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Thursday, May 24, 2007

President Bush gets his war bill

Congressional Democrats caved this week, giving the President Bush a war funding bill with no deadline. Let me count the ways this stinks:
  1. The American people sent the Democrats to Congress in a landslide victory in November 2006 because of two things: Republican corruption (Tom DeLay, Tom Foley, et al) and the War in Iraq.
  2. Congress has been reasserting its rightful constitutional authority by starting investigations of many highly corrupt activities in this administration (wiretapping, political nepotism, lying, cheating, stealing, et al). Taking control of the purse strings is part of that job.
  3. What really serves the troops better? Giving the President license to keep them fighting and dying or bringing them home?
Let's put it this way. The constitution expressly gives the power of warmaking to Congress. Here's a quick tutorial on war powers, for those whose last constitution-reading came in high school:

The Congress shall have Power:

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress....


The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States....

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur....
Notice where most of the bold type is? Congress - the people - rules the army. In other words, Congress decides how big the army is, when it should be called into action, how it shall be funded, and when it shall come home. The President's constitutional authority is to toot the horn.

Congress should pass a deadline for troop withdrawal by cutting off war funding. Then let President Bush decide whether to toot the horn for withdrawal - he either brings the troops home, or wants them to fight without money. Who supports the troops then?

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