Today, the editors at the Washington Post slammed the measure before the House of Representatives that would mandate a timetable for withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq. When you remove their criticism of the $20 billion in pork spending from their editorial entitled “Retreat and Butter: Are Democrats in the House voting for farm subsidies or withdrawal from Iraq?” here is what the editors said:
TODAY THE House of Representatives … will be voting to require that all U.S. combat troops leave Iraq by August 2008, regardless of what happens during the next 17 months or whether U.S. commanders believe a pullout at that moment protects or endangers U.S. national security, not to mention the thousands of American trainers and Special Forces troops who would remain behind.
The Democrats claim to have a mandate from voters to reverse the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq… The legislation… could shape the future of the Middle East for decades.
Congress can and should play a major role in determining how and when the war ends. Political benchmarks for the Iraqi government are important, provided they are not unrealistic or inflexible. Even dates for troop withdrawals might be helpful, if they are cast as goals rather than requirements — and if the timing derives from the needs of Iraq, not the U.S. election cycle. The Senate’s version of the supplemental spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan contains nonbinding benchmarks and a withdrawal date that is a goal; that approach is more likely to win broad support and avoid a White House veto.
As it is, House Democrats are pressing a bill that has the endorsement of MoveOn.org but excludes the judgment of the U.S. commanders who would have to execute the retreat the bill mandates… while provoking a constitutional fight with the White House that could block the funding to equip troops in the field. Democrats who want to force a withdrawal should vote against war appropriations. They should not seek… an unconditional retreat that the majority does not support.
In other words, the Washington Post does not think Congress should mandate that we “PULL… OUT… NOW” from Iraq. And they think withdrawal should be based upon the best estimate of those leading the fight on the ground and what is best for the Iraqi people. Medea Benjamin will be disappointed.
It will be interesting to see how Congressman John Murtha votes seeing how he so often claims to defer to the opinions of the military commanders in the field.