Tag Archives: Levin

Wiggling Out Of Iraq

Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, admitted the time table for withdrawing US troops from Iraq is not written in stone and has some flexibility. He indicated President Obama would be happy if the vast majority of American troops were out of Iraq within his sixteen months goal, and would not be that upset if a few thousand still remained. “It there wiggle room,” he posed to reporters, and answered: s”yes. Is there a lot of wiggle room? No.” He also told the media ending the ban on gays in the service was on the agenda of his committee and it would be among the initial issues to pursue.

There are over 300 military bases in Iraq. Before leaving, American forces must ensure each of these bases has been made environmentally secure as well as cleared of all mines in order to prevent problems for the citizens of Iraq. We can not just leave without respecting environmental needs of the region and its people. This may require more time than originally planned.

$30 Billion Iraq Government-Succcess Or Failure?

As General Petraeus and Ambasador Crocker, prepare to offer their ideas on the past, present, and future of Iraq, some Democratic congressmen are raising questions about the famous surge. Senator Carl Levin of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, wants to know why the Iraq government has accumulated a sum of $30 billion which rests in US banks drawing interest while the American public is paying high prices for gasoline. “I want the details,” said Levin, “I’m going to be pressing the ambassador about the funding issues.” However, the main topic of discussion will center on the success or failure of the surge durng the past few months. Senator Joseph Biden of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wants to know: “Where are we after the surge? Back to where we were before it started, with 140,000 troops in Iraq and no end in sight?

Republican supporters of the surge argue the surge worked and fatalities are down. They point to examples of new legislation passed by the Iraq legislature and actions to confront violence by the government of Prime Minister Maliki. Or, as Biden raises, have we gone “from drowning in Iraq to treading water?” The Iraq government still requires the presence of 140,000 American troops despite five years of fighting.

In the end, the war in Iraq has always centered on political issues, not military. The Maliki government has failed to win the trust or support of Sunni members of their nation and divisions within the predominant Shiites continue to divide the country. Until those factors are addressed, fighting will continue in Iraq.

US Senate Leaders Say Surge Failure

Senator Carl Levin, chair of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, said he expects General Petraeus and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Charles to urge maintaining the current trops levels instead of pushing for a planned reduction in force. He admits the Democratic leadership lacks the necessary 60 votes to force a vote on the Iraq situation and thus President Bush will most probably continue the present situation into the near future. Senator Joseph Biden emphasized that President Bush had argued more troops in Iraq would create stability in that nation, but the evidence is clear Iraq is an unstable country because Prime Minister Maliki has failed to build bridges to opposition Sunni leaders. “It’s a little llike Groundhog Day,” said Biden, referring to the 1993 movie in which the same day repeats again and agin, “we are right back where we strated.”

Bush sold America on the idea dispatching more troops meant Iraq had a shot at stability. The level of violence declined for several months, but during the past three months there has been a steady rise in the number of violent incidents. The botched attempt by Prime Minister Maliki in Basra clearly demonstrates his government’s inabiity to establish political stability, anymore then military.