Murtha: Obama Can't Count on Dems for Afghanistan Escalation

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THE PLANK NOVEMBER 15, 2009

Murtha: Obama Can't Count on Dems for Afghanistan Escalation

A striking passage buried in today's NYT lead story on the massive cost of the war:

Representative John Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania and chairman of a subcommittee on defense appropriations, said in an interview that because of concerns about President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, he thought a majority of the 258 Democrats in the House would vote against any bill to pay for more troops. “A month ago, I would have said 60 to 70,” he said.

“Can you pass one?” Mr. Murtha said. “It depends on the Republicans.”

It would be remarkable to see Obama lose the House Dems on such a crucial foreign policy vote so early in his presidency. (To be sure, the caucus is fairly dovish: A majority opposed the 2003 Iraq war resolution. But that was under a Republican president, and a very different set of circumstances.)

Murtha himself, incidentally, doesn't just oppose a troop escalation, as the Times notes. He also opposed Obama's relatively modest March troop increase. (And you should read Zengerle on Murtha, by the way.)

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