Monday, April 09, 2007

Feingold-Reid To Be Introduced As Troop Deaths Mount

If everything happens as scheduled, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) will step to the microphone in the Senate chamber this week and introduce a bill he put together with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that calls for a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq to begin in 120 days and all funding for the Iraq quagmire to end on March 31, 2008. The measure is in response to the presidential veto that Democrats expect on the supplemental war-funding bill, that contains similar troop-withdrawal language.

And we see reminders every day of why it's so important for Democrats to exercise true leadership to remove our military men and women from the middle of an Iraqi civil war, where their chief function appears to be walking around with targets on their backs.

The U.S. military has announced that over the last 48 hours, 10 more American troops died in Iraq, bringing that grim total close to the 3,300 mark.

At least 47 Iraqis were killed or found dead in violence Sunday, including 17 execution victims dumped in Baghdad -- how's that for "safe," Senator McCain? -- and about 52 people were wounded over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) made remarks yesterday on ABC's This Week that can only lead us to conclude that he will oppose Feingold-Reid.

"We're not going to vote to cut funding, period," Levin said. "But what we should do, and we're going to do, is continue to press this president to put some pressure on the Iraqi leaders to reach a political settlement."

It's an odd stance for Levin to take given that the "power of the purse" is the only method by which Congress can force George W. Bush to change his disastrous course in Iraq, which means that Levin is conceding that Bush can stay in Iraq as long as he likes. Levin, the Senate Armed Service Committee chairman, says he believes that pushing for strict benchmarks with the Iraqi government is the way to go, despite the fact that U.S. troops are being slaughtered every day in a war about nothing, while "benchmarks" are not met.

While the Senate is scheduled to begin debate on stem-cell legislation this week, Feingold and Reid can be expected to formally propose their bill on Tuesday or Wednesday.