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Drive to "de-authorize" war failing in Congress
Posted by: McQ on Monday, February 26, 2007

If Robert Novak is correct, Democrats in Congress are going to be left with only one choice of actions soon - defund the war. Apparently this is becoming more and more clear to those such as Senators Biden and Levin who are attempting another Murthaesque end-around:
Democrats do not cloak the political nature of their efforts. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, participating in a Nevada forum for Democratic presidential candidates last week, exultantly announced to applause his intent to "revoke the president's authority that he was given . . . to go to war." The mantra is not limited to the presidential hopefuls from the Senate. On the campaign trail in New Hampshire, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico also called for de-authorization.
The precedent for "de-autorization" is taken from, unsurprisingly, Vietnam. But as Novak points out, circumstances aren't at all similar:
A 1964 resolution (passed with only two dissenting votes in the Senate) gave President Lyndon B. Johnson his requested free hand in Vietnam because of a trumped-up attack on a U.S. naval vessel in the Gulf of Tonkin. It was repealed in 1970 as an amendment to a noncontroversial bill.

But as is true with most Iraq-Vietnam analogies, de-authorization of the Tonkin Gulf resolution bears little resemblance to what is being contemplated today. President Richard M. Nixon began pulling combat troops out of Vietnam soon after he took office in 1969, and he offered no objection to repeal of the LBJ resolution. It passed the Senate 81 to 10, with unanimous support from Republicans.
Of course, politically, that is nothing like the case now. You have a resolute president, backed at least by the minority in the Senate, who won't be willing to sign something like the 1969 revocation. And the support for such a measure today, as opposed to '69, is not overwhelming and, in fact, may be in the minority:
One of those two Republican senators would have to be Nebraska's Chuck Hagel, who has fearlessly critiqued Bush's war policy. But Hagel told me that he is not inclined to support a repeal. If Hagel is lost, Democrats might fall short of the 50 votes necessary for final passage, much less the 60 necessary to close off debate.
Norm Coleman, another anti-war Republican, has also said he won't support this. Add Senators Lieberman and Johnson from the Democratic side (Johnson because he is unable to vote), and even if all other Senate Democrats were to vote for such a proposal they'd only have 48 votes.

So the Democrats are being forced toward "fish or cut bait" time, after spending a couple of months trying to find clever ways to avoid responsibility for the war while tying the hands of the administration. It appears that they're left with little but the obvious. Defund the war.

I just don't think the have the political cojones to do that. And because they don't, I think, at some point, there will be a heavy political price to pay. Interestingly I also feel that if they actually did defund it, they'd also pay a heavy political price. A real 'no-win' situation of their own making.
 
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Heh, they can do it ’better’.
They said so.
They promised.

With their mandate from the American public, they ought to feel no fear in stranding our troops defunding the war while they work out the master plan to withdraw to Okinawa details.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I just don’t think the have the political cojones to do that. And because they don’t, I think, at some point, there will be a heavy political price to pay. Interestingly I also feel that if they actually did defund it, they’d also pay a heavy political price. A real ’no-win’ situation of their own making.
If I may steal a line so often written on this site:

It’s easier to snipe from the wings that it is to govern, isn’t it?

HAW FREAKING HAW!!!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Actually, I think the "no win" exists primarily in your mind because you aren’t prepared to face some hard facts yourself. If you want to maintain the self-image of superior support for the troops and superior commitment to a serious policy in regard to the war and terrorism in general, then show it.

1. How are you planning to pay for taking two wars to completion?

2. How are you planning to to keep both wars adquately spplied with troops?

3. Are you planning to enlist?


I’m not going to say "Put up, or shut up,’ because telling someone to shut up is censorship. I am saying this: I do not believe in the seriousness of the commitment of anyone who isn’t willing to explain HOW they are going to translate their rhetorical support for the wars into concrete action in the real world.

It’s the Republican leadership and much of its followership that is indulging in empty posturing, while waiting for a miracle.

It’s the Democrats who are trying to take the responisblity for making decisions about Iraq. You might not like thhe decisions, but, unlike the Republicans, they are at least beinng reponisble and facing facts.

If you don’t want a withdrawal, then explain how we can stay.
 
Written By: laura
URL: http://
1. How are you planning to pay for taking two wars to completion?
Taxes. And you?
2. How are you planning to to keep both wars adquately supplied with troops?
The military is being expanded. Haven’t you heard?
3. Are you planning to enlist?
Well I’d have to come out of retirement to do that since I’ve already spent 28 years in the military.

Any other questions?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Are you planning to enlist?
Irrelevant, and besides, he has been there and done that.

We are paying for it now, I see no reason we cannot in the future. If they need more troops we recruit more. That is something they are planning on now. If you have been reading up on things you should know that. We spend comparatively little on defense compared to the past, if it is important we can do it indefinitely. So all your "hard choices" come down to, is it worth doing or not? The rest is just noise to hide the real question.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
McQ:

I agree that the Democrats are in a political pickle that they’d rather not have to deal with, but I don’t see how it’s "of their own making". Are you saying they should have filibustered the AUMF? Are you saying that Bush’s politicization of this conflict and his refusal to take any sensible stems to reduce the damage to the armed forces and America’s strategic position in the world has nothing to do with the situation the Democrats are in?

I agree that all these half-hearted end runs at ending the conflict are badly organized and are just delaying the inevitable. I think the best spin I can put on it is that, later, when Democrats start advocating tougher medicine, they will be able to say that they tried to end the war through less drastic means, but were blocked by Republican partisanship. Of course, these measures will probably fail by the same vote margins the earlier ones did, but it will put the "moderate" GOP senators and reps in a difficult position in ’08, because they will have to explain several votes against withdrawing from Iraq instead of just one and each vote will have a different rationale to explain.

Of course, whether or not this is an actual strategy or the same kind of pussyfooting that got them beaten in ’02 or ’04 is anybody’s guess. Maybe the last election made an optimist out of me.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
That’d be "steps", not "stems".
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
It’s the Democrats who are trying to take the responisblity for making decisions about Iraq. You might not like thhe decisions, but, unlike the Republicans, they are at least beinng reponisble and facing facts
Yeah, facing the fact that they don’t have the stones to outright end the war, so they’re trying to pussyfoot around, do end runs and whatever else they can do to sort of end the war w/o taking any political fallout.
I’m not going to say "Put up, or shut up,’ because telling someone to shut up is censorship. I am saying this: I do not believe in the seriousness of the commitment of anyone who isn’t willing to explain HOW they are going to translate their rhetorical support for the wars into concrete action in the real world.
Then why aren’t you demanding that the Dems end the war NOW, instead of trying non-binding resolutions, "slow-bleed" strategies, and AUMF revisions that won’t get passed? or be effective?

I do not believe in the seriousness of the commitment of anyone who isn’t willing to explain HOW they are going to translate their rhetorical support for ending the war into concrete and immediate action in the real world.

Don’t ya just HATE it when your own words are used againt ya?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I agree that the Democrats are in a political pickle that they’d rather not have to deal with, but I don’t see how it’s "of their own making".
I’m referring to their promises to "do something" about Iraq during the ’06 midterms if given control of Congress. But the only thing they can really "do" is defund the war, which would then negatively impact the troops they claim to care about and give them ownership of any failure.

You’d have to assume, Badger, that they understood what their only real power was in that regard back then even if now they’re attempting to avoid using it because defunding the war, despite it’s unpopularity, would be political suicide. Certainly appears to be a situation of their own making from where I’m standing.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
1. How are you planning to pay for taking two wars to completion?

2. How are you planning to to keep both wars adequately supplied with troops?

3. Are you planning to enlist?
1 & 2 - Higher taxes, and the Draft Laura, the Draft. Those will make you much happier, I’m sure. We do have that option. This is a war, after all. Many of the same people trying to make it a ’not war’ voted to make it a war 4 to 5 years ago. If they want to get the public behind ending the war, re-institute the draft, raise taxes contingent on ending them when the war ends.

Or, you could leave it alone & employ the surge without continually handing Iran/Al Queda/insurgents the constant propaganda victories and moral support.

3 - ah, the chickenhawk meme - no, I’m not planning to enlist (as if they’d take me, we’re not down to the need for the blind/deaf/old guy battalions yet).

If that makes my opinion invalid then I’ll exchange my opinion about the need for success in Iraq with any number of social programs you might favor when you yourself aren’t willing to contribute your after tax income to them. If you want these programs, whatever they are, you ought to be willing to contribute your all to them, and if you don’t you ought not to express your opinion about them or voice support for them.
I’m going to call this the ’taxdodger’ meme, not terribly original I know.
I’m not going to say "Put up, or shut up,’ because telling someone to shut up is censorship
But, we all know, you did Laura. An amusing literary device where you say what you want while saying you aren’t going to say it.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
McQ:

I’m definately not trying to say that Democrats have nothing at all to do with their predicament. They’ve needed to nut up and do the right thing for a long time now. But when the Bush Administration decided to lauch a partisan war, to exploit it for partisan purposes, and mismanage it to the point where it became unwinnable, the Democrats hands were essentially tied. Most Americans want elected representatives who will "do something" to end the war. If the DNC had decided not to run promising to take actions to end the Iraq War, the Democratic party would have torn itself apart, since that would go against the desires of about 90% of the membership. If Democrats never vote on defunding or timetable legislation in the House and choose to pretend that non-binding resolutions qualifies as living up to their campaign promises, then I don’t think we have much of a disagreement here. However, I am hoping that they are just working through their more "moderate" options right now in order to clear the way for binding legislation and giving a lot of purple district/state Republicans some tough votes to explain in ’08.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
But when the Bush Administration decided to lauch a partisan war, to exploit it for partisan purposes,
How does Bush launch a "partisian war" for "partisian purposes" when the DEMS in congress had to sign on?

Just asking, but don’t let me move you off your talking points or anything like that pal.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Most Americans want elected representatives who will "do something" to end the war.
Except in CT I guess.....and funny how that race was supposed to be the national indicator on the nation’s Iraq mood (at least it was when Lamont won the primary and the press could exploit him to snipe at Bush, once Lieberman crushed him it wasn’t really that important after all they decided)

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
laura asks -
3. Are you planning to enlist?
Again. This has to be the fourth post in a week where she throws out the enlist or shut up line. Oh wait, she didn’t say shut up. Right looker? She just used an amusing literary device (you mean they have those Down East??? ;-)

Cripes, I’m beginning to miss MK. Anyone know what happened to our resident moonbat in charge?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Shark,

1) Bush intentionally tied his pre-existing desires to invade Iraq to the GWOT by making spurious claims about Hussein’s links to Al-Qaeda and forced a vote on the war immediately prior to the 2002 elections. Since then he has slandered opponents of the war as being supporters of terrorists and haters of American troops.

2) Wow, you’re right. Because of one unusual Senate race in CT, the ’06 election didn’t matter. Anti-war Democrats didn’t really knock off six GOP Senate seats because the American public is tired of Congress’s do-nothing war policies. It was because a bunch of freepers were mad because of immigration or something.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
Meagin, No she didn’t say shut up in her post, I did. In comments associated with a previous post, I told her the Democrats need to Defund the war or STFU.

The Bush administration took the results of the ’06 election to heart and sought advice as to how to proceed. And Bush, as Commander In Chief, made his decision to change from "stay the course" to the new "surge" strategy. A strategy that includes far more than just adding some # of troops to the conflict but changes the way ground is taken and then held and holds the Iraqi govenment and military to task for their efforts in the success of this change. It is very like similar strategies proposed by no less than 15 Democrats prior to the election.

The Democrats, in order to avoid responsibility for any results associated with the war, continue to come up with increasingly bizzare ways to try and end the war but not do the one thing garunteed to accomplish that objective, defund the war. And now even their own caucus is looking at the Murtha "Slow Bleed" plan with concern. So new ways are being examined that would end the war, give the Democrats the glory in doing so, and keep them away from any criticsms regarding the results of any gory aftermath.

You are opposed to the war. Fine - stand up and stop the funding, completely. Every day that goes by and you do not propose to do what you promised you would do in the election and you say is the right thing to do makes you complicit in every casualty that occurs while you wait.

But to defund the war is to take responsibility for the results of "cutting and running". So, Laura, you and the Democrats need to grow a set and then "take the responisblity for making decisions about Iraq" by defunding the war. And I will say it once again - put up or STFU.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
1) Bush intentionally tied his pre-existing desires to invade Iraq to the GWOT by making spurious claims about Hussein’s links to Al-Qaeda and forced a vote on the war immediately prior to the 2002 elections. Since then he has slandered opponents of the war as being supporters of terrorists and haters of American troops.
TALKING POINTS ALERT! TALKING POINTS ALERT!!

Still, the Dems voted for it. Or do you contend that he lied to them and misled them still? That makes it a bi-partisian affair. Try as you might, you can’t get around that reality. Just ask Hillary....as for "slandering" anyone, if the shoe fits, wear it. If the war is so bad it has to be ended, then end it NOW instead of playing non-binding, slow bleed dodgeball. The fact that they don’t is evidence of their desire to play politics with the lives of the troops. Don’t get mad at me, follow Mother Sheehan’s lead and get mad at your Dem "leaders" (Of course, if you did that you couldn’t rage at it all being Bush’s fault, so I doubt you will. Cripples gotta have their crutch after all)
2) Wow, you’re right. Because of one unusual Senate race in CT, the ’06 election didn’t matter. Anti-war Democrats didn’t really knock off six GOP Senate seats because the American public is tired of Congress’s do-nothing war policies. It was because a bunch of freepers were mad because of immigration or something.
So then why wasn’t the Pro-war Indy. knocked out by the anti-war Dem. in a very liberal state? Again, a message was being sent about the war, but not the one you’re taking away from it.

Don’t let this get in the way of your actual predetermined lines (which are revealed when you bring out Freepers)

You, cindyb, and laura have this quaint trick of saying that the election was a referendum on Iraq....until it suits your purposes to say that it wasn’t.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Shark:

Regarding my second point, that was meant to be read in a sarcastic tone and I only brought up Freepers in the context of some conservatives’ self-serving theories about the results of the 06 election.
You, cindyb, and laura have this quaint trick of saying that the election was a referendum on Iraq....until it suits your purposes to say that it wasn’t.


When do any of us say that it wasn’t a referendum on Iraq?

Lieberman won because he had many of the advantages incuments have in a state that isn’t really that liberal (they’ve had a Republican governor for two decades now and their congressional delegation was majority-Republican until this election, when two or three pro-war Republicans were kicked out). Also, Lamont was a problematic candidate and ran a very flawed campaign. Lieberman’s re-election does not cancel out the mountain of evidence that public rejection of the Bush Administration’s approach to the Iraq War played an enormous role in 06. You can scream in ALL CAPS as much as you like, but it won’t change anything.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
Since Laura seems to have already been thoroughly deconstructed by others, it would probably be redundant to join in piling on. But, I really couldn’t resist.

Laura, I was willing to cut you some slack before, right up until I saw this:

"3. Are you planning to enlist?"

Stop this. Just stop it. As pointed out to you, McQ is a 28-year veteran. I believe Dale Franks is a vet, as am I. So, I’m sure, are others who comment here. But really, so what, and why should that matter, if we support at the very least a positive outcome (i.e. victory)? Besides being a tired and intellectually dishonest meme, it is particularly galling when it comes from a person (as it often does) who has never served and most likely never will. So, I’m assuming that when a military action comes along that is somehow more to your liking, such as Darfur, we can count on your services? Oh, too old to join? No problem, how about signing on with some aid agency or become a contractor that provides transportation, reconstruction, or logistical services? I ran into plenty of people like that in Iraq who had little support for the Chimperor or the war itself, but still wanted to provide some sort of helping hand to the Iraqis.

However, when you are confronted with views from veterans, military members, or just average folks who support the war effort you seem to discount their views as "posturing", a favored term from you. On the other hand, you positively swoon for anti-war vets such as Paul "Unterfuhrer" Hackett, as somehow showing the "courage" for speaking out against the war.

You speak often about paying for the war and having enough troops to fight it. Well, the war IS being paid for, as already pointed out. To be fair, I’m in favor of a slightly larger military, but again Laura, you have shown your ignorance in that increasing the size of the military increases the cost in terms of paying for new personnel, caring for their dependents, as well as paying for their equipment, training, and logistics.

But hey, what do I know? I’m just "posturing". Call me Madonna.
 
Written By: cjd
URL: http://
Regarding my second point, that was meant to be read in a sarcastic tone and I only brought up Freepers in the context of some conservatives’ self-serving theories about the results of the 06 election
Gotcha. Sarcasm is hard to read ;)
Lieberman’s re-election does not cancel out the mountain of evidence that public rejection of the Bush Administration’s approach to the Iraq War played an enormous role in 06. You can scream in ALL CAPS as much as you like, but it won’t change anything
Here’s the sticky wicket....rejecting the Bush approach to Iraq doesn’t automatically mean they’re anti-war (or pro-ending the war, however you want to phrase it)
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
shark: so when voters cast a vote for McCaskill or Brown or Tester or Webb or Whitehouse or Cardin or any of the other 06 dems, they may well have been casting a vote for the surge? Are you kidding? NONE of the Democrats who took GOP seats in 06 ran on a pro-surge platform.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
shark: so when voters cast a vote for McCaskill or Brown or Tester or Webb or Whitehouse or Cardin or any of the other 06 dems, they may well have been casting a vote for the surge? Are you kidding? NONE of the Democrats who took GOP seats in 06 ran on a pro-surge platform.
That’s because the "surge" wasn’t on the agenda as an option then, except in the abstract. That’s a very shoddy argument.

They voted (in my opinion) to see the war prosecuted in a more effective manner. They voted for change, not for defeat.

Again, you and the Dems are taking the wrong lesson away from this.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The surge wasn’t on the agenda then because nobody wanted to do it. If the GOP had run on adding more troops to Iraq instead of holding out the chance that they might listen to the Iraq Study Group, they would have lost even more seats. Can you point to a single piece of evidence supporting your self-serving theory about the meaning of the 06 election? Have you met any voters who voted for a Democrat in the hope that they’d send more troops to Iraq? Are you sure they’re not being sarcastic?
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
The surge wasn’t on the agenda then because nobody wanted to do it
.

The surge wasn’t on the agenda because it’s not so much a "surge" as a change in tactics, which is what the "surge" really is - clear and hold.

If the GOP had run on adding more troops to Iraq instead of holding out the chance that they might listen to the Iraq Study Group, they would have lost even more seats.

True, because again, it would’ve been seen as throwing more troops at the problem in the same way. If Bush had accepted Rummy’s resignation prior to the election and made the public aware of the tactical change, the GOP would’ve at least pulled out the Senate. Again, you have myopia on this topic.
Can you point to a single piece of evidence supporting your self-serving theory about the meaning of the 06 election?


Joe Lieberman. And may I add, read the archives of this site. It’s not a self-serving theory to me. What’s there to serve? The election is over, and it’s the Dems who are in the box, not the GOP. They said they’d end the war. So do it already. Saying you’ll do something and then playing with non-binding resolutions and "slow bleed" shows the public your true stripes. And it cheeses your base off (ask Hillary about that)

At the end of the day, the GOP won’t have to defend their votes on measures. Nobody gives a rats a$$ on non-binding measures. And Harry Reid is scared sh*tless to bring the GOP motion to the floor that declares Congress WON’T defund the war. Gee, why could that be? If the war remains unpopular, guess who’ll suffer for it?

Again, harder to be in charge than to snipe from the sidelines, isn’t it?

Try to defund the war. DARE YOU.
Have you met any voters who voted for a Democrat in the hope that they’d send more troops to Iraq? Are you sure they’re not being sarcastic?
I have met some who voted against the GOP because they wanted the war run better (punishment vote).
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Badger, tell the Dems to stop talking and just move to defund NOW if it’s so important.

Why the wait? If you think it’s such great strategy and will put the GOP in the box, why is Reid and Pelosi not pursuing that strategy?

DO IT.

Demand your leaders do it.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Just a quick point Badger, the Iraqi Study group did advocate a surge. In fact they are the ones who called it a surge, not the administration.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Personally, I would call it a counter-offensive to the increasing violence in Baghdad...

We didn’t escalate the violence in Baghdad, the terrorists, insurgents and sectarian radicals did.

We can either leave, and let it slip into more of a mess, which does our short term and long term national security nothing but harm, or we can try to make progress in our strategic goals there.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org/blog/keith_indy
This comment thread is probably expired but I’ll respond anyway,

Lance: The talking point that the ISG advocated the surge is extremely misleading. While they did advocate a slight increase in troops for the initial phase of their recommendations, they also advocate a de facto timetable for withdrawl and serious efforts at diplomacy with Syria and Iran. Knowing that cherry-picking arguments like the one you’re making would be inevitable, Hamilton and Baker specifically said that their recommendations were to be taken as a whole, and not a la carte. They specifically said that if youre only doing one or two things they recommend, while ignoring the rest, it is incorrect to say that you are conforming with ISG recommendations. If Bush withdrew all the troops tomorrow(which ISG does not recommend), and began diplomatic negotiations with Iran (which ISG recommends, in part) would that means that he’s doing what the ISG recommended?

Shark: For the record, I support the Feingold plan to use the power to end the war over the course of 6 months, although I recognize why the Democratic Leadership is, at least, trying to get away with softer medicine first. I don’t understand why you think it will put the GOP in any kind of box. I’m sure you know that the GOP will use it to accuse Democrats day and night of being defeatist traitors.

Your theory is self-serving because it allows you to pretend that the 06 elections don’t constitue virtual proof that the voting public does not want to pursue a military strategy that you favor. Instead, those voters elected politicians who promised to take a different approach to the war than the Bush administration and to bring the Iraq War to as speedy a conclusion as safely possible. I agree that language like "Change course" is ambiguous (welcome to politics) but I hardly think it fooled anybody favoring more aggressive involvement in Iraq into voting Democrat (and that certainly has nothing to do with Lieberman’s victory). You might as well tried to argue that Democrats won because they picked up the votes of voters who want to nuke Iraq into rubble since they promised a "change of course".
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://

 
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