Despite the looming certainty of a presidential veto, Senate Democrats, along with the help of Republicans Chuck Hegel and Gordon Smith, passed a $123 billion emergency war spending bill, with the added catch that the bill requires President Bush to start withdrawing troops in 120 days, and sets a non binding target date of March 31, 2008 for the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. The passage of this bill sets up a showdown between Congressional Democrats and Republicans that may end up being the defining moment for the future policy direction of the war in Iraq. Republicans contend that setting a deadline for withdrawal would harm the current troops in Iraq and aid the enemy.

Whereas, congressional Democrats do not seem to be as interested in getting the troops out now, but want to get the president to change his war strategy, and start considering the end game for the Iraq war.. The people who could be the real victims here are the troops in the field, and the people of Iraq. I disagree with both the options presented by both parties. I don’t think either withdrawing the troops now, or staying in Iraq indefinitely are good options. These two choices should not be the only options on the table. Personally, I don’t think either side has the guts to let the troops go without funding. Both sides in this fight will look bad, if while they are bogged down in a political debate, the troops are going without essential equipment. The troops didn’t ask to be sent to Iraq, and they are the ones who actually have to risk their lives in a war with dubious motivations.

There has been one huge positive that has come from all this political squabbling. It seems that the government in Iraq is starting to feel the heat and try to get their act together. The one thing that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on is that the Iraqi government has been a huge disappointment. In my opinion, the Democrats are providing a valuable service by challenging a flawed policy that President Bush seems emotionally tied to, but there comes a point where these political Mexican standoffs become counterproductive. Most people want the troops out of Iraq, but the question of how we get them home, is to me, is bigger than the question of should we bring them home?

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse blog radio

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