Well the rhetoric only gets hotter over the war funding supplemental bill. The Administration is fighting hard, it is true, but the WaPo article also makes clear that the Democrats are fighting back as well. I continue to see the Administrations position as weak and that they know it. Bush again offers some non-negotiating negotiations in order to forestall his veto
In a somber statement on the South Lawn of the White House before leaving on a trip to New York, Bush said he was willing to meet with Democratic leaders "as many times as it takes to resolve our differences," but he signaled no intention to compromise with them on the funding bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.But why tender an completely disingenuous offer of negotiations if you have no intention of compromising? And from past experience it is clear that he does not intend to compromise. Clearly he is still hoping that the Democrats will cave. That is because for he, and his party, it will be very bad for him to veto this bill. The Democrats are getting stronger and more confident every day. Bush's position is only weakening. These are the words of a desperate man.
The opinions of military leaders are also growing more and more to be in line with the Democrats and at odds with the President. Consider Lt. Gen. William E. Odom
or Maj. Gen. John Batiste
However, a group of retired generals who have criticized Bush's conduct of the war released statements today applauding the supplemental appropriations bill, calling it the best way to show real support for U.S. troops.
"The bill gives the president a chance to pull back from a disastrous course, reorient U.S. strategy to achieve regional stability, and win help from many other countries -- the only way peace will eventually be achieved," said retired Army Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, a former director of the National Security Agency during the Reagan administration. His and other flag officers' statements on the congressional action were distributed by the National Security Network, a Washington-based group that advocates what it calls "progressive national security policy solutions."
Among the retired generals who commended the war-funding bill was Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who formerly commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq.
"This important legislation sets a new direction for Iraq," Batiste said in a statement. "It acknowledges that America went to war without mobilizing the nation, that our strategy in Iraq has been tragically flawed since the invasion in March 2003, that our Army and Marine Corps are at the breaking point with little to show for it, and that our military alone will never establish representative government in Iraq. The administration got it terribly wrong, and I applaud our Congress for stepping up to their constitutional responsibilities."
or Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004, said, "The argument that this bill aides the enemy is simply not mature." He said it gives the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, "great leverage for moving the Iraqi government" toward political compromises aimed at undercutting the insurgency.
or Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard Jr.
"We must commence a coordinated phased withdrawal of U.S. combat troops and condition our continuing support of the Iraqi government on its fulfilling the political commitments it has made to facilitate reconciliation of the contending secular factions," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard Jr., a former senior Pentagon official. "Otherwise, we will continue to be entwined in a hopeless quagmire, with continuing American casualties, which will render our ground forces ineffective."
or Maj. Gen. Mel Montano
Retired Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Mel Montano, a former adjutant general of New Mexico, said the bill "not only reflects the thinking of the Iraq Study Group but puts teeth to the phrase 'Supporting the Troops.' " He said establishing timelines "returns the responsibility of self-preservation and regional sovereignty to the people of Iraq and their government."Note that these are not half-hearted comments showing weak support for the lesser of two evils. The Generals see the current state of affairs as one that is decidedly not in the nations best interest from a military, national security, and foreign policy standpoint, and that beginning to withdraw from Iraq is a necessary move. While it is tragic that the nation has come to this crossroads, to move forward now in the best interests of the American people means to pull out from Iraq.