Knowing When It’s Time to Go

It’s not clear how much longer Bush will override Congress’ Iraq timetables. But in doing so he is flagrantly ignoring public opinion.

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President Bush recently vetoed a proposal that would have provided additional funds for the Iraq war with the requirement that specific dates be set for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Bush remains adamant about refusing to set a timeline or withdrawal date, essentially forcing Congress to jettison this provision or risk not funding the troops in Iraq. 

It is not clear how much longer Bush can continue to successfully override Congress’ calls for dates and timetables. What is clear is that by doing so he is going directly and flagrantly against the public will.

Let’s look at the original proposal that he vetoed. As the chart below shows, the public favored that proposal by a 57-41 margin.

And sentiment is even stronger on the more general question of whether we should set a withdrawal date. As the chart below shows, the public was split down the middle on this question in 2005. But the public now favors setting a timetable for withdrawal—and sticking to that timetable—by a 59 percent to 36 percent margin.


These sentiments couldn’t be clearer.  Even for an administration that has been notable for ignoring public sentiment, this level of obliviousness is truly stunning.

For more information on the public opinion on this issue, see:

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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