As predicted, Sen. Levin and Sen. Reed's proposal to begin troop redeployment from Iraq by year's end was voted down in the Senate today, 60-39. From an email sent by Sen. Levin today:
Although our amendment was defeated today 60-39, I am pleased that 39 Senators united behind a policy that would have changed the Bush Administration's current open-ended commitment of U.S. forces in Iraq. And I am disappointed that all but one Republican Senator lined up in lock step to oppose our amendment and rubber-stamp the Bush Administration's policy.
This is all completely beyond my understanding. I continue to be amazed that this war goes on -- with not the slightest move in sight to get our people out of there. "We have to finish what we started," is what we keep hearing from the Bush administration. Nevermind that "what we started" was purportedly for completely different reasons than the reasons given now. Not to mention that the President's statement that the future of our forces in Iraq “will be decided by future Presidents" cements a commitment that is downright scary.
From Sen. Levin's comments on the amendment:
Beginning the phased redeployment of American troops in 2006 would send a very clear message to the Iraqis: ... You, the Iraqis, must now decide whether you want a civil war or a nation.
Sending that message to the Iraqis and ending the open-ended U.S. policy towards Iraq will prod the Iraqis to take the necessary steps to end the dominance of the militias; will reduce the Iraqi dependence on the U.S. security blanket which deters tough choices by the Iraqis; will change the perception that we are permanently occupying Iraq, a perception which plays into the hands of terrorists; will reduce the number of U.S. targets for terrorists and insurgents; and will reduce the strain on U.S. forces.
Supporters of our amendment are just as determined to maximize prospects for success in Iraq as are the opponents of our amendment. We do not accuse opponents of our amendment of wanting failure or of advocating surrender to chaos and terror. We do believe that maintaining the status quo and the open-ended commitment, which is the hallmark of that status quo and that open-ended commitment, and adhering to a bumper sticker slogan of “stay the course'’ is a recipe for continuing instability and failure.
Read Sen. Levin's entire commentary on the admendment here