Having secured a majority in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives, the Democrats have failed to pass even a symbolic bill criticising George Bush’s plans to send an extra 21,500 troops to Baghdad.
This follows overwhelming Democrat support for Bush’s request for an extra $380 billion in war funding. There was also a unanimous vote by Democrat senators to confirm Bush’s choice of General David Petraeus – a leading supporter of the “surge” plan – to be commander of US forces in Iraq.
The Democrats in the Senate spent weeks negotiating with the minority Republicans over the wording of a bill critical of Bush’s “surge”.
They eventually agreed the bill would be “non-binding” on the president – retreating from a binding motion which would have halted the troop increase.
Even that was too much for the Republican minority. They at first agreed they’d vote to allow a debate, but one restricted to “verbal criticism” of Bush. Having secured that, the Republicans then blocked any debate.
Despite this humiliation, the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives has tabled another “non-binding” resolution for discussion there. Once again, the resolution does nothing to stop Bush’s “surge” or the extra spending involved.
There is growing frustration among those who voted Democrat in huge numbers last year, believing that they would help halt the Iraq war.
But it is their own power as a mass movement that can halt the carnage in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the Middle East.