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John Kerry on the Vote on Kerry-Feingold-Boxer-Leahy Amendment

by Pamela Leavey

Today, the Republican controlled Senate rejected two proposals on withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq — “one that set a deadline for a pullout and the other that stopped short of establishing a timetable.” Both the Levin amendment and the Kerry-Feingold amendment were voted down in a clear statement of how out of touch the Senate is with the public sentiment of the American people on the Iraq war.

13 Senators voted for the Kerry-Feingold amendment today:

Daniel Akaka, Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, Russell Feingold, Tom Harkin, Daniel Inouye, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, Frank Lautenberg, Patrick Leahy, Robert Menéndez, Ron Wyden, and James Jeffords.

The Kerry-Feingold amendment would have redeployed “U.S. combat forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007, with a rapid reaction force staged elsewhere in the Middle East. Troops to conduct targeted counter-terrorism operations, those essential to finish training Iraqi security forces, and those needed to protect U.S. personnel and facilities would remain in Iraq.” John Kerry released the following statement on the Senate vote on the Kerry-Feingold amendment:

“This vote today was a dramatic step forward in forcing a Congress that shares responsibility for getting us into Iraq to take responsibility for finally getting the policy right in Iraq.

“It was a vote to do what’s right for our troops, our country, and Iraq. Our numbers are growing and our ability to apply constant pressure to change course is stronger than it was just a week ago.

“Setting a deadline to redeploy U.S. troops from Iraq is necessary for success in Iraq and victory in the war on terror. Iraqi politicians have proven they only respond to deadlines – a deadline to transfer authority, deadlines to hold two elections and a referendum, and a deadline to form a government. Now we need another deadline to get Iraq up on its own two feet. Our troops have done their part, it’s time for the politicians in Iraq and the United States to do their job.

“Half the names on the Vietnam Wall are there because old men in Washington were too proud to admit a mistake, so they kept sending young men to stay a course they knew was not working. ‘Stay the course’ is not a strategy for victory in Iraq and the War on Terror. This administration is wrong. It is time to get Iraq right.”

The WaPo reports that Dem Minority leader Harry Reid denounced the “‘partisan games’ being played by the White House.” Interesting statement considering Reid was no help what-so-ever in supporting the Kerry-Feingold amendment. It appears to me that Reid played right into the Republican’s hands by not standing by those Senators who had the courage to truly demand “a change of course.” Instead Reid offered up a non-binding agreement by way of the Levin amendment, creating a division among the Dem caucus. Way to go Harry. Reid, who said today, “Demanding a change of course is not unpatriotic. It’s the right thing to do,” — clearly dropped the ball on this one.

18 Responses to “John Kerry on the Vote on Kerry-Feingold-Boxer-Leahy Amendment”



    Because herding cats is virtually impossible.

  3. Pamela – We’ve traded emails on many occasions. But seriously, Reid didn’t create the division, it is real in the Democratic Party. So what? Even Paul Pegala respects it.

    But I have to say, with all due respect, your post is naive in the extreme. Harry Reid didn’t play into the Republicans’ hands. He screwed John Kerry outright.

    Harry Reid Sticks it to John Kerry

  4. Taylor

    The division is real – we all know it – some still feel the need to play along with the Republicans, or play into their hands as I put it. We both have a distinct style in writing, call mine naive if you like.

    My statement is based a recent discussion about the Dem caucus still being afraid to vote against the Republicans. Sorry, I can not name the source.

  5. I have to say that I do not stand with Senators Kerry and Feingold on this one. This does not, in any way, mean that I stand with the Repugnantcans. I happen to disagree with the idea of setting a date for withdrawal. We do need definable parameters for redeployment of US troops from Iraq. However, IMHO, the parameters should be based on conditions on the ground, and not a page on the calendar. There should be a binding resolution setting out the specific conditions that must be met. Once a certain number of Iraqi troops are trained to a certain standard, a certain number of American soldiers come home. Once electricity and water are restored to a certain portion of Iraq, a certain number of Americans come home. This sort of thing would leave the Repugs with nothing to argue against. There’s nothing arbitrary about conditions like that.

  6. Kelly

    Kerry-Feingold sets time frames to get these things done. Think of a business running on time schedule to get a job done – you don’t just say we’ll get it done whenever. That’s incredibly unrealistic. Set a schedule and then work to meet it. As Kerry explained yesterday, there are provisos in the amendment incase the deadlines aren’t met.

  7. Hey Pamela. This isn’t about your style of writing. The truth is that you don’t need a source to figure out the Democrats are scared. We all know that, because it was on parade today.

  8. Taylor

    You and I know what’s going on – there’s still some folks who don’t. Given the fact that there is already a division in the caucus, if (and that’s a big IF) Reid had stepped up and put the pressure on the caucus instead of offering up a useless amendment, things might have gone a little differently.

    Too late now – Kerry will keep at it and we’ll still have his back!

    By the by, sorry things didn’t work out to meet last week – hopefully we’ll have another opportunity.

  9. Yeah, sorry you couldn’t make it to Take Back America. It was great.

    We’re on the same side, my friend.

    Big post over at FDL, so stop by:


  10. Sens. Kerry, Feingold, Boxer and Leahy got it right and deserve to be applauded. At this point, there can be no compromise with Bush’s failed policy in Iraq. It’s not enough to generally support an amorphous withdrawal of troops at some undefined point in the future. The country needs to learn from its past mistakes. The shame of it all is that our troops are being killed on a daily basis; they’re paying the price for this foreign policy disaster.

  11. Read an analysis that explains how Iraq may be the focal point of a Republican October surprise…here:


  12. Right on Greg there is no compromising with the GOP on Iraq.

    The dems are scared alright and the 6 that voted with the GOP today are dare I say cowardly.

    Taylor and Pamela are both right about Reid, he screwed Kerry over big time and he enjoyed doing it. A lot of dems enjoyed it and think they can humilate Kerry enough he won’t run in 08 and he will fade away like Gore did.

    Reid did drop the ball and many of the dems including hil, biden, dodd, obama, reid, nelson of Fla and a host of others played into Karl Rove hands like the pawns they are.

    I’m sure their are several October suprises in store for the elections with Rove on the loose and Chenney recovered from his buckshot tribulations.

    And from the looks of today the majority of dems won’t be prepared for the October suprise and will loose their seats and I hate to say but good. They need to get a spine or get the hell off the front line.

  13. Screw the conditions on the ground crap. The Iraqis are killing each other and Iran is just waiting around to pick the pieces. Really, all we can do step back (and get our people out of the line of fire) and let these people take care over their own business. This is insane.

    This is a basically political/civil problem. NOT a terrorist problem.

    You want to fight terrorist on a battle field – go to Afghanistan! IRAQ IS BLEEDING US DRY!!!

  14. Kerry-Feingold isn’t a full withdrawal.
    It does not define the number of troops sufficient to “conduct targeted counter-terrorism operations, those essential to finish training Iraqi security forces, and those needed to protect U.S. personnel and facilities would remain in Iraq”

    Given the situation on the ground, that would still be tens of thousands of troops.

  15. I agree with BlueMontana.
    War is over, we won.
    Occupation is a losing cause.
    We’re caught in the crossfire, with occasional hits from AQI.
    Once we leave, Iraqi factions will destroy AQaeda.

  16. Red Montana

    Me thinks you probably haven’t read the amendment. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Obama Takes a Kerry-esque Stance on Iraq

    Barack Obama, who claims to be contemplating an ‘08 presidential run called for a “gradual and substantial” reduction of U.S. troops from Iraq, on Monday, that would begin within four to six months.
    Speaking to the Chicago Council …

  18. John Kerry Joins Reid as Co-Sponsor of Feingold Measure to Change Course in Iraq

    Today, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that they are introducing new legislation that will “effectively end the current military mission in Iraq and begin the redeployment of U.S. forces.&#8221…