The Collins camp sends Neal Williams out with talking points misleading enough to cry out for clarification.
Williams mentions just after 1:05 that the amendment Collins has supported represents an effort to "recover reconstruction costs" from Iraq. But then, just after 1:20, he reframes the proposal as an attempt to "recover the costs of this war."
Don't be fooled.
Remember, the Iraq war is on its way to costing well over $1 trillion. And reconstruction costs have topped out at about $20 billion--or 2% of the overall figure.
So conflating the two is like equating Hurricane Katrina and the puddle you stepped in this morning.
The major economic cost of the Iraq war has always been the cost of sending the world's best military to police a thousand-year-old sectarian conflict. By its nature, doing that is a very expensive proposition--even if we never shelled out a single cent for reconstruction.
Now, there's nothing wrong with getting the Iraqis to pay us back for the buildings we put up and the hospitals we helped relaunch.
But the idea that coaxing the Maliki government to throw us a few pennies counts as a major achievement--or that it should be the centerpiece of a senator's Iraq policy--is absurd. It's appalling.
And it's especially galling to hear from a candidate content to have our troops stay in that dangerous country indefinitely, as the human and financial toll continues to mount.