Bill bad beyond withdrawal aspect

Regarding the Nov. 21 letter, “GOP vote ignores will of the people”:

I take exception to the bill being called a war funding bill. It is primarily intended for funding the withdrawal of troops. I also take exception to the characterization that the “heart of the Republican denial of funding was language that would establish a date to begin withdrawal of our troops and set a ‘goal’ for complete withdrawal from Iraq.” Let’s keep the discourse fair, please, and report other relevant facts.

While this language certainly has its own criticisms (goals for withdrawal should be tied to success criteria), responsible opponents of the bill have articulated an even more problematic provision which takes some contemplation to understand its impacts. Sec. 104 states that no money can be used to deploy units to Iraq without having been certified by the president at least 15 days in advance as “fully-mission capable.” This has implications which, if exploited in a worst-case scenario, could cost the lives of soldiers in Iraq when supporting forces cannot go to their aid in time for sake of bureaucracy and politics. Even without this worst-case scenario, the plain truth is that the judgment of combat readiness is best made by the commanders of that unit, not the president, who has broader responsibilities and distant perspective.

Please, go look at the bill’s language yourself instead of being satisfied with our interpretation of it. I trust you all to make your own judgments thereafter. It is available online through the Library of Congress ( Search for H.R. 4156 for this (110th) Congress, and look under Title I.

Jonathan Darr


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