When the House of Representatives voted, on July 12, 2007 — by a margin of 223-201 — against the Iraq war, the news media characterized the bill as requiring a “withdrawal” from that war-torn country. Media reports said that the legislation required the start of withdrawal in four months and mandated that it be completed by April of 2008.
Nonsense. The bill did nothing of the sort. Rather, it specified that its goal was to “require the secretary of defense to commence the reduction of the number of United States armed forces in Iraq to a limited presence by April 1, 2008” (emphasis added). The legislation went on to specify what it meant by a “limited presence.” It specified that the “president shall, at a minimum, address whether it is necessary for the armed forces to carry out the following missions:
“(A) Protecting United States diplomatic facilities and United States citizens, including members of the armed forces who are engaged in carrying out other missions.
“(B) Serving in roles consistent with customary diplomatic positions.
“(C) Engaging in actions to disrupt and eliminate al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations in Iraq.
“(D) Training and equipping members of the Iraqi Security Forces.”
Indeed, rather than require a pullout, the legislation requires the president to keep troops in Iraq if he finds that any of the above purposes are “necessary.”
The legislation thus comes relatively close to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) goals in Iraq, as she indicated to The New York Times in March of this year. In that interview, she specified that our troops should fight al Qaeda; train, equip and support the Iraqi forces; and stop infiltration over the border from Iran. According to the Times, Pentagon experts who evaluated how to perform a similar menu of missions estimated that it would require upwards of 75,000 troops.
So the left in Congress has redefined its goal. Instead of a pullout, it merely proposes a “reduction” and a “redeployment.”
Under a Democratic administration, the war will clearly go on.
Michael Medved, an unusually well informed talk radio host operating out of Seattle, pointed out this distinction — one that has been almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media, yet one that is critically important.
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