The Bright, Shiny Object in Karl Rove’s Other Hand

They got us again, kids.

We’re debating “women in combat” while the Bush administration pulls the wool over our eyes and tight around our necks.

First of all, women will continue to be in combat until war changes, which won’t be in our lifetimes. “Insurgents,” “war lords” – and whatever other GOP-speak terms that avoid acknowledging we are fighting in a couple of civil wars – don’t stick to battle fronts, all neat and tidy like in World War II movies. They attack supply vehicles and kill soldiers like Lori Piestewa, who are allegedly safe from so-called “combat” positions.

Second, there are roles only women can fill in the current wars, such as body-searching Iraqi or Afghan women.

So unless we restrict women, ala Frank Capra, to the home front and hospitals across the border, and announce that the military now offers a glass ceiling so low you’ll bump your head if you stand up, we are wasting time debating an option that doesn’t really exist.

Which is exactly what the Bush folks were counting on.

The House bill that offers this so-called protecting of women from combat also includes $442 billion in military spending NOT COUNTING IRAQ OR AFGHANISTAN. Hello? Did you hear that?


President Bush requested $442 billion for defense for the budget year that begins October 1, excluding money to pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But what catches our eye? The bright, shiny object in Karl Rove’s other hand, as usual.

In a nearly 15-hourlong committee hearing, the most contentious issue was the role of women in combat.

At least a couple of Democrats weren’t distracted.

Added Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the committee’s leading Democrat: “There seems to be a solution in search of a problem.”

…Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Georgia, cast the lone dissenting vote on the overall bill.

Afghanistan – where, thanks to our side trip into Irrelevant Iraq, things are going south – was where we should have been from the start. How much more money – and how many more men and women – will we put through the shredder that is Iraq?


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