Congressional Resolution on Iraq Blasts Bush Policies
56% Say Iraq War is hopeless.
The House passed a non-binding resolution opposing the escalation of the Iraq War by a significant margin, 246 to 182. Only 17 Republicans broke ranks to vote with the Democrats on the “surge,” while 2 Democrats rejected the resolution.
The resolution is not important for immediate policy-making, but rather as a straw in the wind. Sooner or later, Congress is going to begin cutting off money for the Iraq War, and then the troops will just have to come home.
Most Republicans in the House seem to think they can go on playing the patriotism and support the troops and Islamic radicalism cards, and somehow all this will at some point start working for them again. In my view, that outcome is unlikely barring some big unforeseen event, and they will be sunk in 2008 if they stick to this line.
56% of Americans now feel that the Iraq War is hopeless. I can remember when it was a third. The trend lines are not favorable to the war supporters. Their talk about the Dems wanting to ‘cut off funding to our troops in harm’s way’ will increasingly just raise questions in the public’s mind about who put the troops in harm’s way and why.
Reuters reports that 11 bodies were found in Baghdad on Friday and another 4 in Mosul. Guerrillas killed 3 bodyguards of Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari at a phony checkpoint. A roadside bomb in Kirkuk killed or injured 4. In the southern port city of Basra, clashes between militiamen and British troops broke out.
The guerrillas and militiamen are beginning to lie low, according to al-Zaman in Arabic. One of their hopes is that their rivals will fight the Americans and so be destroyed or much weakened. Since no one is volunteering to fight openly, however, it is possible that guerrillas will attempt to provoke US-militia fights so as to achieve the same result. Those recent huge bombings in Shiite districts of Baghdad were probably intended to make the Mahdi Army commanders rethink their policy of melting away temporarily, and come out to fight the Sunnis and then the Americans when they intervene. We are liable to see more of that kind of thing.
Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni Arab praised the Sunni Arab guerrillas as “honorable” and “sincere” and said that the Iraqi government and the US must negotiate with them, given American failure.
Al-Hashimi also slammed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for not cracking down on Shiite militiamen (who, I guess, are not in his view either honorable or sincere). He also lashed out at the Association of Muslim Scholars, a hard line Sunni religious group that has been deeply critical of people like al-Hashimi for serving in a government they see as American puppets. I personally think al-Hashimi is right and that a negotiating track must be opened up with the Sunni guerrillas. The Kurds and Shiites in the government won’t go for it, though.
Tom Lasseter on the way the Kurdish Peshmerga paramilitary controls Kirkuk and the trouble that is likely to cause. He points out that Iraqi Army units in the province are mostly actually Peshmerga. The article doesn’t talk much about police, but the police is even more Peshmerga than the army. Arabs and Turkmen see this situation as dangerous.
The International Organization for Migration in Geneva predicts that up to one million Iraqis will be forced out of their homes this year if current rates of violence continue.
Don’t miss Roger Morris on the Rumsfeld legacy at the indispensable Tomdispatch.com