Five weeks after President Bush won unfettered funding for America to fight the war in Iraq until September, Senate Democrats will try again on Monday to end the war.
Their opening gambit this summer will be three key amendments to the 2008 bill that authorizes defense spending. The bill is set to be marked up on July 9. Most appealing to wavering Republicans will be an amendment offered by a senator who served as President Reagan's secretary of the Navy, a Democrat from Virginia, James Webb. Mr. Webb proposes to lengthen the leave time of active and reserve duty soldiers, making reinforcement of the current surge next to impossible.
Also offering amendments are Senator Feingold of Wisconsin and Senator Levin of Michigan. Mr. Levin, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, would mandate troop withdrawals within four months of the law's passage unless the Iraqi government meets political and security benchmarks. The bill allows Mr. Bush waiver authority. Mr. Feingold's amendment requires the president to withdraw nearly all of the troops in Iraq by the middle of the presidential election season, April 2008.
"We are burning out our ground forces," Mr. Webb said at a press conference alongside Democratic governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, this week. "If we're honest about wanting to support our troops, there's no better place to start than to correct our troop-rotation policy."
Although Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated earlier this year that, for most active-duty troops, the "rotation has often gone to one year overseas, one year home," many troops end up serving for up to 15 months at a time in Iraq, with only 12 months out of the country after that. The Pentagon extended active duty tours for the Army in April.
Talk Show America 7/05/2007