Congress to consider spending bills calling for 2008 U.S. combat withdraw from Iraq

With the Iraq War now in its fifth year, both the House and Senate are (for the first time) poised to consider supplemental appropriations bills which would call on President Bush to remove U.S. combat troops from the country by 2008. In the House, a vote is expected soon on a $124 billion spending bill which includes a binding provision demanding withdraw by September 2008.

96% of MoveOn Members Did Not Show Support for the Pelosi Bill

(NOTE: See an update on this issue at: )

On Sunday, March 18, Sheldon Rampton and I wrote "Iraq: Why Won't MoveOn Move Forward?", an article now widely circulated online. It has helped to focus debate on whether the Democratic Party is really attempting to end the war in Iraq, or is content to simply manage the war for supposed electoral advantage in 2008.

The "Friedman" Pundit Punt on the Iraq War Lives on in Congresspedia

Blogger Atrios lamented today that the Wikipedia entry for "Friedman (unit)" has been targeted for deletion through a merger into the "Atrios" article. A "Friedman", in the parlance of pundits and politicians discussing the Iraq War, is six months. Atrios coined the term on his blog to deal with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's constant invocation of "just six more months" to see how things were going in Iraq, something he began doing on November 30, 2003 and continued to do as late as May 11, 2006. While Friedman has lately moved on to saying that the U.S. should stay in Iraq for "10 months or 10 years," many government officials, pundits and politicians continue to move the goalposts on when it is acceptable to ascertain true progress in Iraq, and six months is an eerily common benchmark.

Iraq: Why Won't MoveOn Move Forward?

MoveOn candlelight vigils
MoveOn's vigils: candles in the wind?

(NOTE: See an update on this issue at: )

This week marks the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. To commemorate the occasion, the online advocacy group is organizing more than 1,000 candlelight vigils throughout the United States. "We’ll solemnly honor the sacrifice made by more than 3,000 servicemen and women, and we'll contemplate the path ahead of us," states MoveOn's website. "We cannot send tens of thousands of exhausted, under-equipped, and unprepared troops into the middle of an Iraqi civil war. ... Honor the sacrifice. Stop the escalation. Bring the troops home."

MoveOn's 3.2 million members strongly oppose any continuation of the war, and the language above seems to suggest that MoveOn's leadership agrees. But MoveOn's organizing around Iraq has become notably ambiguous lately. Although it talks in general terms about bringing the troops home, specific timetables or meaningful steps in that direction are nowhere discussed. Most strikingly, MoveOn has adamantly refused to support the Iraq amendment from Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters, which calls for "a fully funded, and systematic, withdrawal of U.S. soldiers and military contractors from Iraq" by the end of 2007.


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