Congress Doing Its Job?! What's This World Coming To?!
(Okay, so it was only for 30 minutes, but it's a start!)
By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2005, 6:17pm PT  

Finally. The United States Congress was allowed 30 minutes by the Republican Majority to debate the War in Iraq!

Yesterday, an amendment by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) to the Pentagon's $491 Billion Appropriation Bill was debated on the floor of congress. Woolsey's amendment called on Bush to begin planning an Exit Strategy for Iraq.

Imagine that! An actual dialogue --- out loud, and on the floor of the U.S. Congress! --- about one of the most botched, illegitimate, ill-conceived and ill-waged foreign policies in the history of the United States of America. One that has taken hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, has made the world more dangerous (by the Pentagon's own admission!) and has no end in sight.

The amendment didn't pass, of course, but the topic is finally being discussed. Albeit all too briefly.

Nonetheless, even five Republicans, one of them Walter Jones (R-NC) of Freedom Fries fame (see yesterday's story on his change of heart and regret over both the fries and the war) voted in favor of the amendment!

Despite the overwhelming defeat, about two-thirds of Democrats voted for it and so did five Republicans Ė a dramatic shift from just a few months ago, when talk of a potential withdrawal was taboo for even the most progressive lawmakers.

Of the five Republicans to vote for Woolsey's amendment, only one, Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina, spoke in favor of it on the House floor. Jones, one of the most conservative members in Congress, led the campaign in 2003 to change French fries to freedom fries.

"We've never voted one time together in my eleven years here," said Jones, referring to Representative Woolsey. "When I voted two years ago to submit the troops, I was making my decisions on facts. Since that time, I've been very disappointed on what I've learned about the justification of going into Iraq. Afghanistan, absolutely, we should be there. We should have more troops, but we can't have more troops there when they're in Iraq."

Read the tea-leaves. Listen to the thunder.