Will the Senate debate Iraq resolution?

McConnell vows to block debate unless Democrats deal; McCain pushes benchmark mystery plan.

By Tim Grieve
Published February 5, 2007 1:37PM (EST)

Debate begins in the Senate today on a resolution opposing George W. Bush's escalation of the war in Iraq -- or at least it will if the Republicans don't prevent the Senate from even considering the issue.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed Friday that he and his GOP colleagues would block consideration of a compromise, bipartisan resolution backed by most Democrats, John Warner and a smaller group of Republicans if the Democratic majority doesn't also allow votes on at least two Republican alternatives.

Among those alternatives is a measure proposed by John McCain that would set benchmarks for the government of Nouri al-Maliki to meet. If the Maliki government doesn't meet those benchmarks, then the United States would ... the United States would ... well, let's let McCain speak for himself. Faced with the charge that his benchmarks have no teeth, McCain said over the weekend: "Well, the consequences are obvious. I mean, if they're not meeting those benchmarks, then obviously the new strategy isn't succeeding. And I can't tell you what the other options are, because there are no good options to this."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Iraq Iraq War John Mccain R-ariz. Middle East