Seven Republican senators and one independent voted with all 48 Democrats this morning to end debate and vote on an amendment to the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations bill. Jim Webb's amendment would have protected overtaxed American troops by mandating specific minimum intervals between deployments. George W. Bush said Tuesday he'd veto a bill with any such provision, or any timetable to start getting troops out of Iraq.
The Republican defections are interesting news in light of Dan Popkey's column in today's Idaho Statesman, which reports that none of Idaho's four members of Congress plan to question the administration any time soon. One-half of the Idaho delegation - Mike Crapo and Mike Simpson - at least seem like they're getting fed up and might want to take action later this year. Like Bush and the other Republican dead-enders, they're waiting for Gen. David Petraeus' September report on whether Bush's escalation is working.
But senior senator Larry Craig and junior congressman Bill Sali appear ready to fight in Iraq, well, forever. According to Popkey, Sali said Americans "need to accept that the conflict will be 'our children's children's war - that's probably what we're saddled up to right now.'" Craig blames the media for the lack of success in Iraq, adding: "I think Americans sometimes do forget that when you engage terrorists around the world - and this really is an extension of the War on Terror - that this is going to be a long-term approach to a very long-term problem."
That's BS. Yes, we will need to fight terrorism into the foreseeable future, but if Sali and Craig believe that the Iraq War is helping us make progress on that war, rather than inflaming it ... if they believe that preemptive wars based on lies are sound foreign policy ... and if they believe that the media is fueling civil war in Iraq, they are flat out wrong. The decision to invade Iraq was no "extension" of the war on terror. It was a distraction from the real war we were fighting against Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, where Bush chose to drop the ball in March 2003, and it continues not only to be a distraction from the real war on terror but from all manner of problems we face here at home. Maybe George W. Bush, Larry Craig, and Bill Sali are OK with the idea of our grandchildren fighting in Iraq, but I'll be damned if that's the future I see for my progeny, or yours.
Popkey cites Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar's June 25 statement on Iraq as a "sober and constructive case" for leaving Iraq. Unfortunately, Lugar was not one of the senators (Norm Coleman, Susan Collins, Chuck Hagel, Gordon Smith, Olympia Snowe, John Sununu, and John Warner) who voted with the Democrats today, nor were Sens. George Voinovich and Pete Domenici. But all three have joined with the seven above in at least questioning current policy in Iraq. That's more than we can say for the rubber stampers from Idaho.