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FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Look beyond rhetoric on military funding

Democrats' proposed legislation to set a fall 2008 deadline for withdrawing U.S. soldiers from Iraq supports the troops. The timeline would accelerate to the end of this year if President Bush can not certify that the Iraqi government is making progress toward providing security, allocating oil revenues and creating a fair system for amending the Iraqi constitution.

The legislation would attach to President Bush's request for nearly $100 billion for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many will say that Democrats are abandoning U.S. troops in Iraq, strengthening the resolve of the terrorists. They will say that Democrats are plotting against the president because they hate Mr. Bush. They say Democrats are weak, afraid of war and are abetting the enemy.

But look closely at the proposal. It includes additional funding for the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan. It exceeds Mr. Bush's request for funding for veterans' health care and medical programs for active-duty troops. It requires the Pentagon to adhere to existing standards for equipping and training U.S. troops sent overseas and to provide time at home between tours of combat.

Democrats are not abandoning troops or giving up the war in Iraq that began March 20, 2003, and won soon thereafter. Democrats are proposing that, as the Iraqis step up, the U.S. military steps down.

Isn't it about time?

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