After spending last week listening to General Petraeus and President Bush make a case for their nominal withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, the Senate will start debating and voting on Iraq policy once again this week. They will revisit the 2008 Defense Authorization bill, and there are a slew of possible amendments relating to Iraq policy.
One of the amendments that seem to have the most traction is being offered by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA). The amendment would require that troops who spend fifteen months on duty in Iraq be allowed at least fifteen months at home. The proposal received 56 votes in July, and there is a strong possibility that it will pick up more this time around. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has already said that President Bush should veto the measure, stating, “The complexity of managing the flow of units, individuals and capabilities to two active combat theaters is enormous and does not lend itself to simplistic, or to simple, legislative prescriptions.”
In addition to the Webb amendment, which is essentially a back-door maneuver to accelerate the rate of withdrawal, there are other proposals that range from shifting the mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism to starting withdrawal within a month and cutting off funds for combat operations by April 30, 2008. Council for a Livable World has compiled a list of possible amendments that could come up in the next couple of weeks.