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Webb, the Dems and "home leave"
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, September 20, 2007

I love this first paragraph:
Senate Republicans yesterday rejected a bipartisan proposal to lengthen the home leaves of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, derailing a measure that war opponents viewed as one of the best chances to force President Bush to accelerate a redeployment of forces.
"Home leaves"? Doesn't that sound awful? If you didn't know any better you'd think our troops come home from war and stay there until the next time they're called to go into harm's way.

But they don't. They come back to the US and do what troops always do - they train. And what they train for is their next deployment. That means long hours and a lot of time in the field. Not home. In the field. Each soldier has a certain amount of leave accrued and he can take it. That's it. That's all the "home leave" he or she gets.

Yes, they need that time. And yes, even Petraeus understands that and noted that during his testimony. And yes, that's another of the reasons driving the withdrawal of surge forces without replacement. But certainly not the sole reason.

War is a matter of flexibility and adaptation. Anything which constrains either is not a good thing. And that was what the Webb amendment would have done. It put into law something which limited flexibility.
The measure would have required that troops be granted home leaves at least as long as their most recent combat deployments before being sent back to war.
What if something blew up elsewhere in say 6 months? Are we saying that "by law" we can't deploy these brigades to the new hot spot because their statutory "rest" time isn't up? Make sense?

Note the last part of the paragraph. That's the real reason for the amendment. The Dems like to say that the troops are being used as pawns in "Bush's war". Well that's precisely what this amendment was designed to do as well. The difference is the sales job.

It's easier to sell something emotional like "home leave" even if it's a disingenuous point. This isn't about "resting" the troops. This amendment, pure and simple, was about using the troops as a pawn in the power struggle to force withdrawal. Since they haven't the balls to cut off funding for the war and force withdrawal that way, the Dems are reduced to cheap political tricks and spin.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

"What if something blew up elsewhere in say 6 months? Are we saying that "by law" we can’t deploy these brigades to the new hot spot because their statutory "rest" time isn’t up?"

Actually, I don’t think so. There is an exemption for special operations units/personnel and the President can waive the requirements if "...the President certifies to Congress that the deployment of the unit or member is necessary to meet an operational emergency posing a threat to vital national security interests of the United States".
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
You know, if one party rejected it, it likely wasn’t "bipartisan" in any meaningful sense.
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/20/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention updated throughout the day…so check back often.
Written By: David M
Why don’t we require that all combat troops take a fifteen minute break every four hours, and a one hour lunch break every eight hours? Wouldn’t that be "supporting the troops?"
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Jeff, "bipartisan" means supported by the Democrats.
Written By: Don
URL: http://
So, timactual, what happens is that the congress passes a law but the president, just by asserting that it is necessary, can ignore the law that was passed?

It sounds even more like feel-good mucking with something that is someone else’s job. It just creates hoops and inefficiencies for the purpose of some politician being able to say they "did something".

I also have the suspicion that it would work to send a whole lot of people back sooner... just as soon as their mandatory time was up. That’s how stuff like that works. It’s like working in a shop where people show up early and work late and then someone decides that because sometimes those same people show up late and leave early that everyone will be at work at 7am sharp no matter what... and suddenly everyone *leaves* at 3pm sharp no matter what.

Written By: Synova
"So, timactual, what happens is that the congress passes a law but the president, just by asserting that it is necessary, can ignore the law that was passed?"

He would not be ignoring the law by following the prescribed procedure.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

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