August 20th, 2007
03:42 PM ET
4 years ago

Levin wants Iraqis to oust current government

Levin recently visited Iraq.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is calling for a new government in Iraq, saying his trip there last week convinced him that Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is too sectarian and cannot create a stable Iraq.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, was blunt in a Monday conference call with reporters. “I hope the Iraqi Assembly, when it reconvenes in two weeks will vote the Maliki government out of office,” he said.

Levin credited American troops with a visible decrease in violence in Iraq. But the Armed Services chairman insisted military force alone cannot stabilize the country. Levin said Iraq could erupt into more internal bloodshed, with its army dividing against itself, unless leaders in Baghdad reach tough political compromise. And he insisted Maliki can’t do that.

“The Maliki government is non-functional,” the Michigan Democrat said, “and cannot produce a political settlement because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders.”

Levin visited Iraq with the ranking Republican on the committee, Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia. The two men issued a more nuanced joint statement together, saying that current Iraqi leaders may be facing their “last chance” and that if they fail the government and people need to judge “what actions should be taken…to form a true unity government.”

In contrast, Levin’s comments were among the most directly critical of the Maliki government from Washington leaders. The Iraqi prime minister, a Shia leader, is struggling for support as Sunnis and others have walked out of his coalition in past months.

President Bush has sidestepped direct criticism of Maliki, but recently his tone has been less confident. Last November, Mr. Bush declared Maliki, “the right guy for Iraq.” Two months ago, when asked if he still felt that way, the president instead responded, “I believe that he understands that there needs to be serious reconciliation and they need to get the law passed.”

Congress and the White House are preparing for a fiery Iraq debate in September as progress reports are finalized.

– CNN Radio's Lisa Goddard


Filed under: Carl Levin • Iraq
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Jim, New Hampshire

    HomeoftheBrave,

    Congress cannot do much law making when every single constructive bill that goes to the President's hand is vetoed. Blame the President homie!

    August 21, 2007 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  2. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Jim, New Hampshire ~

    "Congress cannot do much law making when every single constructive bill that goes to the President's hand is vetoed. Blame the President homie!"

    Yo, Jim, can you provide for us all the instances when President Bush stopped lawmakers by using a veto? It must be a huge number!

    Oh wait – it's been TWICE in 7 years?

    Either YOU'RE unaware of Bush's record on vetoes or you're saying congress has only put together 2 pieces of meaningful legislation in 7 years.

    Which is it?

    August 21, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    All of a sudden the talking points are changing as more politicians and more IMPORTANTLY our Generals are saying that the surge is having some success?

    Now Levin and other must go after the government leaders (who I frankly have no use for, taking a month off while we fight for their freedom?) BUT....who were elected by the people.

    Let them decide who is in charge of their own country as that will be the only way to legitimize the Government.

    Time is running ought though for them to get their act together.

    August 21, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Jon, Sacramento .. funny how you forget those RECORD number of signing statements he used to dilute many of the laws he "passed" instead of vetoed.

    They were all basically written while he drinking his juice from his sippy cup and say (in crayon): "WAAAAAA! I don't wannna follow this law ... and you can't MAKE me! WAAAAAA!"

    Ready to start spinning now?

    three .. two .. one ...

    GO!

    August 22, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Rick ~ Chicago,

    Hopefully the Riddlin will kick-in and you can follow along....

    Jim from New Hampshire wrote,
    "Congress cannot do much law making when every single constructive bill that goes to the President's hand is VETOED. Blame the President homie!"

    Now surely you have good reading comprehension skills and I don't have to direct you to Jim's specific mention of VETO?

    Again, Rick, help us out here... HOW many times has President Bush actually used a veto?

    It's a simple question. Come on – help us out, Rick. You can do it! If you can count up to 3 using your fingers you'll pass the number along the way.

    Need help yet?

    August 22, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  6. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Jon, Sacramento Ca

    Ummm ... feel free to reflect on my original post if you need to, but ...

    Did I mention ANYTHING about Dubya VETOING anything?

    Did I say I agreed with Jim's statement? Or that I thought it was historically factual?

    If you're accusing me of EITHER of the above, you must have obviously flunked your English as a Second Language course. Because (and by all means feel free to reflect on my original post if you need to) the answer to ALL of my questions posed above would be a resoundingly apparent NO.

    Are you saying that signing statements AREN'T another way to dilute laws and circumvent having to follow them as they are written when you DON'T choose to veto them?

    Yes or No? One word. Thats all I need from you in the next post.

    And no answering my question with OTHER questions either.

    Just YES or NO will be fine.

    LOL! Looks like YOU'RE the one that's gonna "need some help" spinning out of this one .... especially since the Republican debate tactic of accusing me of making a point I never made didn't quite work eh?

    August 23, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  7. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Rick in Chicago,

    I'll take your resistance to answer my question (How many vetoes has Bush used) as your agreeing with me the Jim/New Hampshire is off base.

    Specifically your question,
    "Are you saying that signing statements AREN'T another way to dilute laws and circumvent having to follow them as they are written when you DON'T choose to veto them?"

    Signing Statements ARE a way the Executive Branch can disagree – disavow certain aspects of legislation – yet allowing the legislative process to continue.

    Signing Statements date back to James Monroe (early 1800s). FDR, Carter, Regan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2 – have all used them.

    Is President Bush breaking the law, Rick?

    August 24, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Jon, Sacramento Ca,

    1) Couldn't just say yes or no eh?

    LOL .. of course not! You would have looked like crap if you did. So you spun your one word answer ("NO") into "Signing Statements ARE a way the Executive Branch can disagree – disavow certain aspects of legislation – yet allowing the legislative process to continue."

    Nice try!

    Thanks for showing you agree with their intent via your "disavow certain aspects of legislation" though.

    2) I don't care if Bush vetoed once or 1,000 times. I didn't agree with Jim, nor did I agree with you on the issue. In fact, I didn't say ANYTHING on the veto issue at all.

    My point is that he's made up for his extremely few vetoes with an extremely high (RECORD) number of signing statements.

    3) I don't care when signing statements date back to. It's a needless point, since I didn't claim a date of origin. The point was that Dubya has used a RECORD number of them to dilute laws rather than veto them.

    Translation: He has TWO means of defanging legislation he doesn't like – veto it OR a slap a signing statement on it.

    4) I could care less if he is breaking the law or not since, like with your veto and "origin of the signing statement" redirections above, I never made a statement on that issue one way or another. So, basically, you have two poor spin attempts and one useless question in a single post.

    Now stop arguing points I didn't make – it makes you look like an idiot. You do this repeatedly. And if you CONTINUE to do so, I'll just ignore your posts entirely.

    August 26, 2007 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
1 2