Pelosi threatens to yank funding for a Bush Iraq escalation

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.

Gasp!

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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  1. I am not sure that ‘yanking’ funding was how I took it. I took that she was claiming that Bush would have to explain his reasoning. In short: accountability.

  2. So, I think that the take on Biden is pretty accurate. While he tried to explain that congress had little to do with war policy, I think he was trying to make sure that the onus of the war stayed in Mr Bush’s lap.

    I wish we could do that: you dug your hole, you get yourself out of it. There is just so much at stake. I can see it now, we for an exit and when things go south in Iraq neocons will blame it on us. We let the war continue and people die. The stakes are big, and no matter what the neocons will blame it on us.

  3. This thing about “winning” in Iraq is duckspeak – it’s part of the framework that we operate in. Democrats want to “win” too, and that means Iraq is screwed no matter who is in power.

    If we “win”, who loses?

    We have a moral duty to make reparations to Iraq, to help its citizens repatriate and recover, as our war was illegal and brutal. But we do not have a right to “win”. All that Bush every wanted was a Vichy Iraq that would operate under our thumb, hold ersatz elections and allow us to control their economy and use their oil as our own lever in international affairs, and allow us at least 14 military bases to stage other military operations in the area. If we get all of that, we win, I suppose, but Iraq loses, big.

    Real freedom for Iraq was never in the cards. It was always a colonial style of freedom wherein they get to do what they like only as long as we like what they do. I hope and pray that the Democrats and Republicans do not get their way, that we do not “win”.

  4. Big Swede

    The benefits of prevailing is to guarantee our rights to purchase oil from Iraq. If we can’t buy oil there or drill domestically then we’re more susceptible to lunatics like Hugo, or some Arabian Oil Sheiks or more importantly our Cold War buddy Russia. In fact, Russia is negotiating new exclusive contracts with Iran even though they have the largest reserves in the world. Power play maybe? Read all about it here.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/EB11Ag03.html

  5. Big Swede

    Mark, I know you never supported the Iraq invasion. But the majority of clear thinking people know there’s more freedoms now, than when Saddam ruled.

  6. I’m actually thrilled to see a conservative admit that it’s about the oil. Why not present this to us in the beginning? Then we could have had a national discussion about the importance of oil, what we’re willing to do to acquire, and maybe bat around some possible alternatives…

  7. Big Swede

    Don’t get too excited, we didn’t converse during the invasion. I’ve always wondered if we hadn’t expelled Iraq from Kuwait or conquered Saddam, what the price of gas would truly be.

  8. Actually, Swede, Iraq has regressed. It was a counter-Arab model when the non-sectarian Baathists were in charge, with women in positions of importance walking around without burkas, entitled to free education and health care, as were all Iraqis. It was paid for by oil revenue. They’ve lost that now. They didn’t get to vote, and would have voted Saddam out of power had they the chance, but would likely vote him back in given what they have now – primitive religous rules reinstated, limited health care and utilities, massive expatriations, no safety – are all due to the US invasion.

    So your statement, “… the majority of clear thinking people know there’s more freedoms now, than when Saddam ruled” is patently false.

    ANd a point that cannot be emphasized enough – the US has killed far more Iraqis than Saddam, even in his wettest of dreams.

  9. Big Swede

    Mark, we both know we’re at loggerheads when it comes to who killed who in Iraq. So, I’d like to have you comment on whether we are more free when we purchase our crude from many sources instead of just a few?

  10. Big Swede

    Will ya lookie here. Russia just cut off Europe’s pipeline. All apoligies accepted.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/09/wrussia09.xml

    Where else can I gloat?!




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