Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
News reports have repeatedly characterized the Reed-Levin amendment, which brought the Senate to a halt, as requiring U.S. troops to be out of Iraq by the end of next April. But the actual language of the measure does no such thing.
The amendment — which Republicans prevented from coming up for a vote — called for a "reduction in the number of United States forces in Iraq". It also provided for a "limited presence" and limited missions including training Iraqi forces and counterterrorism. It provided no numbers or any specifics on how much of a reduction in forces, or how big the limited presence would be.
But assuming the Democrats did manage to get U.S. forces out of Iraq, they admit they have no plan in the event of a sectarian bloodbath many acknowledge is likely.
House Appropriations Chairman David Obey tells the Los Angeles Times — "I wouldn't be surprised if it's horrendous. The only hope for the Iraqis is their own damned government, and there's slim hope for that."
And Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky of the "Out of Iraq" Caucus acknowledges the 70 member group has not looked beyond the end of U.S. military involvement.
The Iraq Study Group cautioned that a premature withdrawal would lead to what it called "greater human suffering, regional destabilization and a threat to the global economy."
USA to Blame?
The group that purports to be the preeminent civil rights voice for Muslims in America is blaming the Bush administration for what it calls "Islamaphobia" and says the War on Terror is just making things worse.
The Council on American Islamic Relations held a symposium at the National Press Club in Washington Tuesday. The Washington Times reports CAIR National Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed characterized Bush administration policies as driven by fear, and is irrational and divisive.
All this occurred after CAIR had banned some media outlets who allegedly had given it unfavorable coverage. A reporter from the Washington Times was thrown out after the meeting began.
Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison — the only Muslim member of Congress — is backing off a comparison of President Bush's actions after 9/11 to the actions of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany following the torching of its parliament building in 1933. Ellison said both governments used the attacks as justification to greatly expand their powers.
Ellison told the Associated Press yesterday that — quote — "It was probably inappropriate to use that example, because it's a unique historical event, without really any clear parallels."
Two House Republicans have written to Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking for a reprimand for Ellison. New York Democrat Elliot Engel called Ellison's comments "outrageous" and intolerable."
And the head of the Anti-Defamation League said Ellison's statement — "demonstrates a profound lack of understanding about the horrors that Hitler and his Nazi regime perpetrated."
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.