News that shouldn't be news: The Senate has just voted 89-9 to consider a Democratic proposal that would call on George W. Bush to remove most U.S. combat troops from Iraq by this time next year. As the Associated Press notes, the vote paves the way for the Senate's "first formal debate on Iraq since the Democrats took control of Congress in January."
Voting against the debate: Republican Sens. Wayne Allard, Kit Bond, Jim Bunning, Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, Mike Enzi, Orrin Hatch, James Inhofe and Craig Thomas.
The measure that will be debated -- and, ultimately, defeated -- is Senate Joint Resolution 9, which would declare that the president "shall promptly transition the mission of United States forces in Iraq" to the following "limited purposes":
" Commencement of Phased Redeployment From Iraq: The president shall commence the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution, with the goal of redeploying, by March 31, 2008, all United States combat forces from Iraq except for a limited number that are essential for the following purposes: (1) Protecting United States and coalition personnel and infrastructure; (2) Training and equipping Iraqi forces; (3) Conducting targeted counter-terrorism operations. "
The resolution says that the withdrawal should be implemented as part of a "comprehensive diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community for the purpose of working collectively to bring stability to Iraq."