Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Opinionator

September 19, 2007, 9:31 am
Political Fight for a Soldiers’ Rest
By Tobin Harshaw
Tags: ,

Although both parties agree that our troops in Iraq are overburdened and under-rewarded, it looks like a plan to give them a bit more time at home is unravelling. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Republican Sen. John Warner said in an interview today that he is ‘reconsidering’ his support of a defense amendment requiring all U.S. troops returning from Iraq be guaranteed more time at home before their next deployment overseas. That could be a serious setback for Senate Democrats — particularly for his fellow Virginian, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, who crafted the amendment.”

The anonymous commentator Digby at TomPaine.com’s Common Sense blog sees a pattern:

The best thing about the grey eminence John Warner finally leaving the Senate is that he will no longer be around to play Lucy pulling the football away from the Democrats at the last minute any more. … Now we find that one of the great statesman Warner’s last acts may be to pull the football out from under Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, whose amendment to allow the military a decent interval between deployments is coming up for a vote. Like clockwork, Warner, who had supported the bill is now saying that he may not since the Bush administration has agreed to his propaganda ploy to bring home a handful of troops for a big Christmas pageant.

The Washington Times’s editorial board, not surprisingly, applauds Senator Warner’s apparent change of heart, saying that the amendment “would effectively cripple the troop surge in Iraq — even as it is demonstrating real success” and “tie the hands of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus, making it impossible to move troops to the battlefield in a timely manner.”

For his part, Senator Webb has forsaken the digitized gabfest and taken his case straight to video, showing once again that in this political cycle, the only consistent winner seems to be YouTube.

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