2.17.2007

The President's Senate Allies Prolong the Iraq War Debate Ban

Having stifled debate on the Iraq War for four years while in control of the upper chamber of the U.S. Congress, 33 Republican Senators banned together today to prevent the new Democratic-controlled Senate from debating it as well.

Tactical maneuvers aside, the good news for people concerned about the Iraq War is that 302 members of Congress (including 24 Republicans) are now on record supporting the debate of resolutions critical of the White House's Iraq War plans.

With an administration devoid of a game plan for successfully concluding the Iraq War within a reasonable time-period, the caucus of 302 Congress men and women insisting on an open and fair debate will likely grow.

The irony is that if the Iraq War is worth continuing, and indeed, if there's a compelling justification for escalating it, why wouldn't the Republicans want to call the Democrats bluff and debate? The President and the Republican Congressional leaders appear to lack confidence in their own cause.

Senator Arlen Spector was on the money when he said:

If we continue to debate whether there should be a debate while the House of Representatives acts, the Senate will become irrelevant. To paraphrase the Roman adage, the Senate should not fiddle while Iraq burns.
The 7 Republicans joining with Democratic colleagues in calling for a rigorous debate include:

Senator Chuck Hagel (Nebraska)
Senator John Warner (Virginia)
Senator Olympia Snowe (Maine)
Senator Gordon Smith (Oregon)
Senator Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania)
Senator Norm Coleman (Minnesota)
Senator Susan Collins (Maine)