Levin's Detachment From Reality
Carl Levin has proved himself to be a flawed thinker and worthless as a man of principle. In a Post Op-Ed today, Levin signals to President Bush that the new chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee will oppose any attempt to use the 2008 Defense Authorization bill to force a change in policy in Iraq. Even though Congress has the power of the purse, and even though GOP senators used the annual defense budget in the 1990’s to direct Clinton to get out of Haiti and Somalia, Levin now says that he will never mess with the funding for the troops. Then he incredibly says the way to change the policy is through the law, as if Bush wasn’t familiar with signing statements.
Levin says he wants a binding timeline, which as Russ Feingold noted on the Ed Schultz show today is a “flip-flop” from Levin’s previous opposition to a timeline. But Levin now says he would never threaten the funding for the troops, which is exactly what Bush wants to hear going into the budget debate. Any decent negotiator never signals his white flag in advance of the negotiations, and yet Levin just did.
Feingold and Harry Reid want a 2008 budget with a 120-day redeployment requirement, with no significant American force inside Iraq after April 2008. Aside from being unable to get our forces out of Iraq in such a time, I don’t agree with an April 2008 date because we need more time to transition from our current misguided mission to a mission of “lift and strike” from nearby bases while providing ongoing logistical and training support for the Iraqi security forces over the next year or so. But I fully support a timeline that calls for our major combat forces to be out of Iraq by the fall of 2008.
Despite Levin’s flip-flop today in now supporting a redeployment timeline, his capitulation on the 2008 Defense Authorization bill only proves why he is not the man to force a change in Bush’s Iraq policy. But I’m sure he likes all the new cash he is getting from the defense industry since his ascension to the chairmanship of the Armed Services committee.