Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sen. Kennedy has the right approach to stop the surge

By Nancy Jane Moore

Sen. Edward Kennedy has introduced a bill (pdf) that would require a vote of Congress authorizing funding before additional troops could be sent to Iraq.

The findings section of the bill contains the following language:
The mission of the Armed Forces of the United States today in Iraq no longer bears any resemblance to the mission of the Armed Forces authorized by Congress in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
This section implies that the previous authorization is no longer sufficient to authorize Bush to commit additional funds without Congress -- a position I heartily endorse. It's about time someone pointed that out. And, obviously, refusing to authorize funds for more troops is the most practical way to stop Bush's pathetic effort to shore up his tattered legacy by throwing more lives away.

Unfortunately, the rest of the Democratic leadership is holding back. The New York Times reports this morning that both the Senate and the House are planning "symbolic" votes against the increase in troops. These votes would, as The Times points out, "do nothing in practical terms to block Mr. Bush's intention to increase the United States military presence in Iraq."

Don't the Democrats understand that they were elected to do something about the Iraq disaster? Don't they understand that they've got some real power now, and that many Republicans are edging away from Bush's crazy plans?

According to The Times, the Democrats do say that the symbolic vote is the "minimum" that they're going to do, and they haven't ruled out a cap on troops or a limit on funds. And if they've got a strategic plan to suck the sane Republicans into supporting these limits, I'm all for it.

But Bush is going to go on television tonight and announce his "surge" in troops. The Democrats need to counter that with something much more forceful than letters to the White House and "symbolic" votes.

Speaking of Bush's plans, The Washington Post reports this morning that Bush's decision to increase forces was made over the objections of his top military advisors. Apparently most of the military brass knows a lost cause when they see one.

Getting the US out of Iraq without making things even worse is a tricky proposition -- as I've said before, the only good solution to the Iraq War would be to go back in time and not invade, and unfortunately that option doesn't exist.

But how many more US soldiers have to die or suffer life-altering injuries while the Democrats fiddle around with "symbolic" votes instead of stopping Bush?

Thanks to Balkinization for the link to the Kennedy bill.

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