The Webb Amendment and Not Funding The Iraq Debacle

Like other progresssive blogs, I support the Webb Amendment, but I think for reasons different than they do. For example, Matt Stoller writes:

If there is still any chance for the 110th Congress to draw down the war in Iraq, it probably rests on the fight over this amendment. Already, Bush will be forced to end the escalation next summer because there are not enough fresh troops to keep it going, and this measure would restrict the amount of troops that can be used in Iraq far more. Of course, 60 votes is still not 67, and there is not word on how much Republican support this bill would have in the House. Still, this is a major step forward, and makes me think that as long as there is another funding fight in a few months time, this might be one piece of legislation where a veto-proof majority is possible.

A veto proof majority is a pipe dream. The Webb Amendment will be useful in making clear to the entire country that the only way to end the Iraq Debacle is to not fund it after a date certain.

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    Simply the right thing to do period (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by robrecht on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 12:31:31 PM EST
    This bill is simply the right thing to do period.  Presenting it as an indirect means to draw down troops will only make it easier for Bush and the Republicans to oppose it on those grounds.  Other countries have a 2:1 or even 4:1 ratio of home:combat time.

    They are really really hurting people (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 11:57:54 PM EST
    they are mentally destroying people while using them as political pawns all at the same time.  History will be without mercy.

    What is it that excites people like Matt (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 09:46:14 AM EST
    and others so much about "another funding fight in a few months time"?

    Just how many "funding fights" do they have to have, and cave on, to satisfy themselves and realize that that there is only a need to have ONE LAST funding fight, and not "in a few months time" but NOW.

    And this time don't f*** around. Just wheel out the big guns and blow Bush and Cheney right out of the water and get it over with.

    Bush wants another $50 Billion dollars which is going to turn in to a demand from Bush for another $200 Billion dollars if... sorry, when, the Democratic Congress caves again.

    "This war in Iraq is not the Petraeus war. It is the Bush war," added Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) ... There is no change in mission - this is more of the same. In two weeks, we're going to get a request for another $200 billion for the war in Iraq - $200 billion," Reid said. "Is there anything logical about this picture, anybody? The answer is no."
    $250 Billion Dollars? That's nearly half again of the more than half a trillion dollars that's already been appropriated in Emergency Supplementals for the Iraq occupation, above and beyond the initial $62.6 Billion Supplemental that this whole debacle began with:
    In April of 2003, the President signed the first Iraq supplemental providing $62.6 billion for the Defense Department. This was after the President's budget director told the New York Times that the war would cost between $50 and $60 billion.
    I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that no one really wants to end this occuaption, BTD, except you and me and a few other people here.

    The rest of the world seems to be full of hot air and BS.

    Matt Stoller et al are starting to turning it into (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 10:01:53 AM EST
    Clark at Diane Rhem-NPR now (none / 0) (#2)
    by timber on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 09:46:57 AM EST
    Wesley Clark -- He says he is not for timeline.  And he is joining the chorus against Iran threats.

    Politically speaking.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by mike in dc on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 10:25:17 AM EST
    What is the absolute deadline/last possible moment to put into action a "no funding whatsoever" maneuver, prior to Bush leaving office?  I'd think it'd be in the March-July 2008 window period.  After that, the temptation is way too strong to just say "if you really want to end the war, vote for Hillary/Obama/Edwards/Richardson and they'll start bringing the troops home immediately".

    We've got a shot to try it now, but I suspect the support level among Dem politicians hasn't reached critical mass yet, and won't even with intense pressure.  Am I capitulating by trying to be objective and pragmatic about this?

    No, you're not capitulating (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 10:34:19 AM EST
    by trying to be objective and pragmatic about this.  

    But if the Democratic Leadership cannot be pressured into ending it, it's not going to be their fault.

    It's going to, collectively, be the fault of all voters.... there will be no one else to blame it on.

    The old sad song. People get the kind of government they deserve.

    They have no reason or motivation to, if they can count on voter support in 2008 without ending it.

    ...if leading Democrats heard enough people say to them that they will not vote for ANY Democrats next year EXCEPT Democrats who have been vocally, and by their votes on supplementals, calling for total withdrawal from Iraq they would quickly notice.

    They are politicians after all, and they are concerned with winning elections.

    They would notice if enough people turned the tables on them and used fear to motivate them, instead of voting simply out of fear of republicans.

    If Democrats were filled with fear that they would lose Congress and the presidency UNLESS the occupation was ended before the 2008 elections, they would end the occupation of Iraq.

    Nothing will help (none / 0) (#6)
    by koshembos on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 12:00:49 PM EST
    The Webb amendment nor no funding are not going to stop Bush. It's like trying to reason with a stubborn toddler. The constitution has proved to be nonexistent when Bush wants something. He just walks all over anything that disagrees with his toddler mentality.

    Stop funding - he'll claim emergency ability to print or spend money. The only escape is to wait him out and then send him to The Hague.

    Wait him out (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 12:10:42 PM EST
    I'm afraid, is exactly what the current Democratic Leadership and Democratic presidential frontrunners want everyone to conclude.  

    It absolves them of all responsibility.

    They get to claim, in spite of having the "power of the purse", in spite of the fact that they have to power to not allow funding bills to come to a vote, and in spite of the facts that they were given a Congressional Majority last November on the strength of one clear mandate: "Get us out of Iraq", that they are powerless.

    And people are buying it.


    Revolving credit (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Demi Moaned on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 10:14:01 PM EST
    It absolves them of all responsibility.

    For the time being. But it just defers the issue to a time when the responsibility will lie entirely on Democratic shoulders.

    There is no politically risk-free way to do this, but like many voices here, I think the lowest-risk option is to act decisively now.


    I wish it would happen... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 10:30:11 PM EST
    ...or rather I wish that the Congressional Democratic Leadership would set aside their own self interest and simply refuse to pay for something they say they do not want, even, no... especially, in the face of the risk of losing their seats... which I truly believe would be only a temporary political setback for each of them.

    I think that if they did it they would become instant heroes to nearly the entire country, and could win any election they chose just for the asking.

    They have succumbed to the Washington Consensus instead, which is, in my view, a form of misplaced belief in American Exceptionalism, and doing so much damage because of it...


    Support for BTD (none / 0) (#9)
    by john horse on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 07:26:54 PM EST
    Per TPM the Webb amendment just got voted down.  Once again the strategy of trying to appeal to "moderate" GOP Senators did not work.  Webb was stabbed in the back by Senator Warner. As BTD points out a veto proof majority is a pipe dream because the Dems will never get enough GOP moderates to cross over.  BTD may not be right about a lot of things (such as those sorry UF Gators) but he is right about ending the war by not funding it after a date certain.  The Dems have enough votes to make it happen.  What are they waiting for?  

    Specter (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 09:02:15 PM EST
    And his Republican colleagues are not to be trusted. Permanent Republican Rule is the plan. Permanent war is part of the plan.

    Specter sounds good on so many issues (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 01:50:30 AM EST
    he doesn't ultimately support with his votes.

    "moderate" GOP Senators (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 07:31:51 PM EST
    are getting primary challenges from their own party. They're running scared back into the fold, not to peeling off...

    Enough Democrats but not enough votes (none / 0) (#11)
    by robrecht on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 08:56:32 PM EST

    this quote from Warner (none / 0) (#17)
    by tnthorpe on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 02:01:19 AM EST
    "I endorsed it," Mr. Warner said of Mr. Webb's plan. "I intend now to cast a vote against it."
    Webb seemed genuinely blindsided by this. The moral disaster that is Iraq is being perpetuated by cheap DC politics, disgusting.

    Juan Cole, today (none / 0) (#18)
    by mike in dc on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 08:49:30 AM EST

    "I know some readers favor a sort of Democratic Gingrichism, using power over the budget to shut down the Defense Department, but realistically speaking such a strategy would likely boomerang big time and might well cost the Democrats the next election. The Republicans would blame every American death in Iraq on them from now to the election, on grounds of their 'irresponsibility.' They would be accused of being allies of 'al-Qaeda in Iraq,' helping kill US troops by defunding them in the face of a vicious enemy. Sitting Democrats in Congress are just not going to go this route, folks, and if they did they likely wouldn't be sitting there much longer. (All of the House of Representatives has to face the voters every two years!) I don't know why proponents of this tactic don't recognize that the war will actually be much prolonged if the Democrats act in ways that may rehabilitate the electoral chances of the Republicans in '08. At the least, it is a chance that has to be taken into serious account."

    Shut down the Defense Department? (none / 0) (#19)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 10:03:20 AM EST
    I think that would boomerang too. But no one here has suggested defunding and shutting down DOD or the government, only defunding the Iraq occupation by not passing any more supplemental funding bills.

    The Administration would respond... (none / 0) (#20)
    by mike in dc on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 10:30:28 AM EST
    ...by either taking money out of the defense appropriation to fund the continued presence in Iraq, or by (finally) folding the supplemental into the regular defense appropriation.  I think if Bush wants to keep 100K+ troops there through 1/20/09, he can find a way to make it happen, even if we formally cut off funding

    How do you know? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 11:00:38 AM EST
    And if he did, so?