While the dates for withdrawal are not as soon as many would like to see, I believe that even the most vocal members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the sub-set of the Out of Iraq Caucus would agree that, with the numbers as they remain in Congress, the dates laid out in the two bills (yet to be reconciled in committee) are the best that could have been approved – and certainly better than no withdrawal language at all. Yet, even with these less than preferred dates, the work to make this language real is far from over. The separate bills must now come together in a conference committee to be molded into one bill that will then have to pass both chambers before it will make its way to the desk of George W. Bush. In the meantime, the mainstream media is giving Bush and the Republicans a free pass with their frame that the Democrats are attempting to withhold funds from the troops when, in fact, every penny that has been requested (and more) can be found in both bills and are certain to be in the final bill. On what do the Republicans base their claim? Because George W. Bush has threatened to VETO any bill that calls for the troop withdrawal desired by a growing majority of the American people even though it FULLY FUNDS the troops on the ground. Who is attempting to withhold funds from the troops?
In January, many of us decried the “weak-kneed” Democratic majority that was only putting forward non-binding resolutions that they could not get passed in either chamber. I submit that they heard us. Now we must speak up even louder in praise of the actions of this new Democratic majority. Those of us who are demanding an end to the occupation of Iraq must come together to write letters to the editors; write op-ed pieces, call in to the various talk shows, and engage in any manner that might reach the American public and let them know that it is, indeed, Bush and the Republicans who are threatening the funds for the troops by plainly disregarding the will of the American people. Do not allow the media to advance the frame that the Democrats are “cutting the funds.” The Democrats are FULLY FUNDING the troops. Just as importantly we must flood the Congress with words of support for these bills so that they know “we have their backs”. We cannot afford any loss of support from Democrats who are willing to cave in to the pressure from Bush and the Republicans. And we need to show the Republicans that we will swallow the bitter pill of funding if that is what it takes to bring our troops home.
Time is short and the action is urgent! Nothing I have read gives the Democrats any credit for the funds contained in the bills. The public must know that it is the Democrats who have passed a funding bill and the Republicans and George W. Bush who are threatening to withhold these funds.
Chad (The Left) Shue