Today on Fox News Sunday ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin was asked by the show’s host Chris Wallace about a N.Y. Times report released today detailing a top general’s plan for significant troop withdrawal from Iraq by 2007. Wallace pointed out that Levin has been one of the key Democrats in the Senate pushing for withdrawal or timetables. “Are you willing to take yes for an answer?” asked Wallace.
Of course. Frankly, it’s one of the worst-kept secrets in this town that there is going to be reductions in our forces, redeployments in our forces, before the election. I mean, it’s obvious what’s going on here.When we offered a resolution not with a fixed timetable for the final departure of American troops, most Democrats voted against that. That was the Kerry resolution.
We didn’t think there should be a fixed timetable for the ending, but we did, almost all the Democrats, including all of the Democratic senators who are considering running for president, then coalesced around the so-called Levin-Reed resolution which simply urged the president — urged the president — to begin the phased redeployment of American forces from Iraq by the end of this year.
So let me get this straight. Levin has admittedly known all along that such a plan was in the works? If he has known that, then why the need for the repetative amendment process in the Senate? The answer appears to be simple: politics. Levin is scared that the President, and therefore Republicans will get credit for bringing troops home when the job is closer to being finished, so he and his party want to be on record as having called for the action before it takes place. In the very next breath, Levin begins to reveal his political motivations:
But let me tell you something, it will be the greatest shock in this town — it would be like a tornado hitting this town, frankly — if there’s not a reduction in our forces prior to the election.
It will be time for that by the administration, and I don’t have the slightest bit of doubt that that’s what’s going to happen…
But it shouldn’t be a political decision, but it is going to be with this administration. It’s as clear as your face, which is mighty clear, that before this election, this November, there’s going to be troop reductions in Iraq, and the president will then claim some kind of progress or victory.
OK, so the Administration has a secret plan to significantly draw down the troops by 2007…meanwhile, the Democrats parade numerous messaging amendments across the floors of the U.S. House and Senate, and then turn around and accuse the Administration — who has repeatedly said we will stay there as long as needed to get the job done — of playing politics.
I think it is crystal clear who is more concerned about the political optics of this situation.