Archive for January 7th, 2007

by Jay Stevens 

There’s not much the Congress can do to influence the war strategy in Iraq. The legislature really has only two roles in making war: they declare war, and they fund it. Otherwise, they’re just on the sidelines, like the rest of us.

It’s in times like these — when the executive is so obviously incompetent and malignant — that we’d wish it otherwise, especially after an election in which the opposition party experienced a stunning turnaround largely on the basis of the executive’s failed war. There’s also a temptation to insist on an end-around over the Constitution — certainly the President has no aversion to taking power that rightfully belongs to Congress. But I happen to like the Constitution, even if the President and his allies don’t.

As public sentiment grows against the war, the President’s defenders have claimed that Congress could stop the war anytime they please by pulling the funding plug. It’s usually said with a smirk, because they think it would never happen. According to the DC mentality, it would be a PR disaster.

Only Nancy Pelosi is now considering refusing to fund the war if George Bush forges ahead with his plan for escalation.


Now, there are still some out there — notably John McCain and Joe Lieberman — who seem to believe that we can still win in Iraq, and that we shouldn’t leave until we whole-heartedly commit to victory, which necessarily means an escalation of troops in Iraq. If that were, indeed, the case, then Pelosi’s threat would seem to undermine the last chance for victory in the war.

Only that doesn’t seem to be the real reason Bush is considering an escalation. At least, that’s what Joe Biden believes:

“I have reached the tentative conclusion that a significant portion of this administration, maybe even including the vice president, believes Iraq is lost,” Biden said. “They have no answer to deal with how badly they have screwed it up. I am not being facetious now. Therefore, the best thing to do is keep it from totally collapsing on your watch and hand it off to the next guy — literally, not figuratively.”

Biden’s been hardly a dove on the Iraq War, and has, by some accounts, been the least partisan and most practical in his approach on the war. That Biden would say this speaks volumes.

So…the escalation isn’t a last-ditch effort to save the war…it’s a delay tactic to keep the ultimate ignominy of the Iraq War from landing on Bush’s shoulders. In that case, Pelosi is absolutely correct. We should not send more troops to die in Iraq to protect George W Bush’s name.

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