This morning on Meet the Press, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) took Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to task for spouting “support the troops” rhetoric while failing to take action to safeguard the long-term health of the military.
This week, Graham was among a handful of right-wing Senators who prevented the passage of an amendment sponsored by Webb that would have required soldiers to be given more rest at home after being deployed overseas. During the vote, Graham disingenuously claimed that if Webb’s bill passed, it would be “the greatest politicization of military action in the history of the country.”
This morning, Webb fought back. “The traditional operational policy has been if you’re gone for a year, you get two years back. We’re now in a situation where the soldiers and the Marines are having less than a 1 to 1 ratio.” Webb said. Turning to Graham, he added, “And somebody needs to speak up for them rather than defending what this President has been doing.”
“May I speak!” Webb said, as Graham tried to interrupt him. “This is one thing I really take objection to,” he said, “is politicians who try to put their political views into the mouths of soldiers.” Watch it:
Webb’s amendment would have required the Bush administration to provide at least a year of rest for every year that a member of the Armed Forces was deployed overseas. The amendment provided three years of rest for National Guard soldiers. In the vote to end the filibuster, 56 bipartisan members supported Webb’s amendment, less than the 60 needed to end debate.
This morning, when Graham tried to claim that he’s a qualified voice to speak on behalf of all soldiers because he has been to Iraq, Webb countered, “You go and see the dog-and-pony shows.” Webb scolded Graham, “Don’t put political words into [the soldier's] mouth.”
UPDATE: Commenters Ann and Katy note Webb’s son has served in Iraq, but he refused to bring that into the debate this morning.