Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Emergency Supplemental for Iraq War Funding - Jane?

The vote on the Iraq War emergency supplemental is going to be a close one. Progressives are upset at the un-binding and unenforceable nature of the legislation (thanks to the watering down of the legislation at the behest of some Blue Dogs - Harman not being one of them apparently) and they have threatened to vote against it. But despite that, we're willing to accept it as the best that can be had and prepare for the next fight. MoveOn polled its members and found out well over 90% support this legislation. This is from an email I received from MoveOn yesterday:
Dear MoveOn member,

The results are in from our poll on whether to support Speaker Pelosi's proposal on Iraq: 84.6% of MoveOn members voted to support the bill. 9.2% said they weren't sure and 6.2% voted to oppose it.

This note from Ruel B. in California seems to sum up what most MoveOn members feel: "I agree it may not go far enough, but it is a first step. Hopefully, the first step on the road to getting out of Iraq."

The media has spent a lot of time focusing on divisions between the Democrats. But the biggest division is between President Bush, who says he'll veto any timetable for exit, and the voters, who want one.

Where does Jane Harman stand?

Jane Harman's position on the Democratic House leadership's plan is undecided, according to the woman who answered her DC office phone yesterday. Unless there are big changes to the bill, she will "probably" support it, but she won't be making up her mind on it until it's actually voted on.

While she might like to keep it ambiguous as to why she's only tentatively supporting this legislation (ie. Is it because it goes too far or not far enough to restrict Bush?), she's already said that she'll vote for the Iraq supplemental previously. Given that, it's pretty clear that she would be coming down on the side of trying to water the thing down, not make it stronger.

Now that it's about as watered down as can be, it's unfortunate that she can't bring herself to announce her support ahead of time.

She's going to rile a lot of people up if she votes against this, that's for sure.


Anonymous Dixiecrat said...

I found this in the London Times
Things are looking up to get out with a success. If the Iraqis are finally getting interested in having their own show, then we can leave. That would be BIG !!! Maybe the motivation is that the threat of leaving is giving them backbone.

March 18, 2007
Resilient Iraqis ask what civil war?
Marie Colvin
DESPITE sectarian slaughter, ethnic cleansing and suicide bombs, an opinion poll conducted on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq has found a striking resilience and optimism among the inhabitants.

The poll, the biggest since coalition troops entered Iraq on March 20, 2003, shows that by a majority of two to one, Iraqis prefer the current leadership to Saddam Hussein’s regime, regardless of the security crisis and a lack of public services.

The survey, published today, also reveals that contrary to the views of many western analysts, most Iraqis do not believe they are embroiled in a civil war.

Officials in Washington and London are likely to be buoyed by the poll conducted by Opinion Research Business (ORB), a respected British market research company that funded its own survey of 5,019 Iraqis over the age of 18.

Related Links
Iraqis: life is getting better
A turning point for Iraq
Violence slashed as troop surge hits Baghdad
The 400 interviewers who fanned out across Iraq last month found that the sense of security felt by Baghdad residents had significantly improved since polling carried out before the US announced in January that it was sending in a “surge” of more than 20,000 extra troops.

The poll highlights the impact the sectarian violence has had. Some 26% of Iraqis - 15% of Sunnis and 34% of Shi’ites - have suffered the murder of a family member. Kidnapping has also played a terrifying role: 14% have had a relative, friend or colleague abducted, rising to 33% in Baghdad.

Yet 49% of those questioned preferred life under Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, to living under Saddam. Only 26% said things had been better in Saddam’s era, while 16% said the two leaders were as bad as each other and the rest did not know or refused to answer.

Not surprisingly, the divisions in Iraqi society were reflected in statistics — Sunnis were more likely to back the previous Ba’athist regime (51%) while the Shi’ites (66%) preferred the Maliki government.

Maliki, who derives a significant element of his support from Moqtada al-Sadr, the hardline Shi’ite militant, and his Mahdi army, has begun trying to overcome criticism that his government favours the Shi’ites, going out of his way to be seen with Sunni tribal leaders. He is also under pressure from the US to include more Sunnis in an expected government reshuffle.

The poll suggests a significant increase in support for Maliki. A survey conducted by ORB in September last year found that only 29% of Iraqis had a favourable opinion of the prime minister.

Another surprise was that only 27% believed they were caught up in a civil war. Again, that number divided along religious lines, with 41% of Sunnis believing Iraq was in a civil war, compared with only 15% of Shi’ites.

The survey is a rare snapshot of Iraqi opinion because of the difficulty of working in the country, with the exception of Kurdish areas which are run as an essentially autonomous province.

Most international organisations have pulled out of Iraq and diplomats are mostly holed-up in the Green Zone. The unexpected degree of optimism may signal a groundswell of hope at signs the American “surge” is starting to take effect.

This weekend comments from Baghdad residents reflected the poll’s findings. Many said they were starting to feel more secure on the streets, although horrific bombings have continued. “The Americans have checkpoints and the most important thing is they don’t ask for ID, whether you are Sunni or Shi’ite,” said one resident. “There are no more fake checkpoints so you don’t need to be scared.”

The inhabitants of a northern Baghdad district were heartened to see on the concrete blocks protecting an Iraqi army checkpoint the lettering: “Down, down with the militias, we are fighting for the sake of Iraq.”

It would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. Residents said they noted that armed militias were off the streets.

One question showed the sharp divide in attitudes towards the continued presence of foreign troops in Iraq. Some 53% of Iraqis nationwide agree that the security situation will improve in the weeks after a withdrawal by international forces, while only 26% think it will get worse.

“We’ve been polling in Iraq since 2005 and the finding that most surprised us was how many Iraqis expressed support for the present government,” said Johnny Heald, managing director of ORB. “Given the level of violence in Iraq, it shows an unexpected level of optimism.”

Despite the sectarian divide, 64% of Iraqis still want to see a united Iraq under a central national government.

One statistic that bodes ill for Iraq’s future is the number who have fled the country, many of them middle-class professionals. Baghdad has been hard hit by the brain drain — 35% said a family member had left the country.

Additional reporting: Ali Rifat

ORB interviewed a nationally representative sample of 5,019 Iraqi adults between February 10-22. The margin of error was +/- 1.4%

5:28 PM  
Blogger PeterB said...

Uh, OK -- life is better than under Saddam. They are setting the bar pretty low there, don't you think?

I'd say if you look at the recent poll by ABC News, you get nothing like that rosy picture...

11:38 PM  
Anonymous dixiecrat said...

Everybody's first apartment/home after they leave their parent's house is a pale comparison, but it's theirs. In time they make it better.
Do you want the Iraqi's to be successful?

4:40 AM  
Blogger PeterB said...

That a doozy of an analogy. Do you really think that's what we've done in Iraq?

If only it mattered what I wanted.

7:47 AM  

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