Friday, September 7, 2007

The Last Principled Liberal

If he were not human, he'd be on the Department of Interior's Endangered Species List.

From today's press clippings:

Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Senator Joseph Lieberman opposed a compromise measure suggested by top Senate Democrats that would mandate a starting date for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq while imposing no deadline for completing the pullout.

Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has proposed the less- restrictive measure as a compromise move to entice Republicans and others who, while skeptical of the war, haven't backed earlier Democratic proposals to force a withdrawal.

Lieberman, a Connecticut independent and ardent supporter of a continued troop presence in Iraq, said he won't support Levin's plan. ``The answer is a respectful no,'' Lieberman, 65, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's ``Political Capital with Al Hunt'' scheduled to air this weekend.

Lieberman's opposition makes it less likely that Levin's measure, co-sponsored with Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed, could muster the 60 Senate votes needed to defeat a threatened Republican filibuster or the 67 required to override a presidential veto.

Congress has yet to successfully force any restrictions on the troop presence in Iraq. Two previous measures Levin sponsored with Reed to try to mandate a troop reduction failed to secure the necessary votes.

Most recently, a Levin-Reed proposal that would have required most troops to be withdrawn by April 30, 2008, fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to end debate and move to final consideration in July.

Petraeus Report

Army General David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker next week will give a report that many lawmakers have said will determine whether more Republicans join Democrats in demanding a timetable to withdraw the 168,000 American military personnel in the country.

A study, produced by a commission headed by U.S. military commanders, said yesterday the U.S. could start withdrawing some troops from Iraq early next year if Iraq's army continues to improve its combat capability. Iraq's armed forces were dismantled in May 2003 after the U.S. invasion and are being gradually reconstituted.

Lieberman said there was no longer an appetite for mandating a troop pullout. ``The time for calling for a deadline for total withdrawal, that doesn't seem to be in sympathy here right now,'' Lieberman said. ``That change of political mood'' on Capitol Hill ``is a response to the facts that are improving on the ground in Iraq,'' he said.

Siding with the Bush administration, Lieberman said Iraq is ``significantly more stable than it was six months ago'' thanks to an increase in U.S. troops there. He said he expects the U.S. to have some troop presence in Iraq for a ``number of years.''

Iranian Bases

Lieberman repeated his view that the U.S. should consider taking military action against bases in Iran, where the Bush administration says Iraqi extremists are being trained before being sent back to Iraq to carry out attacks.

``We've said to the Iranians, `you want to have a better relationship, start by stopping this proxy war you're running against us and so far there's been no evidence of that,''' Lieberman said.

``If they don't listen to and respond to these demands of ours, then we have to consider taking military action against those bases where they are training the Iraqi extremists to go back and kill American soldiers,'' Lieberman said, adding that he isn't calling for any ``wide-scale invasion of Iran.''

I am rightfully called a conservative. I believe in conservative values and I stick to them intellectually and honestly. Joe Lieberman is rightfully a liberal. He sticks to his values just as intellectually and just as honestly.

Truth be told, this operation in Iraq should unite Americans of both primary ideologies. The people we fight against are a threat to us all. We are in a fight that affects the next generation, not the next election. We are all Americans. We should all have principles. I am saddened by the fact that Mr. Lieberman seems to be the last man on the left with any principles left.