- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
- Activists vow to occupy fast-food restaurants to get higher pay
Democrats’ bill seeks more rest for troops
Question of the Day
Democrats yesterday touted legislation to guarantee troops time at home between deployments to Iraq.
In the party’s weekly radio address, Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, California Democrat, criticized President Bush for threatening to veto the bill, contending his administration’s policies on troop deployments have weakened the military.
“The president’s surge has sent many of our Army units to Iraq for the second and third time. We are asking our troops to make heroic sacrifices — yet as soon as they return, we rush them back into battle,” said Mrs. Tauscher, author of the bill that passed the House Aug. 2 on a vote of 229-194.
The measure would require that regular military units returning from the war receive at least as much time at home as they spent in Iraq. Reserve units would get a home stay three times as long as they spent in the war zone.
Under the Pentagon’s current policy, active-duty troops typically serve deployments of up to 15 months, with a year at home in between. National Guard and Reserve ground units generally can be called up for as long as two years, to be followed by six years at home.
“Come the spring, some variables will have to change, either the degree to which the American ground forces — the Marines and the Army in particular — are deployed around the world to include Iraq, or the length of time they’re deployed in one tour, or the length of time they enjoy at home,” Gen. Lute said in an interview on National Public Radio.
Mr. Bush complained that Mrs. Tauscher’s bill would put arbitrary constraints on Pentagon commanders. The lawmaker noted, however, that the measure includes waivers enabling the president to disregard the required intervals between troop deployments in the interest of national security.
“If we are honest about wanting to support our troops, there is no better place to start than with the rest and training they require to complete their mission and return home safely,” she said.
In the Senate, similar legislation by Sen. James H. Webb Jr., Virginia Democrat, won a majority vote of 56-41 in July but fell four short of the 60 votes needed to advance.
The vote on Mrs. Tauscher’s bill shortly before Congress left for its August recess was the latest challenge to Mr. Bush from Democrats aiming to end an unpopular war. Democratic leaders plan to renew the challenge in September, when Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, delivers a long-awaited report on the state of the conflict.
The president vetoed legislation this spring that included a timeline for a troop withdrawal.
Gen. Petraeus told lawmakers visiting Iraq this month that a U.S. presence in Iraq is likely to be needed for another nine to 10 years, said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Democrat, who met with the general along with Democratic Rep. Tom Allen of Maine and four House Republicans. Gen. Petraeus has made similar remarks in the past, noting that the question is how many troops would be needed.
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is 'torture'
- Brian Kelly, Notre Dame ready for different route to title
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq