I just read an article that was posted in the Metro that describes the Democrats plan to submit a non-binding disapproval of the Bush's administrations plan to deploy 20,000 additional troops in Iraq.
I ask what's the point? We know that many members of the House and of the Senate disapprove of the handling of the war in Iraq, the midterm elections signified that. We also know that the Democrats control the house and have a small majority in the Senate.
Before I go further into my rant I'll supply you with the article so you can see for yourself why I'm irritated:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Democratic leaders circulated a nonbinding resolution Monday saying that Congress "disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush ... to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq."
The measure, expected to come to a vote by Friday, also says that "Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States armed forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq."
Debate on the resolution is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, with each of the 435 House members allotted five minutes to speak. It will mark the first debate in Congress on the war since Democrats won control of the House and Senate in last November's elections. Opposition to the war figured heavily in the outcome of the election.
Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have vowed to force an end to U.S. participation in the war, and made debate over a nonbinding resolution a symbolic first step.
The House measure was drafted in simple, unadorned terms, an attempt by Democrats to maximize the number of Republicans who would support it and also to emphasize support for the troops. Republican leaders have said they expect at least a few dozen defections when the vote is taken later in the week.
House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said the GOP will have an alternative, but it is not clear that majority Democrats will allow it to be offered on the House floor.
"We're going to have Republicans who are skeptical of (Bush's) plan who'll probably vote for this," he said. Asked if he thought House Republicans would lose a third of their members to the Democrats' resolution, he said, "I don't think we'll lose that many."
Boehner complained Sunday that Democrats had backed out of a promise to allow an immediate, wide-ranging debate on Iraq.
On Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Republicans would be permitted to propose an alternative this week to the Democrats' resolution. But on Sunday, Hoyer said that is "not necessarily our plan."
Hoyer, D-Md., said a House vote will be limited to the proposed resolution opposing President Bush's troop escalation and a Republican alternative would be voted on 30 to 45 days from now.
"Live up to your word," Boehner, R-Ohio, told Hoyer. Democrats, Boehner said, "won't even let us have a substitute. ... Give us a vote this week."
Boehner said Republicans want to offer a resolution saying a bipartisan panel should oversee the president's plan, with benchmarks to keep track of whether it is progressing.
"You're going to have that opportunity," Hoyer replied.
The lawmakers appeared together on "Meet the Press" on NBC.
Who is really in control of a war? Congress has the official power to declare war and can set appropriations for a war. The President via an Executive Order also has the power to declare war, though this has rarely been used and if my U.S. History is correct Harry Truman was the first President to exercise such power. The President is Commander in Chief.
I'm not a Bush supporter. I do not approve of his handling in Iraq. I wish the war was over. I hate to see American or any other nation's troops massacred in what I believe is ultimately a fruitless war on terror. However, we have made a commitment in both Iraq and in Afghanistan. The United States pulling out of either country with their tales between their legs would be catastrophic.
What's the answer how to handle this situation? I don't have it. I don't think most people do. John McCain suggested building up the U.S. troops. If I believed such a move would lead to a quicker resolution I'd say I was all for it. Call me a cynic. I can see us in Iraq ten years from now in some capacity.
There's a major pissing contest going on between Congress and the President and frankly in stinks. Ideally the most sound decisions would come from a group of military experts along with the President and his staff. It would be wonderful if Congress and/or the people backed the resolution, but if it brings a quick end to the conflict and we don't agree, who really cares. Being a politician isn't about kowtowing to demands from the public. It's about making the right decision. In this case the right decision is to support a government that U.S. forces along with the help of our allies helped to topple. You can't run away and hide now.
As you can see I still don't have an answer (otherwise maybe I'd seek political office--god help us if that ever happens). I just think Congress could be doing something else like fixing the impending collapse of Social Security, overhauling the Medicare system and health care systems in general, funding alternative forms of fuels such as hydrogen and ethanol...you get my point. I feel like all we are really seeing is posturing for the Democratic and Republican Presidential primaries. Frankly it stinks.
Finally, don't think that I believe dialogue concerning the handling of Iraq is fruitless. I think that if it ultimately leads to a solution its good. If it's just to bitch without coming up with a solution--What's the point?