Meanwhile, the plot on which Iraqi leaders are "with us" and which are "with the terrorists" thickens:
US and Iraqi forces in Baghdad have arrested the deputy health minister during a raid at his offices.Back in Washington, Chuck Hagel, John Warner and five other GOP Senators who earlier this week voted with their party leadership to stop debate over a non-binding resolution, only to see debate on all resolutions stop entirely, have now jumped ship.
The minister, Hakim al-Zamili, is a key member of the political group led by radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.
He is accused of aiding Shia militiamen and using ambulances to move weapons, a ministry source told the BBC.
And Iran is issuing threats.
In a letter distributed yesterday evening to Senate leaders, John W. Warner (Va.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and five other GOP supporters of the resolution threatened to attach their measure to any bill sent to the floor in the coming weeks. Noting that the war is the "most pressing issue of our time," the senators declared: "We will explore all of our options under the Senate procedures and practices to ensure a full and open debate."And as for the argument that such a resolution, if passed, would harm troop morale, let's hear from General Peter Pace:
The letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was not more specific about the Republican senators' strategy for reviving the war debate. But under the chamber's rules, senators have wide latitude in slowing the progress of legislation and in offering amendments, regardless of whether they have anything to do with the bill.
The letter began circulating yesterday evening after it became apparent the Senate was deadlocked over the war resolution and Reid was prepared to move on to other matters. McConnell and many in his party have aggressively defended their decision to block the bipartisan resolution as an issue of fairness because Democrats would not agree to GOP procedural demands.
But some Republicans were uneasy about appearing to have stymied the debate. The letter appeared so suddenly that, although it was addressed to Reid, the Democratic leader had not seen his copy before Warner read the text on the Senate floor.
"Monday's procedural vote should not be interpreted as any lessening of our resolve to go forward advocating the concepts" of the resolution, the letter said. "The current stalemate is unacceptable to us and to the people of this country."
"There's no doubt in my mind that the dialogue here in Washington strengthens our democracy. Period," Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the House Armed Services Committee. He added that potential enemies may take some comfort from the rancor but said they "don't have a clue how democracy works."And neither, apparently, do Mitch McConnell and the other Republicans who are continuing to provide a human shield for the president on Iraq.
Labels: 110th Congress, Bush administration, Chuck hagel, Iraq, Iraq war, Senate