Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Democrats continue their hissy fit over Iraq

But this time they took it to the Senate for a vote on an exact timetable for withdrawl.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-controlled Senate on Tuesday easily defeated a Democratic effort to call for President Bush to outline a timetable for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

The vote was 58-40 against a Democratic plan that the minority party's leadership advanced in the wake of declining public support for a conflict that has claimed more than 2,000 U.S. lives and cost more than $200 billion.

Republicans countered with their own alternative, urging that 2006 "should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty," with Iraqi forces taking the lead in providing security -- a step lawmakers hope will speed a reduction of U.S. forces.

Given the Republican majority, passage seemed a certainty.

The amendments were to the 2005 Defense Appropriations Act. The bill includes provisions that, taken together, mark an effort by Congress to rein in some of the wide authority lawmakers gave the president following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. For instance, the measure includes language imposing restrictions on the treatment of foreign detainees and requiring details on purportedly secret CIA prisons overseas.

A bipartisan group of senators reached a compromise Monday that would allow detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to appeal the rulings of U.S. military tribunals to the federal courts. Detainees who receive a punishment of 10 years in prison or more or death would get an automatic appeal to the federal appeals court in Washington. Detainees with lesser sentences still could petition the court to hear their cases. And the 500 or so detainees at the U.S. naval base in Cuba would be allowed to challenge in federal court the procedure under which they were labeled "enemy combatants."

The Senate is expected to vote on the compromise provision Tuesday.

Oh good God, please, no appeals for the terrorists. You'd think it would be pretty cut and dry case, that if we caught you in Iraq with a gun shooting at coalition forces, there wouldn't be a whole lot of room for appeal. But I'm sure an enterprising lawyer will find something. You know, bloody gloves that don't fit or maybe the accused got himself all hopped up on twinkies right before he was caught or he was just holding the gun for some guy while he was in the restroom. You know, creative stuff.

On the transition subject, every day is a step closer to a solidified foundation for the new democratic Iraqi government and to a larger and more capable Iraqi army to battle terrorists. Therefore every day is a big step forward for the fledgling Iraqi people as they slowly take control of their country. You can't rush that; you can't saythat will be finished on this day at this time. It's going to be gradual; as their responsibilities increase, ours will decrease. There's no timetable for that.