The Talking Lion

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The shit is finally starting to hit the fan?

Although it was on page A16 on the bottom of the page, I was happy to see that this piece made it into today's NYT.

With the headline "'Exit Strategy' Is More Than a Whisper in Washington, With Lawmakers Speaking Out" the story mentions the Downing Street Memo and cites it as a factor in the recent push to come up with a way to get our troops out of Iraq. Among those calling for the development of an exit strategy? The "Freedom Fries" guy. No joke. Check it out:

The flurry began over the weekend, when Representative Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, a conservative Republican, called for the Bush administration to set specific goals for leaving Iraq. That came from the man who was once so upset about French opposition to the war that he insisted that House cafeterias change the name "French fries" to "freedom fries."

But it does not end there.

Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, has introduced in the Senate a measure similar to the nonbinding resolution that Mr. Jones is offering. In the House, the International Relations Committee last week voted overwhelmingly, 32 to 9, to call on the White House to develop and submit a plan to Congress for establishing a stable government and military in Iraq that would "permit a decreased U.S. presence" there.

On Thursday, Representative John Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat, will convene a forum on the so-called Downing Street Memo, a leaked document that appeared to suggest the White House had made a decision to go to war in the summer of 2002. Next week, Representative Rahm Emanuel, an Illinois Democrat, is planning to read on the House floor the names of approximately 1,700 Americans who have died in the war.

Though most Republicans are steering clear of the exit strategy discussion, a handful are joining in. One, Representative Ron Paul of Texas, a longtime opponent of the war, has signed onto Mr. Jones's resolution and will join him in meeting reporters on Thursday. Another, Representative Howard Coble of North Carolina, is considering it.

"I'm not suggesting pulling out tomorrow or next month," Mr. Coble, who favored going to war, said Wednesday, "but I want that to be an option. I don't want us to spend an eternity in Iraq. So conceptually, I'm inclined to embrace Walter Jones's proposal."

This is defintiely very promising and more than I ever expected at this point in the game. Of course, this disappointing thing is this story was buried inside the paper and, from what I could tell, there was no talk of this in today's Washington Post at all. But, I guess it's got to start somewhere. Hopefully this will gather some momentum and get more play in the mainstream media. I'm not banking on it, but I'm feeling hesitantly optimistic at this point. After all, the "Freedom Fries" guy is calling on the administration to set specific goals for leaving Iraq. Do you think the Bush administration ever thought it would get to that point?


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