A Long Night In The Senate

The Senate is waging an all-night debate to try to force the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. The bill being debated – a plan to begin withdrawal of US combat troops in 120 days and complete the withdrawal by April 1, 2008 – passed through the House of Representatives last week relatively smoothly, and now faces stiff resistance in the Senate. In order to end debate, the bill will need a vote of 60 or more in favor: but even with Republican defectors, it seems unlikely at this point that Democrats will obtain their 60 votes.

The most compelling argument for withdrawal seems to be that the very threat of withdrawing will force the present Iraqi government to step up its efforts to reconcile the differences among its various groups, and establish secure control over the country. President Bush has refused to consider any troop withdrawals until General Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, returns to Washington in September to report on the progress of the 30,000-man troop Surge.

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