Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Senate Republicans Filibuster "Troop Readiness" Amendment

Senate Republicans just filibustered an amendment to provide for troop readiness by allowing troops deployed in combat zone an equal amount of "dwell" time back home with their families.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Jim Webb, simply states that that active duty troops should have as much time home as they had on deployment, and that National Guard and Reserve troops should have three years at home after their one-year deployment.

Currently, the Pentagon has deployed and redeployed troops to Iraq for 15 month cycles, sometimes over and over again.

Critics of the Bush administration's policies point out that stop-loss deployments have irreparably harmed troops even when they haven't been physically wounded. Extended deployments have been blamed for high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illness afflicting returning veterans.

The Webb amendment is one of four amendments to the Defense Authorization Act being debated in the Senate related to the Iraq war. All four amendments are designed to force a change in the Bush administration's war policy.

In his remarks, presidential hopeful Republican Sen. John McCain, blamed Democrats for the filibuster, ironically. McCain, who has relied on his staunch support for the war as his main campaign talking point, but has seen his campaign falter in funding and several campaign managers flee, argued that Senators should put off Iraq debate until September and that a bill to fund the Department of Defense was no place to debate the war.

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama accused the supporters of the Webb Amendment, which is a concept fueled both by public outrage over the treatment of US troops and a demand that Iraq war policy change, of "flip-flopping." Sessions essentially implied that public opposition to the war policy and and anger over treatment of the troops is "flip-flopping" and an effort to weaken the nation.

When are the Republicans going to stop with the divisive and disgusting rhetoric that people who disagree with them are somehow un-patriotic?

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