The Spine

The Dems' Deadline


The Democrats did not take the advice proffered them by their official pooh-bah on important matters by the former co-chairman of the 9/11 commission and also former co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, Lee Hamilton, former senior Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee. Of course, he chose to give his counsel in yesterday's London Financial Times which nobody in Washington reads. But, still, it was wise counsel: do not try to overthrow the president as commander-in-chief. It's bad strategy in Iraq. (And, as Doug Schoen pointed out yesterday in the Globe, it's bad politics

In any case, the advice went by apparently without notice. The Democrats have agreed to support an appropriations bill of $124 billion. But they have attached to the funding of troops and arms a deadline of October 1 by which time the administration will have been obliged to begin withdrawing combat forces, and that process would be completed six months thereafter. Times correspondent Carl Hulse has fleshed out this challenge to the commander-in-chief in this morning's paper.

Now, the president will not take this lying down. He will veto the bill, and win in the end. That does not mean that the war will be won.

But it is dispiriting to find this whole matter characterized with this sort of pabulum: "On Iraq, the American people want a new direction, and we are providing it." That's leadership.

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