The Senate today is slated to consider the 2009 Defense Authorization bill, S-3001, a $612.5 billion measure that would authorize spending for national security programs in the Defense and Energy departments. The legislation authorizes the Pentagon to spend $70 billion to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 and would authorize a 3.9 percent pay raise for military personnel, in addition to funding other programs.

One of the proposed 250 amendments to the bill, authored by Senator Joseph Lieberman, is likely to be a major focus of debate. It contains a non-binding Sense of the Senate resolution, SA 5368, on the strategic importance of the troop surge in Iraq that calls on the Senate to:

3) recognize the success of the troop surge in Iraq and its strategic significance in advancing the vital national interests of the United States in Iraq, the Middle East, and the world, in particular as a strategic victory in a central front of the war on terrorism; and

(4) recognize that the hard-won gains achieved as a result of the troop surge in Iraq are significant but not yet permanent and that it is imperative that no action be taken that jeopardizes those gains or dishonors the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who made those gains possible.

These recommendations, grounded in common sense, are logical and deserve strong support. But this is an election year, and many in the Senate for partisan reasons stubbornly refuse to admit that the surge has been a success or even that the war in Iraq is an important front in the broader war on terrorism. Never mind that Osama bin Laden believes that Iraq looms large as a front in “this Third World War,” and is quoted as saying so in the text of the resolution.

Some on the left can be expected to work hard to prevent this resolution from ever coming to a vote.