Posted by | November 28, 2010 22:55 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

The new START treaty negotiated by the Obama administration has the support of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, and the entire current U.S. military leadership. Support for the treaty is overwhelming among national security experts on both sides of the political aisle. So, Senate Minority Whip and Chief Obstructionist Jon Kyl has stopped pretending to object to the new START treaty on policy grounds. He now argues that there is not enough time to pass START in the current lame-duck session.

“My issue is that you can’t do everything,” Kyl said on Meet the Press. “I was stating it as a matter of reality not a matter of policy. How can Harry Reid do all the things we are talking about, deal with expiring tax provisions and in addition to that deal with the START Treaty which by itself could take two weeks? If the leader of the Senate, Senator Reid, were to allow a couple of weeks for full debate and amendment of the resolution of ratification then theoretically there would be time.”

To the untrained eye, Kyl’s concerns might sound reasonable and in good faith, but they are not. The idea that it would take “two weeks” to ratify the START treaty is total nonsense. The first START treaty took only five days to pass and Bush’s similar SORT treaty took only two days to pass. Considering and voting on verification of the treaty can be done in as little as two to three days.

Kyl’s other point about the treaty needing more discussion and debate is totally disingenuous as well. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee conducted 18 hearings and five briefings, and the Obama Administration answered 900 submitted questions during the committee’s process this summer. In September the committee recommended ratification of the treaty 14-4 in a bipartisan vote.

Kyl and the Republicans are not honest actors; they are trying to politicize this issue for their own gain at the expense of the country’s national security interests. It is time that Obama and the Congressional Democrats call the Republicans out for their opportunistic obstruction and make them pay a political price.

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