Two Important Bills

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/Law, Iraq, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

I’ve sort of noticed that I’m not as political on this blog lately, and I think that is for three reasons.

First of all, there’s the burnout factor.  I mean, when you’ve seen all the outrages by this Adminsitration over the past several years — from Iraq to Katrina — then the smaller outrages (which would have been big ten years ago) just don’t seem worth commenting on.

The second reason is that I’m saving my political juices for the campaign season.

And finally, now that Democrats have some power — at least in Congress — there are steps being taken do un-do some of the political damage done to this country of late.  (Well, maybe not)

Here, for example are two important bills working their way through Congress:

Restoration of Habeas Corpus – Americans support this by a large majority.  Here is contact information to reach your Senators. The current vote whip count is here – we are 9 votes short of a GOP filibuster.

UPDATE:  Well, it was rejected.

Webb Amendment to Support/Protect American Troops – This bill is quite simple — it mandates a requirement that U.S. troops get to spend just as much time at home as they do on the front lines.   None of the extended-and-then-reextended tours of duty stuff.  The anti-troops GOP contingent in the Senate is expected to filibuster this as well.  Here is a Senator contact list. Mark Kleiman lays out a strategy for Democrats that is worth reading given the expected change in the behavior of one of the egregious Senators in Congress, who is thankfully retiring – John Warner (R-VA).

By the way, since I am talking about troop deployment….


"In endorsing Gen. David Petraeus’s recommendations on Iraq, President George W. Bush said Thursday night that at least 21,500 U.S. combat forces, plus support troops, could leave Iraq and come home by next July. Curiously, the first military unit designated by Petraeus to return is the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif., north of San Diego.

But the 13th MEU, a support unit that has been in Iraq on its current tour for about three months, was already scheduled to return home from Iraq on Nov. 17. Their new date of arrival under the drawdown plan? Still Nov. 17. Other Marine units have been in Iraq as much as three times longer than the 13th MEU, and some active-duty Army soldiers are serving 15-month tours, the longest of the war. Relatives of the 2,000-member 13th MEU, most of whom have known for more than a month that the unit was coming home, are collectively a bit confused by the inclusion of the 13th MEU in the announcement of troop cuts, and some are even angry.

“I think General Petraeus is using normal circumstances and turning them into some kind of big deal,” says Melissa Hurt, 24, wife of a 13th MEU Sgt. Andy Hurt, 24. Originally from Minnesota, the couple has been married for four years and they have a 9-month-old son. “I don’t understand how this can be called a troop reduction since Andy was already scheduled to come home in November and was not scheduled to return to Iraq. There are guys who’ve been in Iraq for more than a year. They should bring them home first. I know my husband agrees with me.” (…)

Retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, a defense analyst in Ashburn, Va., who supported the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein but is critical of the current strategy, shares the skepticism about the troop reduction and why the general chose this particular Marine unit. “It’s deceitful and ultimately destructive to the credibility of the military and the Bush administration,” he says. “To pretend that this plan is a product of some real decision-making by General Petraeus is appalling, and I’m sure the Marines in this unit and their families are not happy about being used.”"