Washington Matters


Democratic War Funding Rhetoric Unfair


If you're wondering when lawmakers can ever get serious about dropping petty partisanship, which often amounts to shameless distortions of the other guy's position, look no further than the war supplemental bill debate now under way in Congress.

This time it's Democrats making false attacks on Republicans. It's a hollow and almost childish rhetorical tactic that both parties employ when they accuse the other of not supporting the troops - or even possibly endangering them - if they don't pass huge war supplemental funding bills in a flash of urgency. It's a cheap ploy to make an opponent of any part of the war supplemental bill look like they're don't care about soldiers' welfare or are willing to hold up armor plates for military humvees.

It's a cheap ploy to make an opponent of any part of the war supplemental bill look like they're don't care about soldiers' welfare or are willing to hold up armor plates for military humvees.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the latest to use it, saying Huose Republicans are "not going to support the troops" if they vote against the latest war supplemental that contains unrelated funding they object to for the International Monetary Fund.

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House Republicans used the same tactic last year against Democrats, saying the leadership's national security policies were tantamount to not supporting the troops in harms way.

Former President Bush and former Vice President Cheney used the rhetorical jab repeatedly to poke at Democrats who were opposed to invading Iraq and who were less than rushed to pass supplementals. "But the soldiers need food and water," war supporters would say with such urgency. Sen. John Kerry was a target of the attacks in his 2004 race against Bush.

The truth, though, about war supplementals is that they are often not as urgent as they are portrayed to be and that no soldiers or servicemen would be left defenseless against an enemy on the battlefield without the funds.

The billions involved in supplementals will be needed at some point in the future, but the Pentagon has a huge revolving fund for operations, including for military pay and procurement -- bombs to bullets.The revolving fund would not be depleted for many,many months and it could also be restocked by the Defense Department by moving money from myriad other accounts.

Besides, even if the supplemental money was never passed by Congress, troops still wouldn't be in danger. They'd be brough back home on transport ships and planes and the mission would be summarily ended.

 




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