Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to set a September 2008 deadline for withdrawing all U.S. combat troops from Iraq. The legislation is tied to a multi-billion dollar spending bill that includes funding for that war.
A clear statement about America's lessening tolerance for this conflict?
Maybe. But there's more here than meets the eye.
To sway many representatives who were undecided, the bill's sponsors made sure it also included many totally unrelated and needless "pork-barrel" projects - including such trivial additions as spinach and shrimp subsidies, and money for a peanut storage facility.
But what do shrimp or peanuts have to do with the war in Iraq?
Unfortunately, this is just business as usual. These days, hardly any bill can be passed without the inclusion of at least some irrelevant "add-ons," whose only purpose is to buy the support of as many representatives as possible.
Any proposed legislation should sink or swim on its own merits - not on the merits of completely unrelated projects. And if a congressman really wouldn't vote for a troop withdrawal deadline if it didn't include the additional promise of a larger peanut warehouse somewhere in Georgia well, then maybe it's not such a great idea, after all.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my Point of View.