Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Standoff over Iraq

In what the White House insisted was a "dialogue" instead of negotations, President Bush met with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid over the emergency appropriation bills for Iraq and Afghanistan.

During an hourlong meeting at the White House, the president told lawmakers directly he will not sign any bill that includes a timetable for a troop withdrawal, and they made it clear Congress will send him one anyway.

Hmm. Well, I hope the cookies were good. Otherwise that was a rather complete waste of time.

Okay, maybe not totally wasted: the Democrats got in at least one good dig:

Several officials said the session was polite. But they said it turned pointed when Reid recounted a conversation with generals who likened Iraq to Vietnam and described it as a war in which the president refused to change course despite knowing victory was impossible. Bush bristled at the comparison, according to several officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private. One quoted him as saying, "I reject" the comparison.

Actually, it was good simply to have direct talks on the issue so both sides could get a clear sense of the other's mood. Talking through the media is all very well, but there's no good substitute for face-to-face when money and lives are at stake.

NPR's Political Junkie was speculating that Congress would adopt the nonbinding Senate plan, and Bush might sign it. I agree with the former; the latter depends on how Republicans weigh the politics and how strong Bush's connection to reality is the day the bill lands on his desk.

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