Rep. Mike Ross (D) from Arkansas, a Blue Dog Democrat, and the only Democrat outside of California to unseat a Republican incumbent in 2000, met with President Bush Tuesday along with 13 other fiscally-conservative Democrats to discuss the war in Iraq. (emphasis mine)
President Bush is unrealistic in the standard he has set before he'll bring American troops home from Iraq, and in the meantime wants a "blank check" for continuing the war, an Arkansas congressman says.
Ross said the group told Bush that while the "American people weren't ready to leave (Iraq) tonight," some form of accountability must be placed on the floundering Iraqi government so U.S. troops can return home.
"His response was he believes we should stay until there was an open, free and democratic Iraq, which I don't believe could ever happen," said Ross, D-Ark., in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "We overthrew Saddam and we provided a police, military and security force while they held open and free elections. We can't spend the next 35 years in Iraq fighting their civil war for them."
The fact that Bush responded to the 2006 mid-term "get out of Iraq" voter mandate with the "surge" plan was seen at the time as an indication that he was finally moving forward with an end-game -- now we know he's not. Bush's "no compromise" position will require that we maintain a large and significant presence in Iraq for decades to come, no matter what level of progress we see this September.
The Bush doctrine is alive and well, and moving forward, without missing a beat. The Pentagon is preparing an additional 35,000 troops to be moved into Iraq this fall - a clear indication that a progress report in September that shows the surge isn't working will not mark the beginning of the end of our presence in Iraq -- but instead mark the end of the beginning of a protracted attempt to modulate and intervene in the Iraqi Civil War, and at that point 35,000 more troops will be committed.
Bush has absolutely no intention of ending this war before leaving office - and it's time we Americans who disagree with his position realize that fact, and begin to act on it accordingly.
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