I constantly hear people stating that the Democrats do not have a plan for Iraq. To say the Democrats have no plan is a lie the “liberal” media proudly boasts. Senator Joseph Biden, who announced on Jan. 31 he would be running for president, has a plan, Senator Barack Obama has a plan, and finally, Senator Russ Feingold has a plan.
Obama announced his plan on Jan. 30, and it is known as the Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007. His plan would require a cap to be put on the number of troops in Iraq at 131,000, which would prevent the president from sending more troops. Furthermore, it would require a phased withdrawal from Iraq starting on May 1 and ending on March 31, 2008, as recommended by the Iraq Study Group. He argues that Congress has the constitutional authority to cut troop levels, something contested by this president.
Feingold takes Obama’s plan a step further. His is called Iraq Redeployment Act of 2007. His plan would cut funding for the Iraq war within six months of his law being enacted, with the exception of funding for counter-terrorism efforts, protection of U.S. personnel and infrastructure and training of Iraqi security forces. He would redeploy the troops to the surrounding areas in case of a rise in insurgents.
And finally there is Biden’s plan, one he announced months ago and has several websites for. His plan would call for a withdrawal of troops, increased military training of Iraqis and a federal government. His plan would redraft the Iraqi constitution so that Iraq’s government is more similar to our own, with a state system. The federal government would be weak in power to insure that the Shiite Muslims cannot abuse the Kurds or the Sunnis. The federal government’s responsibilities would be limited to protecting the borders and distributing the wealth of the oil sales. The Sunnis would have control of the Anbar province – where most Sunnis live – and the Kurds would have control of northern Iraq while the Shiites would control everything else. As for the communities in Baghdad, where both Sunni and Shiites live, in those areas it would be ensured that the Sunni areas are policed by the Sunni and the Shiite areas are policed by the Shiite. His plan would aim to relieve tensions between factions in the Middle East.
So, why did the Senate move to approve a nonbinding plan that would voice opposition against the troop surge? They did not vote for that because they “want us to fail” as the president proudly boasts. The fact is, while the Democrats control both houses of the legislative branch, we do have a system of checks and balances that prevents them from having complete control. The plans I mentioned above could indeed gain 50 votes to pass; however, because the Senate has this little thing called the filibuster, those resolutions would need 60 votes to pass. The Republicans have already filibustered the house version of the minimum wage bill and would have no problem filibustering a plan that would involve removing troops in Iraq or cutting troops. Furthermore, President Bush would veto any bill that he did not agree with, decreasing the chance of any of those bills getting passed. As much as the American people want change in Iraq, change is not possible unless 10 republicans sign on with the Democrats, and President Bush decides that he should start listening to the American public, Colin Powell, the generals he fired that disagreed with him, the Iraq Stud Group and both houses of Congress. As we have seen in the past, the latter is unlikely to happen, and the Democrats know that.
As for the Democrats lowering troop morale, well, it doesn’t take Congress to lower morale. The fact that the troops went to war with gear from the Vietnam War era may have done that. The fact that they went in with too few troops may have done that. The fact that over 3,000 of their fellow soldiers have fallen may have done that. The fact that many troops have gone on multiple tours in a row with little to no break may have done that. We need change in Iraq. The question is: When will our commander in chief recognize that fact?