[[W A R]] * While prominent Republicans, including U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, agonize over the possibility that George W. Bush’s Iraq war will become a major political liability for the GOP during next year’s midterm elections; and as antiwar vigils--sparked by Cindy Sheehan’s well-intentioned protest outside of Bush’s Crawford, Texas, estate--are held nationwide, establishing in no uncertain terms that Americans are rapidly losing faith in the definition of this conflict as a “noble cause,” Senator Russ Feingold has called on the White House to withdraw all U.S. troops from Saddam Hussein’s former homeland by December 31, 2006.
Feingold, a Democratic U.S. senator from Wisconsin who’s been prominent in campaign-finance reform, yesterday “became the first senator to propose a specific deadline for pulling all 138,000 U.S. troops out of Iraq,” according to The Washington Post. In doing so, he laid down a challenge to his fellow congressional Democrats, who have been cautious in their criticism of Bush’s Iraq policies, fearing voter reprisals, but who may discover their backbones strengthened by the favorable response--both in the media and among the public--to Sheehan’s grassroots demand for an end to the increasingly bloody war in Iraq.
“There’s a deepening feeling of dismay in the country about the way things are going in Iraq,” Feingold told the Post. Addressing Bush’s oft-repeated contention that setting a troop withdrawal deadline would only encourage insurgents to hold on, the senator said, “I think he’s wrong. I think not talking about endgames is playing into our enemies’ hand.”
Feingold’s appeal follows a bipartisan U.S. House resolution calling on the Bush administration to submit to Congress, by the end of 2005, a plan for exiting Iraq, and to start implementing that plan no later than October 2006.
READ MORE: “Feingold vs. Bush,” by John Nichols (The Nation); “Democrats: A Split Over War, the Wimp Thing, and How to Win,” by Dick Polman (The Philadelphia Inquirer); “‘Peace Mom’ Leaves Camp, Her Mother Ill,” by Angela K. Brown (AP); “Moral Authority,” by Gary Hart (The Huntington Post); “Why Bush Can’t Answer Cindy,” by Marjorie Cohn (TruthOut).