Cutting Off

Russ Feingold says “Some will claim that cutting off funding for the war would endanger our brave troops on the ground. Not true. The safety of our service men and women in Iraq is paramount, and we can and should end funding for the war without putting our troops in further danger.” I tend to agree. Let me propose, however, a terminological switch. Talk of “cutting off funding” for the war implies that the troops will be sitting there in Iraq and then one day — bam — run out of money. The funding issue, however, is a red herring to anyone not steeped in the arcana of the legislative process. Before the 2006 midterms, most Democrats were happy to call for a “phased redeployment” of American troops out of Iraq. That language was politically viable and describes sensible policy. The right thing to do after the election is for congress to mandate a phased redeployment of American troops out of Iraq.

Yes, it’s true, that the means by which such a mandate would be achieved are financial, but the money isn’t the crux of the matter. The proposal on the table is to redeploy our forces. It was the proposal before the election and with the election won, Democrats should be writing legislation to mandate it. Bush will presumably veto such legislation, but that’s the best the congress can do and the congress should do its best. But don’t talk about the money, talk about the troops.