Friday, November 23, 2007

The troop withdrawal that wasn't

From an AssPress article:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democrats' flagship proposal on Iraq is aimed at bringing most troops home. Yet if enacted, the law would still allow for tens of thousands of U.S. troops to stay deployed for years to come.

This reality — readily acknowledged by Democrats who say it's still their best shot at curbing the nearly five-year war — has drawn the ire of anti-war groups and bolstered President Bush's prediction that the United States will most likely wind up maintaining a hefty long-term presence in Iraq, much like in South Korea.

For those who want troops out, "you've got more holes in here than Swiss cheese," said Tom Andrews, national director of the war protest group Win Without War and a former congressman from Maine.

The Democratic proposal would order troops to begin leaving Iraq within 30 days, a requirement Bush is already on track to meet as he begins reversing this year's 30,000 troop buildup. The proposal also sets a goal of ending combat by Dec. 15, 2008.

After that, troops remaining in Iraq would be restricted to three missions: counterterrorism, training Iraqi security forces and protecting U.S. assets, including diplomats.

This month, Senate Republicans blocked the measure, even though it was tied to $50 billion needed by the military, because they said it would impose an artificial timetable on a war that has been showing signs of progress.

Despite the GOP's fierce opposition and a White House veto threat, military officials and analysts say the proposal leaves open the door for a substantial force to remain behind. Estimates range from as few as a couple thousand troops to as many as 70,000 or more to accomplish those three missions.

[snip]


Meanwhile, military analysts caution against worrying too much about the particulars. The legislation has yet to pass Congress by a veto-proof majority. It also isn't binding; under the bill, Bush can ignore the 2008 deadline to end combat.
If you voted for Democrats in 2006 hoping that Congressional majorities would spark an end to the Iraq occupation, you were fooled. Iraq is going to be a US colony for some time to come.

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