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« Typepad (a.k.a. The Shire) | Main | McCarthyism Reloaded »

15 November 2005

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rev. quitter

well that's just swell. the hobbits who run the wsj won't let me in w/o i should give'm money. nuthin doin.

ps mel gibson is insane.

Crusader AXE of the Lost Causes

Yeah, but he makes a great martyr and that role called for it.
Journal article below...

WASHINGTON -- A $491.6 billion defense bill cleared the Senate after weeks of maneuvering that reflects Congress's growing impatience with the Iraq war but no clear political consensus yet to force a U.S. withdrawal.

On a 58-40 roll call, Republicans easily defeated a Democratic amendment requiring President Bush to submit a plan with "estimated dates" for removing American troops. Minutes later, on a more bipartisan 79-19 vote, senators joined in support of a substitute measure that requires no timetable and instead presses Iraqi forces to do more to secure their nation and thus facilitate a U.S. exit.

The Senate action came as Speaker Dennis Hastert (R., Ill.) said he may finally appoint House negotiators this week on a companion Pentagon appropriations bill that is at the center of another Iraq-related policy dispute: the treatment of detainees by U.S. military and intelligence personnel.

For weeks the bill has been delayed as the White House pursued various changes in language added by Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) requiring clearer standards for the interrogation of detainees and prohibiting cruel and inhumane treatment.

The administration had proposed to exempt the Central Intelligence Agency, but was rebuffed. It is now seeking some protection from future prosecution if a covert operative should be found to have violated the prohibition. The pressure for a resolution will greatly increase if Mr. Hastert goes ahead, and Democrats are poised to force a House vote in support of the McCain language.

"It's my goal to get done this week, period," Mr. Hastert said. The White House is more confident the speaker can find the votes to adopt a $50 billion deficit-reduction package which stalled last week. Together with the Pentagon budget, the Appropriations leadership is anxious to complete the last domestic spending bills by this weekend.

Republicans dismissed Democratic claims that the Senate action was a "vote of no confidence" in Mr. Bush's handling of the war. But the final language reflects a shared sentiment in both parties that 2006 should be "a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty." And the fact that 40 senators, including Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chafee, are beginning to seek a rough schedule for withdrawal puts the issue on the table -- and can't be ignored by the White House.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cautioned against any fixed timetables that "give terrorists the false hope that if they can simply hold on ... they can outlast us." But Sen. Chuck Hagel (R., Neb.) said the Senate had "engaged in a legitimate debate over exit strategy." And Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R., Va.) said Americans want Congress and the White House "to make sure the enormous investment we have made in Iraq ... is not lost and that nation erupts into civil war.

"The only way we're going to do it, is impress upon the Iraqis after the [parliamentary] election on the 15th of December, 'Boy, let's get down to business and get this new government up and running. ... Come on, let's get the thing straightened out and make it work,' " Mr. Warner said.

The chairman faces what could be long negotiations into next month -- and maybe next year -- with the more conservative House, which has been more reluctant to challenge Mr. Bush on Iraq policy thus far.

Sure to require compromise are provisions adopted, like the McCain antitorture language, related to detainees. After a disjointed series of votes last week, senators settled on a compromise yesterday that gives legal status to the administration's plans for an offshore system of military courts to try suspected terrorists. But the provision, adopted 84-14, would allow detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for example, to appeal tribunal rulings and their status as "enemy combatants" to a federal appeals court for the District of Columbia.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) complained that the proposal amounted to "court stripping" by granting "exclusive" jurisdiction to one court. But supporters argued that nothing in the language was intended to bar the U.S. Supreme Court from hearing cases.

Write to David Rogers at david.rogers@wsj.com1

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