GOP/Dem coalition of Senators to offer legislation to keep US troops in Iraq indefinitely

A bipartisan group of Senators has prepared legislation that they want to offer in the next few weeks that would keep US troops in Iraq indefinitely. What’s worse, they’re claiming that the legislation implements the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, when in fact, the legislation codifies George Bush’s current failed policies in Iraq.

The misnamed “Iraq Study Group (ISG) Recommendations Implementation Act of 2007,” is being offered by Senators Ken Salazar (D-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Bennett (R-UT), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Robert Casey (D-PA), John Sununu (R-NH) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). Probably the most offensive thing about the legislation is that it outright calls for the continuation of the status quo policy of keeping US troops in Iraq until the day that Iraq is 100% ready to stand on its own – namely, never. Specifically, the legislation buries a little nugget on page 18 of the bill. In a section entitled “Sense of Congress on Redeployment of United States Forces from Iraq,” the legislation spells out the following preconditions to withdrawing US troops:

1. A massive list of suggested policies need to first be accomplished before the US withdraws. These include transferring the Iraqi National Police to the Ministry of Defense, reorganizing the Iraqi security forces, upgrading Iraq’s police communications equipment, establishing courts, training judges, prosecutors and investigators, drafting oil legislation, implementing metering at the oil pipelines, reorganizing the entire Iraqi oil industry, and more. But that’s not all that has to happen before our troops are permitted to withdraw from Iraq. Oh no. Read on.

2. Additional Iraqi brigades need to deployed. Meaning, the exact same policy we have now under George Bush. No withdraw until the Iraqi security forces are up to par. And our military people on the ground in Iraq say this could take 40 to 50 years, if ever.

3. The eventual withdrawal of US forces is “subject to unexpected development in the security situation on the ground.” Meaning, if things don’t get better, we don’t leave. That’s the current policy. And things aren’t getting better.

The legislation then says that if ALL of those things I listed above are met, THEN we can possibly consider to maybe redeploy some of the troops next spring, 2008.

Are they kidding?

Oh but that’s not all. The legislation also says that the Iraq Study Group never ever said that we should actually withdraw from Iraq by next year. And put aside the fact that the entire legislation is written as a “sense of the Congress” – meaning, it has the same legal weight as National Ice Cream Day.

You are witnessing a congressional covering-their-asses of the highest order. They’re offering legislation that they claim will get us out of Iraq, that they claim will change the course in Iraq, when in reality the legislation not only reiterates George Bush’s current plan for Iraq, but the legislation specifically says that we should not leave Iraq until the security situation improves and the Iraqi Army and police forces are fully trained (some time next century).

The Senators are hoping that no one will read the fine print, and their constituents will all be wooed by their grandiose press releases about embracing the Iraq Study Group report. In fact, in twelve months, if this plan is adopted, more US troops will be dead and dying because Congress didn’t have the backbone to stand up to our incompetent commander in chief.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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