DEMS UNITED ON THE WAR?….From the Washington Post today:
Twelve Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have urged President Bush in a strongly worded letter to begin withdrawing the 130,000 U.S. troops from Iraq by year’s end, a sign that Democrats may be uniting on a key election-year issue that has divided the party.
Really? Here’s what the letter said:
We believe that a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq should begin before the end of 2006. U.S. forces in Iraq should transition to a more limited mission focused on counterterrorism, training and logistical support of Iraqi security forces, and force protection of U.S. personnel.
At first glance, that sounded like news to me too, especially since it was signed by folks like Joe Biden, Harry Reid, and Jane Harman. But I wasn’t sure, so I called Reid’s office and talked to Jim Manley, one of his press guys. Here’s the conversation:
Q: Is this a change in direction?
A: No, it’s the same wording that was in the Reed-Levin amendment last month, which was supported by Senate Democrats 38-6.
Now, it was a strongly-worded letter, and it’s good to see congressional Democrats reiterating their support for redeployment. But I’m not sure there’s really much new here.
UPDATE: Several commenters have made a good point: Who cares if this is new? What matters is that the media reported it, and did so in a positive, “Dems united” kind of way. That’s news all by itself.