President Bush addressed the situation in Iraq this weekend by taking a few swipes at congressional Democrats. The president said Democrats are putting U.S. troops in harm’s way by delaying funding for the Iraq war.
The current president was joined by his family for Easter Sunday services with troops at the Army base.
“I had a chance to reflect on the great sacrifice that our military and their families are making. I prayed for their safety, I prayed for their strength and comfort and I pray for peace,” Bush said.
A far more diplomatic version of the blunt attack was in Saturday’s radio address, accusing Democrats of jeopardizing the safety of troops by stalling the war funding bill with provisions calling for withdrawal.
“This emergency war spending bill is not a political statement, it is a source of critical funding that has a direct impact on their daily lives,” Senator Carl Levin said.
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee insisted Democrats will not cut off funding for the war, but will continue to try and find levers to force the president’s hand.
“Well, we’re gonna fund the troops. That’s not gonna be the issue. The question is how can we put pressure on the president to put pressure on the Iraqi leaders to reach a political settlement,” Levin said, but that contradicts the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has now signed on to legislation that would cut off most funding for the war next year.
“I don’t believe there should be an additional drop of American blood shed in Iraq,” Reid said.
The maneuvering is drawing fire from independent Democrat Joe Lieberman, who wants General David Petreaus to get a chance to succeed.
“This is particularly wrong to call for a withdrawal now as the new plan under the new general with new troops is beginning to show encouraging signs,” Lieberman said.
The president, meanwhile, has problems in his own party. Some of his supporters in the funding fight are growing weary about a lack of progress in Iraq.
“Congress is not in a position to micromanage the war, but we do not have any good alternative. Right now, you can’t see the end of the tunnel,” Senator Arlen Specter said.
The president is playing hardball, charging that if he doesn’t get the money soon the Army will be forced to slow funding for critical equipment and training.
Democrats insist there’s enough money to last until July 2007. The only thing that is certain is the clock is ticking and neither side wants to give in.