Friday, July 20, 2007

No Way Out

The Raw Story:

Bush vetoes Iraq withdrawal plan
President George W. Bush on Tuesday vetoed a bill setting an Iraq withdrawal timeline, defying the US Congress exactly four years after he declared major combat over in a "Mission Accomplished" speech.

"Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible," he said as protesters outside the White House chanted "stop the war now!" and "how many more will die?".

Bush -- who has signalled no willingness to compromise on his plan to escalate the unpopular war -- was to meet top lawmakers at the White House on Wednesday to map the way forward after killing the legislation.

The measure included emergency spending for the war but tied that to a call for US combat troops to start coming home October 1 and most of them to be withdrawn by March 2008. Like previous measures was larded with funds for unrelated projects and programs.

"Members of the House and Senate passed a bill that substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgment of our military commanders, so a few minutes ago, I vetoed the bill," Bush said.

Democratic leaders, due at the White House on Wednesday in the next phase of the unprecedented Iraq spending showdown, quickly slammed Republican Bush's move and accused him of trapping US soldiers "in the middle of an open-ended civil war."

"The president wants a blank check. The Congress is not going to give it to him," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned at a joint public appearance with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"If the president thinks that by vetoing this bill, he will stop us from working to change the direction of this war, he is mistaken," said Reid. "Now he has an obligation to explain his plan to responsibly end this war."
Bush had long signalled he would kill the 124 billion dollar measure -- Democrats appear to lack the votes to override his veto -- and insisted that his foes, not his veto, were keeping much-needed funds from the troops.

The House of Representatives and Senate had approved the legislation by mostly party-line votes, with Democrats urging Bush to "listen to the American people" as polls showed a majority want the war to end.

The veto came exactly four years after the US president, speaking aboard a US aircraft carrier under a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner, declared that the March 19 US-led invasion had yielded "one victory" over terrorism.

DEMOCRATS: We want to stop the killing of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens and end this stupid, useless war.

REPUBLICANS: Die! Die! Die! Die! All Hail Cthulhu!