Tuesday, May 01, 2007

With Bush having vetoed the Democrat's funding-bill-with-strings-attached, and the Democrats having neither the votes to override his veto nor the stomach to hold their ground, I thought I would do everybody a favor and outline the compromise that Bush and the Democrats ought to agree upon...

1) Provide the funding for the military, with no pork or other non-Iraq funding.

2) Leave the benchmarks in. There is nothing wrong at all with stating what we hope to accomplish and the timetable we hope to accomplish it in. Doing so is not, as the kool-aid drinkers will claim, 'surrendering' to the enemy, nor is it out of place in a conflict. Roosevelt had goals and timetables for WWII (invade Europe; choke off Japan's access to oil imports; recapture territory lost to the Japanese, etc.); was he surrendering to the Japanese and Germans? While Bush and the Democrats need to agree on the particulars, these benchmarks need to be clearly communicated to the American people, the Iraqi government and yes, the terrorists and insurgents. Everybody needs to know what we're going to do and when we plan on doing it.

3) Tie troop withdrawals to accomplishing the above mentioned goals and not as a consequence of failing to meet those goals. I would think - and hope - that both sides can rally round the idea of bringing home the troops once we have accomplished our goals.

4) In the event that the 'surge' fails to accomplish its goals within the above described time frame, mandate Bush inform Congress of either his rationale for giving the surge more time or an alternate strategy for accomplishing our agreed upon goals.

This would be a win-win for both sides.

The Democrats could legitimately claim that they haven't signed off on an open-ended committment that provides nothing more than more-of-the-same. They could claim that, for the first time, the American people will know the particulars of what we're trying to do in Iraq and will be given a scorecard to follow the progress. And they could claim that they've imposed a requirement on Bush to change course should the current course be proven ineffective.

Bush can claim that he got the money to keep the troops in Iraq, as well as that he is not obligated to bring the troops home until we've accomplished what needs to be accomplished.

Sure, both sides will lose the ability to demagogue their opposition... which is probably the reason my proposal will go nowhere.