Three GOP Senators Co-Sponsor April 2008 Combat Termination
As the Levin-Reed amendment calling for an April 30, 2008 end of combat operations picked up the co-sponsorship of GOP senators Chuck Hagel, Olympia Snowe, and Gordon Smith, several more GOP senators told Stephen Hadley today that Bush needs to adopt the Baker-Hamilton ISG report now instead of waiting until September.
The Democrats now have at least three GOP votes in favor of cutting off combat operations after April 30, 2008 and they could pick up more if they fashioned a face-saving way for other GOP senators to support a mission change consistent with the ISG report that doesn’t appear to be withdrawal. But as John Podesta, Lawrence Korb, and Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress have noted, the ISG has been rendered virtually moot by the passage of time, faulty assumptions in the first place, and Bush’s surge itself. There is no national will for a single Iraq, nor is there any support amongst the Iraqi government or its military to accept responsibility for their own future as a unified country.
The ISG recommendations therefore are no longer a recipe for a way forward in Iraq, if they ever were. Democrats still must demand that the 2008 defense budget contain directives for a cessation of combat and occupation funding, and a drawdown of forces by a date certain, similar to what John McCain and Trent Lott did to Bill Clinton on Haiti and Somalia back in the 1990's.