National security is not supposed to be a matter of partisan politics. But President Barack Obama, in his eagerness to save face politically and please Russian leaders, has made it so.
Obama has urged the Senate for weeks to approve the new missile treaty proposal. Many GOP leaders - and some Democrats who have been pushed into line by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid - worry the START proposal does not serve U.S. interests. One key item of concern is whether U.S. leaders can verify Russian compliance with the pact.
So desperate has Reid become to pass the treaty that he has resorted to dishonest rhetoric. On Sunday, he claimed the question is whether "you want to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands or terrorists ..."
That is not the issue, of course. The treaty is intended to limit missiles in the arsenals of the United States and Russia. It would have little, if anything, to do with whether terrorists can obtain nuclear weapons.
One concern voiced by conservatives is whether the treaty would allow the United States to continue working on missile defense systems. Obama insists that would be allowed.
Again, the issue has become a political one - a test of strength between Obama and conservatives in the Senate. They - both Democrats and Republicans - should vote in favor of START only if they are certain it will not adversely affect U.S. national security.