As Defense Secretary Robert Gates asks Congress for an additional $190 billion for the president's war, the U.S. Senate has finally found an Iraq resolution that can clear the 60-vote hurdle erected by Joe Lieberman and the Republicans.
What kind of bill can do that? A toothless and meaningless one, of course.
After rejecting one measure that would have set a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq and another that would have required the Pentagon to give soldiers longer breaks between tours of duty there, the Senate today gave overwhelming approval to Joe Biden's "sense of the Congress" resolution that says the United States "should actively support a political settlement among Iraq's major factions based upon the provisions of the Constitution of Iraq that create a federal system of government and allow for the creation of federal regions."
Translation: The Senate would be most appreciative if the Bush administration would help Iraqis move toward a federal system of government consisting of separate and largely autonomous regions for Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds -- but only if the president wants to (the resolution is nonbinding) and only if the Iraqis are interested (a change designed to win Republican support added that condition).
Republican Sen. John Warner says the 75-23 vote on the measure "marks the high-water mark of all the many debates and resolutions we've had in terms of bipartisanship." We'll have to hand it to him on that: After all, only 72 senators lined up behind a resolution condemning MoveOn last week.