They are, of course, hopping mad. But a bill that continues funding while setting non-binding benchmarks is the only feasible path right now. As long as those benchmarks are extremely clear, and the deadline for their achievement September 15, then politically speaking I think it's the best the Dems and reality-based Republicans can do. If you see the post below, you'll understand the price. But there will be a terrible human price for withdrawal as well. A US withdrawal or redeployment will almost certainly mean a Darfur in Iraq. Unlike Darfur, however, this genocide will have been precipitated by the US, just as its conditions were laid by the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bush occupation strategy. Giving the surge a few more months to see if this genocide has even the slightest chance of being avoided seems to me a defensible position. In fact, I think it's the only morally defensible position.
Presidents do have constitutional lee-way in running a war. If, after three and a half years, the situation is clearly worse than when we started, and there is no hope for progress in the foreseeable future, then the American people will demand an end to it - and Congress will respond with veto-proof majorities. If we discover more information that suggests that al Qaeda is being strengthened rather than weakened by the occupation, then the pressure will be irresistible. And the reality-based Republicans will do what their country needs. Until then, patience is the right counsel, in my view. And a clear maintenance of this president's sole responsibility for the continuing and accelerating disintegration.