Tuesday, May 15, 2007

BREAKING: Wyden to Cosponsor Feingold/Reid!

I admit it, I've been a real hectoring prick to the Wyden folks lately. Because they're my closest outlet to the machines of Congressional power, I have dumped on them--in public and private--on this war, and how imperative it is that Senator Wyden hear the word from his state and take a leadership role in ending it, ASAP. And when I get frustrated by the relative inaction of Congress, and see something about Joe Lieberman doing more traitorous bullshit like endorsing and campaigning for targeted Republican Senators, I bug him about his weak support for Ned Lamont, and his "hands-off" approach to beating Gordo.

So how can I not shout this to the heavens, in as breathless a fashion as humanly possible?
Calling for the redeployment of American forces in Iraq, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced his support today for the Feingold-Reid amendment, which would require the President to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by March 31, 2008.

“For more than four years, the Bush administration has been telling the American people that conditions in Iraq would change. They have, but for the worse. Today it is up to Congress to let the President and his administration know that using our nation’s heroic men and women in uniform to police a civil war is not acceptable.” Wyden said. “The Bush administration’s mishandling of the war has left Congress with no good choices. But the road to peace is found in diplomacy, not the continued escalation of violence.”

Wyden was one of the original twenty-three U.S. Senators to vote against the 2002 Iraq War Resolution. Since then, he has consistently and repeatedly voted to oppose the surge and bring U.S. troops home.

The Feingold-Reid amendment would immediately transition the mission of U.S. forces in Iraq to force protection, training Iraqi security forces and counterterrorism with a goal to safely redeploy troops not conducting these missions by March 31, 2008. The Feingold amendment enforces this timeline by prohibiting the funding of troops in Iraq not engaged in these three missions starting April 1, 2008.

Senator Wyden will also vote in favor of the Levin-Reid amendment, which will be considered in conjunction with the Feingold-Reid amendment. The Levin-Reid amendment would complete redeployment of American troops from Iraq within 180 days of October 1, 2007. The amendment permits the President to waive this redeployment timeline.
The Levin-Reid bill is kind of a weak sister compared to Feingold, given its lack of binding language. And it's still disappointing that the Senate appears ready to bury the Obey bill passed in the House, to start the funding pressure in July 2007, rather than April 2008. Finally, even Feingold leaves the potential for a strong US presence in Iraq beyond that timeline. So there is plenty more to do, and many more, stronger assertions of the Congressional powers will be necessary in the future.

That said, Feingold/Reid is another step forward from the previous Senate vote, and Wyden's cosponsorship is a welcome sign that he intends to stay ahead of the peloton rather than behind it. Now and then it seems like he's falling back, but right now he gets a big virtual pat on the back for helping to ramp up the pressure on Bush a little more.

So, uh, Gordo--you claim to be against this war, too. What's your vote going to be?