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May 23, 2007

Is the supplemental debate for naught?
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

Before tempers flare about the Democrats backing down from deadlines in the war supplemental (a story with dubious origins btw) the following makes one pause:

OMB Watch has just put out a report on a little-known law -the Feed and Forage Act- that seems to give the President broad powers to fund war efforts- even without an enacted appropriations bill.

So even if the negotiations over the war funding supplemental drag on, the President could meet the needs of the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read it here.


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Apparently we were wrong: elections don't have consequences.

Months of posturing and now abject surrender with 70% of the public on our side. (The very least the Dems could do is make Iraq funding part of the normal defense budget.)

Our leaders should take back all the nasty things they said about Rumsfeld. As a strategist, he's no worse than they are.

There is an alternative to caving, and it's still possible. That is to include one final benchmark in this bill: an Iraqi referendum on the continued occupation of their country. With 71 percent of Iraqis wanting U.S. troops out in a year or less, this would be sure to pass. Adding this benchmark would be the functional equivalent of a withdrawal timeline. It would likely lead to the withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2008, if not earlier. I have written an extensive four-part diary exploring all facets of this idea which I've posted on MyDD, under the name "A New Way Out of Iraq."
In brief, my proposal is for the Congress to add the following section to pending legislation: The Iraqi government is strongly urged to hold a referendum within four months after this legislation is signed on whether and for how long the occupation of Iraq should continue. The U.S. government would be required to support and facilitate the holding of such an election, and if the Iraqi government asks us to leave, to do so, according to their timetable and their requirements.
The basic concept behind the referendum was supported by 67 percent of Republicans in a little-noticed November 2006 poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA).
The poll asked "if the majority of the Iraqi people say they want the United States to commit to withdraw U.S. forces according to a timeline of no more than a year, do you think the U.S. should or should not do so?" 67 percent of Republicans said the United States should do so (close to the overall support of 73 percent). That's a shift from two-thirds support for the president's position to two-thirds support for a one-year withdrawal from Iraq!
And because it does not tie the president's or the military's hands in conducting the war, it would be hard for the president to veto, to reject legislation that encourages Iraqis to exercise their democratic rights when the Bush administration has supported democratizing the Middle East and justified the U.S. presence in Iraq on that basis. Even if such legislation is vetoed and the veto upheld, however, its passage by Congress might well encourage the Iraqis to hold such a vote on their own initiative. After all, last week, the majority of the Iraqi parliament, 144 out of 275 members, signed a petition calling for a withdrawal timeline.

Very cool, please post more informations like this in the future.

Peter from Germany :-)

So, if I understand the upshot of this law correctly, there is no reason for Democrats not to stick to their guns on deadlines and timetables, because even if that means that the debate drags on for some time and no supplemental gets passed, the President can still fund the war and our soldiers will not be in jeopardy. So the charge that by taking a hard line on the side of the public and against the White House the Democrats are putting our troops in jeopardy is just so much BS.

It looks like i know have even more reason to be furious at the Democrats for caving.

The Democrats should never retreat and never surrender on the withdrawal deadlines. The public is behind them, and more importantly, it is the right thing to do. There is nothing we can reasonably accomplish by staying in Iraq.

Incidentally, that feed and forage act may be from the civil war era, but it must have been substantially revised in some more recent epoch, because it refers to the secretaries of defense and transportation, two offices that did not exist until 1949 and then sometime in the 70s, I think, for transportation.

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