The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Colombia: US military adviser caps raised (with Dem help, natch)

Colombia, rightly or wrongly, hasn't drawn my attention for a good many months. Whenever I pop over to the Conflito armado index page of El Tiempo, a handy place to monitor what's going on, neither the military nor the political stories there tend to get the juices flowing.

However, a piece in the Nation yesterday mentions a little noticed (entirely unnoticed by your humble blogger!) provision in the Defense appropriations bill passed (ยง1021 of HR 4200 - the (I kid you not!) Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005) before the recess which increases to 800 (from 400 - apparently) the limit on the number of military advisers assigned to Plan Colombia [1].

(In this, Vietnam Commemoration Edition, election campaign, one might recall that the Geneva limit on adviser to the South Vietnamese military was 685.)

Kerry, we know, is a supporter of the War on Drugs [2], and has Rand Beers, Mr Fumigation, as one of his top foreign policy advisers. No change to be expected if Kerry wins.

The Dem resistance to the increase, by comparison, verges on the heroic: Sen Byrd's amendment (SA 3423) establishing a cap of 500 on both military advisers and contractors was defeated 58-40.

One R (Fitzgerald) voted for the amendment; the RINOs and nine Dems against - and not the slate of usual suspects either: Landrieu and Lincoln voted for, Hillary voted against.

And the presidential ticket? Kerry performed his usual Macavity - but Edwards voted for the amendment!

Just a curio, I'm sure...

  1. A similar cap on civilian contractors was raised from 400 to 600 by the same provision.

  2. A page on Bush/Kerry positions on the WoD.


MTV have a docco tonight (October 20) which looks at Bush and Kerry's positions on drug policy. A real spot the difference competition...

Alexander Cockburn has a piece in the New Left Review on the left's vow of silence on criticising Kerry - including on the WoD.

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