The Bush administration's has assumed a posture regarding the Iraq war that our President is the Commander in Chief, that he will be serving as such until January 2009. As far as they're concerned, the many Democrats and Republicans in both chambers of Congress who are opposed to the idea of a surge in the occupation, as well as the 70% of the public with the same opinion, should just respect this fact and let the same people who got us into this mess take care of it themselves.
Besides the almost stunning arrogance this position reveals, it is also not how many legal experts believe our government was designed by the framers of the Constitution.
As Reuters reports in an article that ought to be read by every American concerned with his or her country, Congress has the power to end the war in Iraq according to some of this nation's top legal experts (including a former Bush administration attorney).
According to the article:
With many lawmakers poised to confront President George W. Bush by voting disapproval of his war policy in the coming days, four of five experts called before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee said Congress could go further and restrict or stop U.S. involvement if it chose.
"I think the constitutional scheme does give Congress broad authority to terminate a war," said Bradford Berenson, a Washington lawyer who was a White House associate counsel under Bush from 2001 to 2003.
"It is ultimately Congress that decides the size, scope and duration of the use of military force," said Walter Dellinger, former acting solicitor general -- the government's chief advocate before the Supreme Court -- in 1996-97, and an assistant attorney general three years before that.
Some legal experts do think that as CIC, Bush is ultimately the "decider", but others disagree. While the White House would love to simply end all discussion of this matter, the role of the Legislative Branch should really be heavily debated right now.
The Senate is set in the coming week to take up a resolution opposing Bush's recent decision to add 21,500 troops in Iraq. But as Reuters points out, unfortunately any resolution that were passed would not be binding on the president, while legislation to cut funds -- assuming it passed -- would be. In other words, passing a resolution or sense of Congress or any other such statement is pretty much worthless and a waste of time. Democratic lawmakers should be ashamed if this is all they are able to accomplish.
It's also important to keep in mind that the Democrats, do have plans for fixing the problem, namely offering a phased withdrawal (or re-deployment in military terms). And under the proposed Feingold plan, a limited number of troops would actually remain in Iraq in order to conduct "targeted counter-terrorism" and training missions under the Feingold plan. And there is plenty of historical precedent for Congress placing limits on military deployments and funding.
surplus to political requirements
1 year ago