POLITICS

Feingold: Dems' Iraq Proposal "Reads Like New Authorization" Of War

Wisconsin's Russ Feingold says the Iraq bill his fellow Senate Democrats are working on is so weak that it "basically reads like a new authorization" of the war. "I am working to fix the new proposal drafted by several Senate Democrats," Feingold said in a statement this afternoon. "I will not vote for anything that the President could read as an authorization for continuing with a large military campaign in Iraq." He hasn't given up on "using our Constitutionally-granted power of the purse to bring this catastrophe to an end," he said, though the Senate leadership has not only rejected that approach, but said it would be tantamount to abandoning the troops. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced on Sunday that the leadership would try to repeal the October 2002 authorization of the use of force instead. The authorization, which was predicated on the notion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, could be replaced with something more narrowly drawn, and more relevant to the current situation. On NBC's Meet the Press, Levin appeared to have accepted the Bush administration's position that de-funding the war would imperil American soldiers on the ground: "Most of us do not want to cut funding for our troops for two reasons," he said. "One is, it's wrong. Our troops deserve our support as long as they're there, and we're not going to repeat the mistake of Vietnam, where we took out on the troops our differences over policies with the Administration."