BAGHDAD -- A majority of Iraqi lawmakers endorsed a draft bill calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops and demanding a freeze on the number already in the country, lawmakers said Thursday.
The legislation was being discussed even as U.S. lawmakers were locked in a dispute with the White House over their call to start reducing the size of the U.S. force in the coming months.
The proposed Iraqi legislation, drafted by the parliamentary bloc loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was signed by 144 members of the 275-member house, said Nassar al-Rubaie, the leader of the Sadrist bloc.
The Sadrist bloc, which holds 30 parliamentary seats and sees the U.S.-led forces as an occupying army, has pushed similar bills before, but this was the first time it garnered the support of a majority of lawmakers.
The bill would require the Iraqi government to seek approval from parliament before it requests an extension of the U.N. mandate for foreign forces to be in Iraq, al-Rubaie said. It also calls for a timetable for the troop withdrawal and a freeze on the size of the foreign forces.
That bill hasn't been formally presented yet but it certainly would be a slap in the face to the Bush administration and all of its Iraq war supporters if it actually became law.
Some angry Republicans (yawn) who are concerned about the future of their party and the effect the war is having on their political futures met with Bush on Wednesday and apparently expressed their concerns.
Participants in Tuesday's White House meeting said frustration about the Iraqi government's efforts dominated the conversation, with one pleading with the president to stop the Iraqi parliament from going on vacation while "our sons and daughters spill their blood." The House members pressed Bush and Gates hard for a "Plan B" if the current troop increase fails to quell the violence and push along political reconciliation. Davis said that administration officials convinced him there are contingency plans, but that the president declined to offer details, saying that if he announced his backup plan, the world would shift its focus to that contingency, leaving the current strategy no time to succeed.
Oh let's get real. Like he even has a Plan B.
The GOP members then apparently felt the need to state the obvious to the completely oblivious president - not that he cares what the people actually think. He's "commander guy" after all.
Davis, a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, also presented Bush dismal polling figures to dramatize just how perilous the party's position is, participants said. Davis would not disclose details, saying the exchange was private. Others warned Bush that his personal credibility on the war is all but gone.
The Democrats, in the meantime, can't even get it together enough to come up with a unified plan - with senate Dems criticizing the House Dems' bill. Is it really that difficult? Bush will just veto whatever moderate compromise they hatch - and that's all the Dems have been doing: compromising. They've taken impeachment "off the table" and are just floundering with hesitation as the war drags on. Drooling party sycophants who want to believe the Dems will actually take some tough action against this president seem to be quite comfortable waiting for September, or October '07, or even November '08 because, surely, if a Dem wins the White House, the war will end then, right?
Republicans may be pissed off that the Iraq parliament wants to take a couple of months off this summer but, let's face it, the GOP has taken years off while they let The Decider have his way with this war. Hypocrites.
So, who knows? Maybe the Iraq parliament actually will pass this draft timetable bill and save the US congress and the Bush administration from having to make that decision. Iraq is, supposedly, a sovereign country after all.