Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday it would be a mistake for Congress to micromanage the Iraq war and she encouraged lawmakers to support President Bush's troop increase.
"I would hope that Congress would recognize that it's very important for them to have the oversight role," Rice said. "But when it comes to the execution of policy in the field, there has to be a clear relationship between the commander in chief and the commanders in the field."
Where to begin?
How about with the observation that SOMEONE has to manage this war. The Bush administration has mangled this war from the decision to mislead the nation into Iraq, its further policy of deception in terms of how US troops would be received (there was NEVER any reason to think that 'candy and flowers' were a likely outcome), and in terms of the number of troops that would be required (the now thouroughly discredited Rumsfeld Doctrine), the cost of the war in both dollars and lives (remember "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED"?).
Secondly, the 'commander in chief' only has a relationship with the 'commanders in the field' when those commanders agree with what he, as the 'decider' has already developed as a preconceived (and ill-conceived) notion. When he adopted the Rumsfeld Doctrine and professional soldiers argued that more troops were necessary, he ignored them. Now, when it serves his political purposes to have a 'surge' of troops, the generals have said it won't make a difference. But he goes ahead anyway. There doesn't seem to be a real working relationship between the President and the generals. Certainly not one that the Congress should avoid disrupting.
Americans should not accept the 'wink and nod' reference to congressional oversight by Rice. She speaks for an administration that has no toleration for oversight, unless the overseers simply rubber stamp the Decider-in-Chief's policies.
Congress failed the American people by adequately overseeing the Administration's ill-fated decision to take the US to war, and by passing a Gulf of Tonkin resolution giving the President a hand too free in Iraq.
Congress must not fail the nation again. They must step up and and oversee and, when necessary, limit this war, prevent it from broadening, and hasten it's end.
At present, they are indeed failing again. No meaningful action has come from this Congress in regards to the war. The House has passed a non-binding resolution. Key phrase: Non-binding. The Senate has failed to do even that much. No meaningful timetables, benchmarks, or binding measures of restraint (clarifying, for example, the lack of authority to take th nation to war with Iran) have been enacted. The stakes are too high for a 'do-nothing' Congress.
The people must demand more.