House Anti-Surge Resolution Comes to the Fore

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As you probably know, the Senate’s resolution expressing disapproval of President Bush’s troop increase met an ignominious end. After much brou-ha-ha over Sens. Levin, Hagel, and Biden’s version being reconciled with Sen. Warner’s version, and grand talk about how this resolution would set up the first serious confrontation between the newly Democratic Congress and the Bush Administration…. the whole thing fizzled in a spat of in-fighting and parliamentary maneuvers.

The House, however, because it has a larger majority for the Dems and a less rigid party-line voting tendency, has more hope. A very simple and straightforward anti-surge resolution is to be introduced tomorrow, and it will be debated for three to four days; each member of the House will be given five minutes to speak. Here is the resolution, in full:

Disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That—

(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and

(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

There are some interesting tidbits in the LA Times article about the resolution. First of all, 30 to 60 Republicans are expected to join the Democrats in voting in favor, which is an astonishing number and will result in a lopsided vote total possibly in the range of 290-145, or 2-to-1 in favor.

Second, this:

The resolution will have at least one GOP co-sponsor, North Carolina Rep. Walter B. Jones, a conservative who publicly broke with his party over the war in 2005.

Mother Jones wrote a cover story on Walter Jones’ long road from being the “freedom fries” guy to being a leader war critic. Read that here.

I respect but disagree with this argument being put forward by several members of the GOP:

Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) said, “I call it the status quo resolution. It basically says ‘Don’t do something’ without saying what we should do.”

A lack of an alternative is not a reason to vote against the resolution. There is value in telling President Bush that the American people no longer support moving forward — escalating — and that any other option is on the table, if he’d please, but this one isn’t. Basically, it’s a way of saying, “You’ve had your chance. Enough.”

To be frank, making that statement is good enough for me. The administration has not listened to war critics or the Democrats in six years; what makes anyone think that if the resolution had a coherent alternative written into it, the Bushies would even care?

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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