Thursday, February 01, 2007

A united opposition

This is a very significant development in DC.
Two senators [John Warner, a Virginia Republican, and Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat] leading separate efforts to put Congress on record against President Bush's troop buildup in Iraq joined forces Wednesday, agreeing on a nonbinding resolution that would oppose the plan and potentially embarrass the White House. 

It lacks Levin's language saying the troop increase is against the national interest, and it drops an earlier provision by Warner suggesting Senate support for some additional troops.

The resolution is likely to pose a threat to the White House because of its potential appeal to Republicans who have grown tired of the nearly four-year war and want a chance to express their concerns.

Many will try to downplay the significance of this because (1) the language is softened from the desired Democrats language and (2) Pres. Bush is the decider, and the resolution has no force of law.
Actually, because of point #2, point #1 is irrelevant.  Since the resolution is not law and will not- in a practical sense- stop the surge, the fact that the language is softened does not matter.  What will matter is that, apparently, a large number of senators will likely sign on to this resolution- from both parties.  The Democratic resolution would likely have failed to get a majority (with there being only 50 Dem. Senators due to the illness of Sen. Johnson, and the fact that some Democrats would not be on board), but this resolution may be able to get more than 60 votes.
Through this resolution, the Senate- perhaps later the House- can begin to do what it should have done 4 years ago- weigh in on specific policy options regarding Iraq, and define some parameters for US involvement there.  Ideally four years ago the Congress would have told the President 'no' when he sought provoke unnecessary conflict, but, at a bare minimum, the Congress should have examine the issue more closely, helped to define goals and objectives, and made limitations for US action clear.
Congress has forsaken its constitutional responsibilities.  It is time that the members of Congress stand up and take those responsibilities seriously.  It is also time that they be called to account that they, not just Pres. Bush, are very much responsible for the immoral and ineffectual war in Iraq, and the damage to US prestige and interests it has caused.


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