David Edwards and Greg Wasserstrom
Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) went on the offensive over the delay of supplemental funding for the war in Iraq, dismissing recent comments by President Bush saying delays in funding puts troops in harms way as "fear tactics." Appearing on the program Meet The Press, Webb also suggested that the issue at the heart of the current fight over war funding is how long American troops will be deployed in Iraq.
"The problem with the administration's approach to [war funding] is that they constantly use fear tactics," Webb said, citing the President Bush and Congressional Republicans defeat of his amendment to give troops longer breaks between deployments. "If President Bush had said to do it they'd be saluting and doing it."
"There's no one in the Congress who's going to interrupt funding that goes to the ability of the military to take care of the present responsibilities, Webb said. He said that by engaging in scare tactics, Bush and his Republican allies in Congress avoid debate over the length of the American mission in Iraq.
"The elephant in the bedroom for this entire time period is how long are we going to be in Iraq? What are we funding implicitly as well as implicitly, and we don't get to have this debate," Webb said, expressing concerns that President Bush wishes to establish permanent bases in Iraq using the American presence on the Korean peninsula as a model.
Later in the interview, host Tim Russert pressed Webb on his party's plan for funding the war.
"There are some Democrats who have said they want to stop funding the war period," Russert said.
"And I think that's just not a winning formula," Webb responded.