Posted: 06/18/07 13:07
by Dave Mindeman
Amy Klobuchar, on MPR this morning, stated that the so-called "September" deadline on Iraq progress is her deadline, too. But what does a "deadline" mean? Deadline for what exactly? Pulling out all the troops? Pulling out most of the troops? A deadline for Iraqi government benchmarks? Deadline for "progress"? What?
The main problem as Klobuchar stated, is that the Senate really has only 49 Democrat votes that can be mustered against the war. Senator Tim Johnson may be back in the fall and he will make it 50....but the total needed to get anything done is the cloture total of 60.
That means Republicans hold the final cards. If the war continues, the Republicans will make it so. If the war is to end, then the Republican minority will have to say...enough.
The expectations game for the September report is already being lowered considerably. General Petraus wants a longer term outlook. Tony Snow has been talking about incremental progress rather than any improved outlook.
But it was the President who set the original expectations. He pushed the "surge" as an answer that would lead to a real solution. He even predicted a summer of increased violence in anticipation of good news in September. Well, we got the increased violence but good news is now being redefined.
The idea, from the beginning, was to give the Iraqi government a chance to meet their legislative goals with a calmer Baghdad to work in. But the government cannot act. There are too many fractured groups. Al-Maliki and the legislative body do not speak with the same voice....and the excuses grow tiresome.
So, come September...where will Norm Coleman be? What will Jim Ramstad be thinking? Will progress end up being more of the same or will progress be defined as bringing troops home?
Political courage is a rare commodity.....but both countries need it desperately.