Friday, February 23, 2007
Four years ago, Congress passed legislation authorizing President Bush to go to war in Iraq. Now Senate Democrats want to take it back.
Key lawmakers, backed by party leaders, are drafting legislation that would effectively revoke the broad authority granted to the president in the days Saddam Hussein was in power, and leave U.S. troops with a limited mission as they prepare to withdraw.
Officials said Thursday the precise wording of the measure remains unsettled. One version would restrict American troops in Iraq to fighting al-Qaida, training Iraqi army and police forces, maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity and otherwise proceeding with the withdrawal of combat forces.
My contention from the git-go was that the ultimate way to end the war is to withdraw the authorization granted Bush in 2002. That was an abdication by Congress, giving the Executive warmaking powers without a declaration of war and providing a blank check from the perspective of the War Powers Act. Congress certainly has the right to rescind that authority, and really an obligation to.
And as I've observed before, the non-binding resolution was just a first step in our march out of Iraq, even if it didn't pass the Senate. The smart thing that the Democrats are doing is essentially escalating with each step--one might even say they are submitting their demands to the vanquished in installments. Each time they move the debate a little more our way and force the GOP war apologists to defend the indefensible again.
If I might make a bad football analogy (that's redundant, innit?): you don't go for a 60-yard TD pass every play; you chip away at the yardage with a mixture of plays, some of which fail. People who were expecting a Superbowl championship as soon as Pelosi and Reid took power were rather misguided. It's clear that (TV announcer cliche alert!) the Dems have come to play some football and they're following the right game plan. And hey, we're only in the first quarter.
Stepping out of bad sports parallels now, the Democrats are doing the work we the People sent them to do. I've heard lots of grumbling over the non-binding resolution and a lot of pre-emptive bashing from folks who expect the impossible to happen overnight. Settle down, support Pelosi and Reid and they will continue to process.
[Update: I hear tell the WH line is that the UN authorizes our presence in Iraq, thus Bush can ignore Congress. Sorry, but that dog won't hunt. Just goes to show that every regime desperately craves the veneer of legitimate authority.]
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Excellent post. Before the November elections there never would have been a vote. Now we had the Dems standing together and managed to peel away a few Republics. As the war continues to get worse, more and more Republics will join in calling for an end.
Posted by: ql in ny | Feb 23, 2007 12:43:48 PM
Is this the same White House that has been claiming all along that we should just ignore the UN and do whatever the hell we want?
Posted by: Karlo | Feb 23, 2007 12:57:08 PM
I could care less what the United Nations thinks. And, until the Republicans defect in numbers large enough to override Bush's veto, there won't be any withdrawal of the authorization, whatever that means Constitutionally.
Did you hear the rumors that Lieberman may officially jump to the GOP if this goes up for a vote?
Posted by: Jake | Feb 23, 2007 1:53:27 PM
You are being suspiciously rational.
Posted by: spinoza | Feb 23, 2007 4:15:01 PM
It's taht old repetition plan. Keep making them defend their lies with more lies, keep them on the defensive, the more they talk, the worse they sound.
I like it.
Posted by: Duckman GR | Feb 24, 2007 2:27:53 AM
Hail Mary = Another 6 months.
Posted by: watertiger | Feb 24, 2007 10:55:19 AM