The Senate and Congress have sent President Bush the Iraq spending bill that he's promised to veto. We hear about the debate, the "surge," timetables for troop withdrawal, and the importance of public opinion. Also, the UN criticizes Maliki government over Iraq's increasing violence and, on Reporter's Notebook, a committee of Congress has subpoenaed Condoleezza Rice to testify about the justification for war. She's not inclined to comply.
FROM THIS EPISODE
The United Nations reports that things are "rapidly worsening" for Iraqis, with violence on the increase as well as the government's practice of forcing confessions from prisoners by torture. The UN criticized the Maliki government for not releasing a count of civilian casualties, but the Los Angeles Times has obtained its own figures from various ministries, as we hear from Tina Susman who's in Baghdad for the Times.
After House approval last night, the Senate today passed the Iraq spending bill that President Bush has promised to veto. Meantime, today's poll by NBC and the Wall Street Journal shows 56% to 37% public support for the withdrawal timetables the President will be rejecting. In a White House effort to sway votes against the bill, the top commander, in Iraq gave closed-door briefings to both the House and the Senate. Today General David Petraeus told reporters the "surge" is making progress. What happens next, when the White House and Congress finally start working toward compromise? Is the "surge" working? Is the war already "lost" from a military standpoint or is victory still possible? How important is public opinion?
Liriel Higa, Reporter, Congressional Quarterly
Julian Barnes, Wall Street Journal (@julianbarnes)
John Harwood, CNBC and the New York Times
Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Lawrence Korb, Center for American Progress Action Fund (@LarryKorb)
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is among those subpoenaed by committees of Congress exerting their "oversight" function in a way not seen since President Bush was inaugurated in 2001. Congress wants to know more about the justifications for the war in Iraq, the firings of US attorneys and White House operatives allegedly mixing politics with public business. Henry Waxman (D-CA), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee says, "A subpoena is not a request; it's a demand for information." In Oslo, Norway, Rice says she's already answered Waxman's questions and is not inclined to comply. Dan Eggen covers Congress for the Washington Post.
Dan Eggen, Reporter, Washington Post