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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Democrats, Work with Generals to End the War Focus the Debate on Readiness, Broader National Security Issues


War critics, peace activists, read E. J. Dionne’s column “Democrats’ Last, Best Hope” in the Sept. 11 Washington Post. Dionne says that in his opening remarks before the Petraeus/Crocker hearings on Sept.10, Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, asked whether “Iraq is the war worth the risk of breaking our army and being unable to deal with other risks to our nation.” Skelton said war critics should transcend the narrow question about whether the surge has succeeded or failed, and keep the focus on a broader debate about “the overall security of this nation. . . . [W]ith so many troops in Iraq, I think our response to an unexpected threat would come at a devastating cost.”

Dionne sees Skelton’s words as a signal to opponents of the war to stop pursuing the elusive moderate Republicans and instead form an alliance with Defense Department officials-and there are many-who have been warning that the war is exhausting the armed forces and putting the nation at risk. Dionne makes the tactically significant point that “only a handful of Republicans are prepared to take on the president directly, but many more might be persuaded to vote for restrictions on deployments in response to what Skelton called ‘the issue of readiness.’ ”

Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh reports in “The General as Salesman“: “There is interest at very senior levels [of the Pentagon] in getting alternative views” to Petraeus, an official said. See also ThinkProgress, “Pentagon seeks ‘very rapid reduction’ of troops.
House Armed Services Committee (202) 225-4151
Ike Skelton (D-MO), Chair (202) 225-2876
Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Ranking Member (202) 225-5672

Senate Armed Services Committee (202) 224-3871
Carl Levin (D-MI), Chair (202) 224-6221
John McCain (R-AZ), Ranking Member (202) 224-2235

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