Sheldon Whitehouse’s First Flip-Flop?
Has Sheldon Whitehouse already changed his position on the Iraq War? In his initial TV ads, he said he wanted troops out of Iraq “by the end of this year”. And as recently as June, Whitehouse told Projo columnist Charles Bakst that he supported a hard deadline on troop withdrawal from Iraq…
Whitehouse, who wants U.S. troops out by the end of 2006, says he’d have voted last week for Sen. John Kerry’s proposal to require withdrawal of all combat forces by next July, with redeployments beginning this year.Whitehouse would have voted for the Kerry amendment even though another Democratic-sponsored amendment was available (sponsored, in part, by Jack Reed) that called for the beginnings of a “phased redeployment”, but without providing a final deadline to our enemies that they could use in their planning.
Now, in his latest TV advertisement, Sheldon Whitehouse says that he supports “a responsible redeployment of our troops out of Iraq”, a position that is much more vague than the hard-deadline option he previously favored. It is legitimate to ask if the new emphasis is being driven by an actual change in position on Whitehouse’s part, or if it is simply an attempt to tell people what he thinks they want to hear, i.e. I agree with the well-respected Jack Reed, and not the incoherent John Kerry.
One last concern: In the new TV ad, Whitehouse talks about sending “a clear signal that we are really getting out” of Iraq. If he believes that “signals” are important to the conduct of foreign affairs, does he also accept the possibility that a negative signal is sent to the rest of the world when the US walks away from a potential ally?