by the press in CT? I saw his pic -- standing with Trent Lott, Kay Baily Hutchinson & Graham -- accompanying a story about the "stalemate" in Congress over troop redeployment. [WaPo]

Is CT like the rest of the country in being "ahead of the politicians," and if so, is Holy Joe seeing some protestors at his home town visits?

One thing I'm really fearing is that the Repubs, after blocking all Dem proposals, will throw something up re "redeployment" that the hapless Dems will vote for [how could they vote against it], and then the Repubs will get "credit" for this change in policy.

Crap, we can't even get the MSM to accurately describe the Repubs' filibustering. Instead, it's portrayed as "Dems fail to pass . . ." rather than "Republicans again block . . ."

There's not much to report, Maulmom. In CT Lieberman is the unwelcome guest who won't go away. In general, he's ignored. His D supporters are too embarrassed to talk about him. Only conservatives and the GOP cite him for bipartisanship, but it does no good because he's not a Democrat (and that was the point of booting him in the primary).

His favorite GOPers are McCain and Rudy, which gives you an idea of where his judgment is at.

Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman is praising Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Rudy Giuliani for not blindly following their political base on issues such as immigration ands abortion.

Lieberman, a former Democrat from Connecticut, said Sunday he is not ready to endorse a Republican for the 2008 race. But he made clear his disappointment with the Democratic candidates because of their positions against the war in Iraq.

I don't know what the 'right' words are.

"Change strategy" is the right term. Even the GOP agrees with that. Timeline is wrong now and right in September. So ask them how they can change strategy.

here's the LA Times summing it up:

Most Republicans — even those critical of the troop buildup — seem willing to refrain from voting for a change in course until the administration delivers a more detailed report on Bush's "new way forward" strategy on Sept. 15.

Without GOP support, Democrats in the Senate cannot pass such a measure.

Bush may be forced to plan for change, however.


1. Dems are limited as to what they can do.
2. Bush must be forced

Given that, and the number of votes (60 or 67) needed in the Senate, what do you want your congress critters to do?

Progress imvho would be at least getting our troops out of Baghdad, other urban areas, and out of day to day "occupation" responsibilities, check points ....

From then afaik, it's Saudi money supporting the Sunni Iraqi's who control the water; versus the Iranian supported Shia who control the southern oil fields; versus US supported Kurds who control the northern oil fields until the Turks (supported by everyone else) decide to invade. Tensions in Lebanon, Jordan, Sryia, Palestine, and the rest of the region were a further layer of incendiary passions BEFORE refugees began pouring out of Iraq.

Democrats need to ask Bush why our tax dollars should every day make China, Iran and Russia more dominant in the region? That's the net net imvho of Bush's vanity war.

So now even Maliki says we can leave Iraq any time we want to. I say we take him up on it.

Why won't Harry Reid just let debate continue and stop calling cloture votes that are bound to fail? The only real weapon the Dems have is that they are the ones who have to bring the budget up for a vote and then pass the budget. No budget, no money. Tell Cheney to impound sand. What's wrong with that atrategy?

Sorry, forgot the link.

funny that Mr Voinovich could misidentify the problem so well

too bad America already KNOWS BETTER

the problem with this congress is the same problem we had with the last congress

the repuglicans are a bunch of hypocritical obstructionist whiny assed titty babies who couldn't organize a two car parade

voinovich and the repuglicans are still trying to find a way to avoid the wrath of America's voters while killing 3 soldiers a day

too bad for voinovich

the three soldiers dying every day are the reason for the wrath

we MIGHT forget why we're mad, but you bet we ain't gonna forget who we're mad at (not with the doofus presnit to remind us every day)

the repuglicans got a choice; face the voters in November of 2008 with george bush as presnit, or don't

either path leads to certain suicide

Karma is a bitch, and she knows where repuglicans live ...

can we organize a day where everybody in America "plays the world's smallest Violin" in sympathy for the repuglicans ???

What's the baseline reason for the press' continuing mischaracterization of the divide -- i.e., saying each party is playing to its base, as if they're equal-sized and equally unrepresentative groups -- when it's clear the Dem position is the one held by the country's overwhelming majority?

I know some just believe they're corrupt corporate lackeys, but I'm not ready to go that cynical (yet). I guess it could be the deeply-ingrained Broderian tendency to want to find some middle ground between the parties and declare it "wisdom". And some of it is a wildly dated association of any anti-war stance with McGovernism and a 49-state loss (though I bet even a McGovern, in today's context, would carry just about all the Kerry states).

Whatever it is, it's, miserably, helping prolong the war, but it may have the unintended (and, for us, salutary) effect of destroying the GOP for near term. Democrats have been throwing GOPers a lifeline for months now, but, convinced by press reports that there'll be some later, less painful method of getting the situation resolved (and the political burden removed), Congressional Republicans have continued to vote "with the president", assuring that they're 100% aligned with Mr. 26% in the public mind.

I think Dem is right, that 2008 could make '06 look pleasant for the GOP (I love the "on steriods" line). Initially, I thought we'd have to struggle for, say, the Sununu seat, but now it looks like we'll have to blunder hopelessly to blow it. Warner might well see retirement as the less embarrasssing option, opening the seat easily for another Warner, and I'm not sure Domenici won't choose the same route in the end. It's starting to look like 3-4 seats could go as effortlessly as Santorum/DeWine's did, enabling Dems to expand the field to not only the mid-range contests (MN, OR, ME), but also the longer shots Mimikatz mentioned yesterday -- KY, TX, OK.

And the beauty part is, Republicans are doing this all to themselves.

I wrote something similar a couple of days ago:


Apparently, the Skelton bill has been evoking a lot of this kind of thinking. I think the Republicans in Congress will eventually come around. They clearly can tell that their base of support is eroding thanks to their obstructionism:


Whether it's soon enough to do any good is the only question.

We overlook the importance of nationalism, the good feeling derived from saying "I am an American". John Kerry tried to wrap himself in the flag a la Bush. When attacked by Swiftboaters, he said nothing. He finally responded with neither passion nor outrage. How dare the AWOL National Guard pilot and the much deferred Cheney question Kerry's courage or patriotism. Kerry then disavowed throwing his medals away as youthful indescretion. It is about time Vietnam is recognized as a waste of blood and treasure, but Democrats see the nation as incapable of accepting that truth. They do not mention Iraq and Vietnam in the same breath.

Who will stand to say "The emperor has no clothes"; that George Bush's prediction the surge will succeed is rubbish. To call George Bush a clueless asshole is not only bad form and disrespectful, it means the system doesn't work. By definition clueless assholes do not end up president. The huge majority of Americans want to believe the system works. They may punish at the ballot box anyone with the temerity to say otherwise. It seems strange people can be that delusional, but when you consider those who oppose abortion to the exclusion of everything else including their economic interest, you get an idea of the power of a hot button issue. Ending the war is not a hot button issue because the downside is too dark. It means peering into the abyss. Not many have the stomach for that.

I actually think the people do know. And they just want it to be over. But they don't know how to make that happen. if some leader showed them the way, I bet they'd take it and be less passive.


a prediction for the end of Democracy was made in Greece much before Christ. It would occur when the ~common man~ realized that he had control of the keys of the treasury.

This has happened in our country.

The second thing is because of our election system which is mainly based on TV advertising which all our politicians regard as the life blood of their campaigns, well off groups, or larger groups that can pool their resources have dominated the selection of candidates.

And finally DemFromCT as one of my bosses likes to say (privately) "we have the best politics that money can buy."

The American people have allowed this to happen. The politicians have only played the game by the rules that have been laid out to them.

An aside to you DemFromCT, my father who doesn't say much about politics except to speak of personal events with his high friends in Government says that John McCain could well become the next Winston Churchill if there is another big bombing or several small bombings/etc. in America before the election.

Like Churchill, McCain will have been the lone voice crying in the wilderness about Terrorism among the candidates except for Rudy perhaps. In that case, Joe from CT could become a very big, big person in Government.

If and I hope it is so, nothing happens between now and the election, John McCain will pass quietly into history as a footnote, otherwise the Democrats and the Liberals will be caught flatfooted, and looking the wrong way, while McCain and company drive right by them to the basket.

In comments DemFromCT writes:


1. Dems are limited as to what they can do.
2. Bush must be forced

Given that, and the number of votes (60 or 67) needed in the Senate, what do you want your congress critters to do?

Snap out of it man! You ask "what do you want your congress critters to do?" It is rather obvious what we want them to do. You say 60 or 67 votes in the Senate are needed? That's great for our side. Let me explain. In order for a funding bill to leave the Congress and head for the President's desk two things have to happen. One, a majority of the House must vote for it. Two, a majority of the Senate must vote for it.

In the Senate forty-one Senators can prevent taking an up or down vote on a funding bill by supporting a filibuster. Here's what everybody is missing.

The President does not get his occupation funding by default if the anti-occupation supporters fail to pass their legislation. The President does not get his occupation funding by default if the anti-occupation supporters fail to override his veto. Rather, it is the President and the ongoing American occupation of Iraq, itself, that does not get funding unless the President and his allies in Congress can; cobble together majority support in the House for ongoing funding, defeat a filibuster in the Senate, and gain majority support there for ongoing funding. No bill from Congress, no further funding for the occupation.

The fact is that a majority of the House or forty-one Senators can block any funding for the occupation. I've heard David Obey whine that the Congress has to provide funds for the occupation so that the wounded at The Walter Reed National Army Medical Center can receive care.

Not true. Congress can pass a bill that specifically funds medical care for for our troops who are wounded in Iraq without providing any funds for operations there. Sure, if congressional Republicans or the President want to oppose a stand alone appropriation for the wounded they can do that. In the same way, combat pay appropriations for deployed troops and other line items from a proposed Iraq occupation funding bill can be taken out and passed in stand alone bills.

The real issue is that Democrats are unwilling to use their power to withhold funding because they think it will be a loser with the American people. If the public will turn on the Democrats for denying the funding the President wants then the public really does not support ending the occupation.

The Democrats should push a bill that funds a total American troop withdrawal from Iraq and prohibits any diversion of those funds to ongoing operations there. Congressional Republicans and the President can take it or leave it but they should be put on notice by the Speaker and/or someone speaking for forty-one or more Senators that there will be no other Iraq funding bill coming out of Congress.

Is what you're really saying is that when push comes to shove the anti-occupation coalition in the House is not in the majority and that anti-occupation coalition in the Senate can not manage to hold onto a muster of forty-one for their position?

In the meantime let's cut out repeating the urban legend that the President gets his funding unless 60 or 67 Senators oppose him.

So Dem, the newspapers in CT aren't leaning on Holy Joe? Not even any local ones?

Is everyone just behaving like they have a bad hangover: hold one's head in one's hands and in due time, the pain will go away. Six years -- that's a LONG hangover.

I was just hoping there'd be SOMEONE to make his life miserable. If not newspapers, then maybe a reappearance of the Kiss Float, hand-made signs outside his speaking engagements, whatever. Just enough to make life uncomfortable for him -- only a fraction of how uncomfortable it is for those in iraq.

Man, I am rolling on the floor laughing over this a la Jodi:

my father who doesn't say much about politics except to speak of personal events with his high friends in Government says that John McCain could well become the next Winston Churchill

Lieberman and McCain seem to have fooled Jodi's dad into thinking only they care about terrorism. They have the wrong simplistic solutions (stay the course in Iraq, bomb Iran) and are not likely to be more than footnotes in history other than as spectacular flameouts. Terrorist attacks hurt Bush politically and do not help other Republicans. They just remind people that the GOP blew the opportunity in Tora Bora; there are no do-overs.

Most people don't care about politics. They pay attention every two (or four) years out of a sense of civic duty. Meanwhile for Joe and for George, most people just hold their breath and wish they would go away.

CMike funding is also a fall thing. Until there's another appropriations bill, there's no action possible on your suggestion.

Don't get your math. You need 51 senators to defeat an appropriation, but the senate is irrelevant. If a revenue bill doesn't pass the house, the senate has nothing to act on.

You touch on a flaw in representative democracy. We assume, as I do, the 2006 election meant a majority of Americans want out of Iraq, but voting for individuals is not the same thing as voting on issues.

You then say the Dems are afraid to withhold funding because it might lose them the election which goes back to the intrinsic ambiguity of representative democracy as it is practiced. They get elected and don't know what that means.

Vietnam presents an identical analogy. Not only was the operation based on falsehoods, it took ten years to run its course. The same feelings were operative-fear of eliminating funding and undermining the troops. Took ten years for the country to change its mind. We need a leader strong enough to tell the American people the truth. None of the current crop fills that bill.

Dem from Ct. I'm one too. Haven't heard of Lieberman coming home since the election. If you hear anything let me know. I'll make a sign and meet you there.


get the movie. The Gathering Storm 2002 TV biographical Film, BBC-HBO. It shows Churchill as a marginalized politican, out of touch with mainstream thinking in Britain, ranting about the German menace.

No one paid attention. They laughed at him.

In time that all changed.

Churchill didn't change. The world changed and then he became the First Lord of the Admirality, and finally Prime Minister.

John McCain is in that position now. Losing, losing, losing. But he is in a very good position to become the next Winston Churchill in 2008 if things go bad as they did in 1937 to 1939.

Do you think that as Iraq winds down one way or another in the next year and a half that those nasty folks will just stay over there killing each other and ignore America. Do you think they will just pick on Spain, and Britain, and kill people in Indonesia?

I could paint another scenario but I won't because it is too dreadful to think of.

Jodi, what Al Queda does is independent of what we do. They will always hate us. But helping them recruit (which is what Iraq is, with no other benefit in the fight against extremism) is just stupid. Shi'a Iraqis do not support Sunni Al Queda, unless we give them a powerful reason to.

I have a simple rule I try to follow [although I broke it above by confessing my laughter]:

Do. Not. Feed. The. Trolls.

I have a simple rule I try to follow [although I broke it above by confessing my laughter]:

Do. Not. Feed. The. Trolls.


keep repeating that, maybe it will be true.

Unfortunately the debacle in Iraq has been created, and does exist right now.

The Liberals and Democrats will blame it on the Republicans and Consdervatives from top to bottom in every position in Governement.

As a Conservative, I can say I blame it on a group of men who called themselves Republican and Conservative, but who ran amok during a period of unbridled pride and arrogance.

Now it is convenient and very heart warming for the Democrats and Liberals to consider that this terrible episode the last 4 years will remain in the memories of the American people for 2 decades or so.

However if you remember the Republicans thought their last regime stariting in 2000 would last a long time also.

Nothing changes people's minds like loss of life, and fear.

So I will say, if there are no bombs or attacks in America in the next year, the Democrats are probably in control of the White House and Congress for at least 4 years.

If on the other hand, there are bombs and attacks in America, those Democratic Candidates will look very "amby pamby" as mom says.

Hold your breath and see what happens. That is what I am doing.

Wow, peace breaking out all over! You think?

Ed Kunin writes:

Don't get your math. You need 51 senators to defeat an appropriation, but the senate is irrelevant. If a revenue(sic) bill doesn't pass the house, the senate has nothing to act on.

Here's what the BBC reported at the end of May:

US President George W Bush has signed a bill allocating $100bn (£50bn) of new funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan until the end of September.

The president's approval came hours after the House of Representatives and Senate voted in favour of the bill.

The bill is a compromise measure between Republicans and Democrats, after the Democrats dropped demands for a timetable for a US troop withdrawal...

The Senate voted to send the legislation to the president by 80 votes to 14, after the House gave its approval by a margin of 280 to 142.

So the House caved in this matter just two months ago and it should come as no surprise if our Representatives were follow suit in September. Likewise, a Senate majority may support funding without time lines again. So let me explain my math. If the House were to pass a funding bill without a time table for withdrawal and a majority of the Senate were poised to pass a similar bill, forty-one Senators could prevent its passage by maintaining a filibuster.

I think we Democrats forget that our side can use the filibuster too. It is the president and the Republicans who are up against the clock to get an appropriations bill passed and it is they who can be bent to the will of an intransigent minority that votes against cloture.

As to your second point, from the time the country turned against the Vietnam War in 1968 to the end of our involvement there was a steady reduction of our troops and our expenditures there. Even as President Nixon expanded the American theater of operations to include Cambodia and undertook new bombing in North Vietnam, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird oversaw the steady reduction of our troop levels and expenditures.

We currently have a situation wherein, subsequent to the public turning against our involvement in the conflict, the President has ordered an increase in the size of our troop deployment and our rate of expenditure - and the Congress has supported that escalation with an appropriation.

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