Thursday, March 29, 2007

Question The Withdrawal? Withdraw The Question!

The Senate has passed the spending bill for the Iraq war, which includes about $120 billion in pork and a little language suggesting a withdrawal date for the troops. The president will veto it.

Predictably there has been a lot of talk about how the dems are trying to "snatch defeat from the jaws of progress" as Joe Lieberman put it. The vote will be framed as the Democrats refusing to fund the troops. This is George Bush's "Now look what you made me do!" talking point, and it's very effective among those with emotional ages of 6 or below.

There is much not to like about a timetable because it's a compromise. You either believe we're winning, in which case a timetable is a terrible idea; or you believe we've already lost, in which case we should be hopping on those choppers home right now. Nobody believes at this point that we've won. And anyone who publicly suggests that we're winning is beaten down, as was John McCain this week, by a heavy pelting of facts.

So as far as most Americans go, the question is "now" vs. "soon as possible".

As an interesting side point, the funding for the war comes mostly from emergency spending bills. Why is this? Because in the real budget, the one the administration claims to be balancing, the war is utterly underfunded. A perfectly workable solution as long as congress agrees with your war plan; not so much now.

And one more side point, about that pork. That'll get a lot of play in the right wing blogs, but I'd be curious to compare it to a typical war-spending bill during the Republican years. Bob Cesca at HuffPo resurrects pictures of Bush signing the bill that introduced Ted Stevens' "bridge to nowhere" amendment. Vetoing pork hasn't been a number one priority for the big fellah. Just sayin'.

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