The Democratic Leadership chose to ignore the President's veto threat and pass an Emergency Funding bill full of surrender and pork. Then, promptly left town for Spring Break. Secretary of Defense Gates has told Congress the appropriation is required by April 15th in order to continue to support the troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the bill still has to be reconciled in committee between the House and the Senate, then vetoed by Bush, then go back to Congress so a less stupid appropriations bill can be passed.
Meanwhile, Congress is on Spring Break and the Emergency spending bill need to get bullets to the front is languishing.
Holding off on appropriating the money, is also holding off the planned offensive in the al Qaida stronghold in Diyala province. But Democrats don't care much about fighting our enemies, only Republicans.
To underscore this, Democrats have also decided that it would be a good idea to piss off Turkey; one of Iraq's neighbors, a NATO member, and US ally by passing a symbolic bill that condemns the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire almost a century ago.
Turkey vehemently denies the genocide, in which 1.5 million Armenians died during a period of several years, beginning in 1915. It contends that the deaths occurred in the chaos of war, as the Ottoman Empire was falling apart, and that many Turks were also killed when Armenians sided with Russian forces in the hope of claiming territory in eastern Turkey....
A vote in Congress would be purely symbolic, but Turks have warned that it would be felt as a bitter slap, and could cause enormous public pressure on the government in Ankara to chill its cooperation with Washington, which has strong military ties to Turkey, a NATO member...
In an effort to highlight Turkey’s opposition to a Congressional resolution, many high-ranking Turkish officials have visited Washington in recent months. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, one of them, says that the damage would be very deep if the resolution passed.
“It is only natural that the Turkish public who closely follow the issue would also react to this strongly,” Mr. Gul said in a telephone interview this week. “As the elected government of democratic Turkey, we would not be able to remain indifferent. However, I am confident that common sense would prevail at the Congress.”
Mr. Gates and Ms. Rice, in joint letters, spoke sympathetically of “the horrendous suffering that ethnic Armenians endured” and called for more study of the events. But they also noted that when the French National Assembly voted last year, the Turkish military responded by deciding to “cut all contacts with the French military and terminated defense contracts under negotiation.”
Can we afford to enrage a population from whom we need help in both stabalizing Iraq and persuing the war on terror over a matter that happened 90 years ago by people long dead?
And what ramifications might such a vote have on our troops in Iraq?
Daniel Fried, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, warned in testimony to Congress in mid-March that Turkish wrath could be so strong that Turkey might bar American access to Incirlik Air Base, in eastern Turkey, through which 74 percent of United States military air cargo destined for Iraq passes.
...chose a meeting of the American-Turkish Council in Washington, a business group that promotes American-Turkish cooperation on trade, security and cultural matters, to make a major policy speech on Tuesday. Not only did he describe Turkey as an ally that “I have long believed to be undervalued and underappreciated,” but he made a point of arguing against the genocide resolution.
“Our two nations should oppose measures and rhetoric that needlessly and destructively antagonize each other,” Mr. Gates said Tuesday.
But to a ham-handed, ireesponsible, politically deaf and blind Democratic leadership, it's just another way to ensure defeat for Bush.
Similar Congressional votes have been deferred in the past after intense lobbying. But with strong support for the resolution from Ms. Pelosi, and lingering resentment in Congress over Turkey’s refusal to let United States forces use Turkish soil for the invasion of Iraq, the bill’s prospects may have grown.
“It has 183 sponsors,” said Elizabeth Chouldjian of the Armenian National Committee of America. “It is very likely that if it came up for a vote right now, it would pass.”
And you know what? Most will not even know about or recognize the harm that passage of this bill will do.
Which is just what the Democrats want: Subversion without blame.