- Peace Garden: Still not enough

Still not enough

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Withdrawal Not Required in Iraq Funding Bill
The House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday night that aims for a major withdrawal of troops from Iraq by next December, but that promise rides on the back of a $50 billion check to continue war operations. Moreover, the plan sets December 2008 as a "goal" for redeployment, instead of establishing it as a firm deadline.
"On one hand, the bill is a clear policy statement supporting quicker troop withdrawal," said Jeff Leys, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. "On the other hand, it would allow troops to stay in Iraq and continue all the operations they're doing now; there would just be fewer troops doing them."
The bill passed Wednesday would maintain a "limited presence" of troops in Iraq beyond the December 2008 goal date. Those troops would conduct "targeted counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda-affiliated groups and other terrorist organizations in Iraq."
Since "terrorist organization" is not defined in the bill, the administration could determine the targets of future combat operations, according to Leys.
In August, the Bush administration declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, and last week, President Bush applied the same label to the Kurdistan Workers Party.
Too many loopholes. Too little strength. No immediate withdrawal.
"The Iraq spending bill passed by the House is too weak and doesn't require the timely redeployment of our troops from Iraq," said Senator Russ Feingold Thursday on the Senate floor. "If the Senate does not strengthen the bill, I will oppose it. The American people want more than a 'goal' of redeploying troops."
Absolutely the right thing to do.

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