The White House has reportedly tacked on an additional $46 billion to its upcoming funding request for Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing the total to a breathtaking $196.4 billion for a single budgetary year — and assuming this passes as is, there could even be more supplemental spending bills down the road.This is another opportunity for the Democratic leadership in Congress to push for a withdrawal from Iraq. Given that President Bush vetoed legislation that tied funding to a withdrawal deadline, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid should up the ante a little more and cap funding in Iraq to those expenses necessary for winding up current operations and withdrawing troops.
And it should be a hard cap as well.
For the Democratic leadership at this point, it's a matter of choosing the way they're going to get pounded. If they pass withdrawal legislation, the Republicans will go after them with every tool in their smearing playbook. If the Democratic leadership doesn't pass withdrawal legislation, they'll be criticized by the progressive wing of the party and discourage Democratic voters more generally. They found that out after the last round of political combat over funding the Iraq War. Democratic voters were tremendously dissatisfied over the failure of the leadership to end the war and registered their disappointment in low approval ratings for Congress.
In the final irony, failure to pass troop withdrawal legislation won't help them with the right-wing either. All Limbaugh, Coulter, and Hannity would do is switch from the accusations of treason they were making last spring to a big round of gloating over the cowardice and ineffectiveness of the Democratic leadership.
Given that they're going to be hammered no matter what they do, the Democratic leadership should just bite the bullet and refuse to fund anything about the Iraq War except the withdrawal of American forces from their current combat roles.