"Turns out that challenging President George W. Bush’s military policy is a lot trickier than the Democrats thought. For reasons they knew in advance: Congress has no say over the management of the war, which is constitutionally the president’s prerogative, and his alone. And for reasons they didn’t anticipate: their own internal divisions.
The party may have a majority, albeit a razor-thin one in the Senate, but it doesn’t have unanimity on how to exploit it to end the war. Far from it.
Today, 140,000 U.S. troops are still in Iraq, with at least another 21,500 starting to trickle in as part of Bush’s troop "surge." Nobody knows how long they’ll be there, or how many more will join them.
Democrats in the House and Senate have been scrambling to find ways of putting restrictions on Bush’s handling of the war – ways they can all agree on – before this week’s debate on his latest military budget request.
Should the troops be pulled out immediately or a timeline set for withdrawal? Should the original 2002 resolution authorizing the war be rescinded or ignored? Should funding, which Congress controls, be curtailed or left in place?"
Toronto Daily Star
The Democrats should be careful about their congressional actions concerning the War in Iraq. They need to distinguish between:
– a national debate over foreign policy to include; expression of their beliefs by resolutions over responsibility for the war, the desirability of continuing to occupy Iraq, perhaps a binding resolution concerning combat operations against Iran and
– legislation which seeks to direct and limit the president and commander in chief of the armed forces as to how he should employ US forces. To attempt to do that, is, I think, of dubious constitutionality. In addition, to do so is to assume responsibility for the future of our engagement in Iraq. It is quite possible that there could be a marked deterioration in the situation of US combat forces in Iraq. The recent apparent "improvement" in the security situation in Iraq is probably a passing thing. Certainly, the massacres of Shia pilgrims this last week must not seem like an improvement in security to the Shia Arabs. If the Congress and the Democratic majority limit the funding, logistics or strength of American forces in Iraq, then they should expect that history will hold them at least partially responsible for whatever might happen there.
Finally, it seems to me that there is a constituency that must be heeded with regard to judgments over success or failure in Iraq. That constituency is made up of the men and women who have fought the war, are fighting the war or will fight the war. So far as I can determine, that constituency is still overwhelmingly of the opinion that they are fighting the good fight, that they will prevail and that their comrades’ blood cries out for vindication through victory.
I think that the Congress and the Democrats should be very careful about the opinion of that constituency. pl