Exposing Democrats' Dirty Little Iraq Secret (Rep. John Shadegg)

This legislation is deeply and fatally flawed. It will damage America and American interests for two reasons:

First, it is a purely political document, hopelessly vague and meaningless. The bill turns on two key terms. One, that the United States transition to a ‘limited presence’ in Iraq within the next 120 days; and, two, that the President provide a justification of the "minimum force levels required to protect the United States’ national security interests in Iraq."

While I am pleased that the authors recognize that we are in Iraq to protect our national security interests the legislation is hopelessly vague and therefore meaningless. Neither of these two key terms, ‘limited presence’ and ‘minimum force level required to protect U.S. national security interests,’ is defined.

Why would the authors of the measure leave two such critically important terms undefined? Because this bill is not about policy; this bill is about politics.

These terms are not defined because they need ambiguity. If Democrats defined ‘limited presence’ as too many troops, then their most liberal, most antiwar Members would not vote for the legislation. Conversely, if they defined limited presence too low, then their Blue Dog Members would not support the bill. This bill is about beating up on the President and about scaring nervous Members of Congress.

And I would ask proponents of the bill what they would say if the President, as he could under the language of the bill, were to decide that ‘limited presence’ means 154,000 troops, just 1,000 fewer than we have now. That would comply with the letter of the bill, but it wouldn’t satisfy proponents of the bill.

And what if the President, as he can under the language of the bill, were to define the term ‘minimum force level required to protect U.S. national interests’ not as 155,000 troops as we have today, but rather at 500,000 troops?

The bill is also flawed for a second reason, and that is that it reneges on the essential agreement Congress struck this spring. The July 12th Washington Post Editorial references the betrayal of our Armed Forces serving in Iraq. The Post , not exactly a conservative journal, says, "It seems like just weeks ago, because it was, that Congress approved funding for the war in Iraq and instructed General David H. Petraeus to report back on the war’s progress in September." This isn’t September.

The Post goes on to write, "Before Congress begins ordering withdrawals, it should at least give those generals the months they asked for to see whether their strategy can offer some hope." We owe it to those generals to give them, as the Washington Post says, the months they asked for, but, instead, we have given them 27 days.

Our brave men and women of the Armed Forces deserve a chance to succeed in Iraq. The Democrats want to take that opportunity away from them for crass political gain.