In a 93-1 vote, the US Senate has agreed to authorize a “temporary” increase of the size of the army by up to 30,000 additional troops. The vote appears to be little more than a rubber stamp approving an announcement by Defense Secretary Robert Gates about his intention to increase the military by at least 22,000. The bill only authorizes the increased size for the next three years and would leave making it permanent to a future vote.
The lone dissenting vote came from Senator Russ Feingold (D – WI) who noted that the military’s strain was caused by a failure to withdraw from Iraq and suggested that instead of increasing the army’s size they would be further ahead to reduce strain by ending the war.
With the current Pentagon schedules, which reveal that they don’t anticipate any material withdrawal of troops from Iraq through at least the beginning of 2010, and the Obama Administration commiting more and more troops to Afghanistan, the Army simply could not keep up with the rotations at its current size.
However this bill makes no provision for funding the increase, but rather will leave the Obama Administration facing yet another “emergency funding” bill, like the one they fought through earlier this year. During the campaign President Obama condemned the Bush Administration for using emergency funding to pay for the wars, and promised after submitting the previous one that it would be their last.