Iraq Round-Up!

If you don't have the time to keep up with all of the day-to-day events in Iraq or follow the ins and outs of the latest policy squabble in DC, AlterNet's new War on Iraq newsletter can keep you up to speed on the most important issue facing the United States today.

Every week, you'll get highlights of AlterNet's Iraq coverage, the best pieces from dozens of other sources around the world and a concise review of the most important stories of the past week delivered right to your inbox. Here's the first round-up. Sign up for this free weekly service here.

In Washington this week, there was much talk of "redeployment" and "redefining" the Iraq "mission," as lawmakers debated the fine print on a whopping $650 billion defense bill for 2008 that will include plenty of money for the occupation to go on. The Congressional Research Service reports that war costs now exceed $12 billion per month, up more than a third from previous estimates.

Intelligence officials testified before Congress this week that the situation had shown "no improvement" and an interim progress report mandated by Congress found that none of the White House's "benchmarks" for progress in matters political, economic, or military have been met. That hasn't stopped the White House from spinning its own report; none of the goals had been met, they acknowledge, but they also touted at least some "progress" in 8 out of 18 issue-areas.

More prominent Republicans began making noises about jumping from the SS Bush as Olympia Snowe (ME) joined Richard Lugar (In), Pete Domenici (NM) and George Voinovich (OH) in calling, at least in theory, for at least a troop "draw-down." It's not much, but it is enough to make the White House jumpy about losing support from within their own party. Senior administration officials, including Condi Rice, reportedly shuttled back and forth to Capitol Hill to shore up support among wavering Republicans.

Consistent with the pattern, it seems to have worked; Lugar, Voinovich and Domenici all supported a filibuster on Tuesday that blocked Virginia Democrat Jim Webb's proposal to guarantee U.S. troops get adequate time at home between deployments.

Meanwhile, it's getting tough to sort out the various proposals for "withdrawal" that the Dems are falling all over themselves trying to get into the spotlight. Spencer Ackerman at TalkingPointsMemo runs down the competing proposals. None of them have enough votes to pass. The argument is that there is political rather than legislative value in bringing the measures before Congress, and that these votes are part of a larger strategy to unify Dems from across the party's ideological spectrum while splitting off Republican legislators and isolating the White House. Color us unconvinced.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.