House Passes - Senate Blocked
Well the House passed its resolution 246-182 (including 17 Republican yes votes), but the Republicans in the Senate once again held up having the debate, but by a narrower margin then they had the last time they tried to prevent debate, 56-34. The political shifting is starting and we need to keep up pressure on all fronts, political and media. This is now clearly a Republican war and the public do not want it.
Now, the Republican push back is continuing, but it is getting ever weaker. Yes the media are still reporting things like this, portraying the current vote as Democratic weakness. The public is not longer buying it, however. Some in the media have been trying to portray the surge as a success because there had been a week of somewhat less violence in Baghdad. That, however, has sadly come to an end, see also here. Look, conditions in Iraq are bad for us strategically and tactically. The surge is not improving the situation. This has long since been a ill-conceived operation that has been badly implemented and from which we need to withdraw. At this point we are fighting for nothing but an effort to save the reputation of George Bush and his fellow neocons.
I should point out something on the fighting in Iraq and how well the surge is going, essentially a heads up on Republican spin for the coming month of March. Every year since the invasion, for reasons that I don't know, the US and coalition casualty rate has dropped, significantly in March. As I say, I don't know why, but it is very consistent. Actually, to be completely accurate the low month in 2004 was February, in 2005 and 2006 it was March. The decrease was around 50% which is a much larger month-to-month swing than occurs at any other time. If it happens again, expect the Republicans to trumpet it as "proof" that the surge is working. Be prepared to point out that this is no different that occurs in any other year at this time. Similarly, if the casualty rate does not decline, we can be quite sure that the surge is being an expensive failure.