Democrats Say They Won’t Back Down on War
WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 — Democrats in Congress failed once again Friday to shift President Bush’s war strategy in Iraq, but insisted that they would not let up. Their explanation for their latest foiled effort seemed to boil down to a simple question: “What else are we supposed to do?”There is at least the perception that violence has decreased since the surge. Since there has been no real political reconciliation and more than 70% of the Iraqis still hate the US occupation this can't be sustained. Once the inevitable draw down begins violence will increase once again and it may well be directed against US forces. If the Democrats cut off the funds now they will be blamed for the increase in violence.
Frustrated by the lack of political progress in Iraq, under pressure by antiwar groups and mindful of polls showing that most Americans want the war to end, the Democrats last week put forward a $50 billion war spending bill with strings attached knowing it would fail.
Like so many of the war-related measures that Democrats have proposed this year, the spending bill sought to set a timeline for redeploying American troops, and to narrow the mission to focus on counterterrorism and on the training of Iraq’s security forces.
And, like so many of the war-related measures that Democrats proposed this year, it was approved in the House only to wither and die in the Senate, where on Friday it fell 7 votes short of the 60 needed to prevent a Republican filibuster — with 45 senators voting to block the measure.
All signs indicate that Democrats will continue proposing such measures as long as Mr. Bush remains in office and troops remain in Iraq. “We are going to keep plugging away,” said Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
Democratic lawmakers and strategists on Capitol Hill said their hope was that even if Republican support for Mr. Bush’s strategy held firm, voters would reward Democrats for their efforts at the polls next November, and that there was no risk to failing again and again.