I’m downright grateful that John Campbell blogs for the Flash Report and on Town Hall.
Today, the House passed U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health and Iraq Accountability Act
by a vote of 218-212; 14 Democrats voted No and two Republicans voted yes (to be targeted for defeat in the 2008 primary elections for sure).Ã‚Â Campbell calls this a policy of defeat.Ã‚Â Here’s what he said:
“Today, by a vote of 218-212 with one member voting “present”, Speaker Pelosi got what she wanted: a policy of defeat with pork. Two Republicans voted for the Supplemental spending bill and 14 Democrats voted against what was otherwise a party-line vote. It is instructive to note that many Democrats understand how bad the war policy is here or it would not have been necessary to add $21 billion in unrelated spending to entice them to vote for it. It is insulting to our troops that peanut and shrimp subsidies seem more important to some than winning the war on terror.”
But here’s the skinny on the legislation itself that John won’t tell you (I’ve italicized some key points):
On March 8, 2007, House Democratic leaders announced the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health and Iraq Accountability Act.Ã‚Â This bill will support our troops and veterans, hold the Bush Administration and Iraqi government accountable and bring our soldiers home byÃ‚Â August 2008 or sooner.
Expand funding for veteransÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ health care and hospitals
- The bill provides funding so the Veterans Administration can meet the obligations of a new generation of veterans.Ã‚Â
- Bush Administration must meet military standards for troop readiness
- The bill fully supports our troops and ensures they have the tools and resources they need to do the job they have been asked to do.
- The legislation prohibits the deployment of troops who are not Ã¢â‚¬Å“fully mission capableÃ¢â‚¬Â as defined by the Department of Defense Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in other words, troops who are fully trained, equipped and protected. This a reaffirmation of current Department of Defense standards.
- The President can only deploy Ã¢â‚¬Å“unprepared troopsÃ¢â‚¬Â if he certifies, in writing, to Congress, that deploying those troops is in the national interest.
Iraqi government must meet Bush benchmarks for reform
- The bill requires the Iraqi government to meet the key security, political and economic benchmarks established by the President in his January 10 address.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
- The Iraqis failure to meet these benchmarks will mean the beginning of U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and will restrict economicÃ‚Â aid to the Iraqis.Strategic redeployment of U.S. combat troops by 2008
- If progress toward meeting key benchmarks is not made by July 1, 2007, a redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq begins immediately and must be completed within 180 days.Ã‚Â
- If key benchmarks are not met by October 1, 2007, a redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq begins immediately and must be completed within 180 days.
- If key benchmarks are met by October 1, 2007, aÃ‚Â redeployment of U.S. troops must begin by no later than March 1, 2008, and be completed within 180 days.
- Following redeployment, U.S. troops remaining in Iraq may only be used for diplomatic protection, counterterrorism operations, and training of Iraqi Security Forces.Ã‚Â
The Congress is simply following the guidelines laid out by the president himself.Ã‚Â They have taken Bush at his word.
Ã‚Â After four years of failing to secure the peace, perhaps the good Congressman can articulate what the administration’s plan for victory is or what his plan for victory is?Ã‚Â Staying the course here just isn’t workingÃ‚Â and is contributing to the rise in sectarian violence against our troops.Ã‚Â Sen. Barbara Boxer said it best: “elections have consequences.”Ã‚Â Ã‚Â The 2002 and 2004 elections led us to where we are today in Iraq;Ã‚Â the 2006 resultsÃ‚Â reflected the majority of the American people who want us out of this terrible conflict.Ã‚Â
So when the president vetos this bill whcih carries significant financial and material benefits toÃ‚Â our battle-ready and wounded soldiers, does it mean he supports the troops.