In considering today's debate on Kerry's resolution to pull-out of Iraq by the end of the year I'm fighting a mix of frustration and sadness. Once again we've had a high-profile example of the fact that there are just too few grown-ups in government or, for that matter, the media.
Speaking for the majority Republicans Karnack (aka Bill Frist) said the following:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, for his part, said Democrats backed "cut and run" plans for surrender. "The Senate defeated a bad policy that threatens our national security and poses unacceptable risks to Americans," Frist said.
Cut and run.
Here is the text of Kerry's amendment calling for cut and run:
SEC. 1084. UNITED STATES POLICY ON IRAQ.
(a) Redeployment of Troops From Iraq.--
(1) SCHEDULE FOR REDEPLOYMENT.--For purposes of strengthening the national security of the United States, the President shall redeploy, commencing in 2006, United States forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007, in accordance with a schedule coordinated with the Government of Iraq, leaving only the minimal number of forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces, conducting targeted and specialized counterterrorism operations, and protecting United States facilities and personnel.
(2) CONSULTATION WITH CONGRESS REQUIRED.--The President shall consult with Congress regarding the schedule for redeployment and shall submit such schedule to Congress as part of the report required under subsection (c).
(3) MAINTENANCE OF OVER-THE-HORIZON TROOP PRESENCE.--The President should maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests.
(b) Iraq Summit.--The President should work with the leaders of the Government of Iraq to convene a summit as soon as possible that includes those leaders, leaders of the governments of each country bordering Iraq, representatives of the Arab League, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, representatives of the European Union, and leaders of the governments of each permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, for the purpose of reaching a comprehensive political agreement for Iraq that engenders the support of Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds by ensuring the equitable distribution of oil revenues, disbanding the militias, strengthening internal security, reviving reconstruction efforts and fulfilling related international economic aid commitments, securing Iraq's borders, and providing for a sustainable federalist structure in Iraq.
(c) Report on Redeployment.--
(1) REPORT REQUIRED.--Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State, submit to Congress a report that sets forth the strategy for the redeployment of United States forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007.
(2) STRATEGY ELEMENTS.--The strategy required in the report under paragraph (1) shall include the following:
(A) The schedule for redeploying United States forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007, developed pursuant to subsection (a)(1).
(B) A schedule for returning the majority of such redeployed forces home to the United States.
(C) The number, size, and character of United States military units needed in Iraq after July 1, 2007, for purposes of counterterrorism activities, training Iraqi security forces, and protecting United States infrastructure and personnel.
(D) A strategy for addressing the regional implications for diplomacy, politics, and development of redeploying United States forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007.
(E) A strategy for ensuring the safety and security of United States forces in Iraq during and after the July 1, 2007, redeployment, and a contingency plan for addressing dramatic changes in security conditions that may require a limited number of United States forces to remain in Iraq after that date.
(F) A strategy for redeploying United States forces to effectively engage and defeat global terrorist networks that threaten the United States.
This is a call for planned redeployment not withdrawal. It calls for "the minimal number of forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces, conducting targeted and specialized counterterrorism operations, and protecting United States facilities and personnel.
By even the liberalist of interpretations could Kerry's proposal be considered cut and run. It actually appears quite moderate and pretty well thought out. Obviously that makes it a poison pill for Republicans.
I long for the day the grown-ups will come back to Washington and issues like our troop deployment overseas in hostile environments would actually be considered legitimate topics for discussion by congress. With Republicans in charge that day will never come.