The new Democrat-controlled Congress has no guts when It comes to Iraq and thats good for America. Its been less than a week since the President announced his new plan for victory in Iraq. Even before the new strategy was announced many in Congress announced how much they disagreed with the plan (of course without offering a plan of their own). Perhaps the only exception to the congressional disapproval was Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and self acclaimed most powerful woman in the world. Nancy was too busy worrying about the love life of the Secretary of State, to care about Iraq.
Immediately after the President’s speech many in Congress began to threaten to cut off the funding need to support the war effort. Now it seems that their lack of guts may protect what is now the ONLY Iraq War plan offered to the American public.
As reported by Jason Horowitz in the NY Observer: Despite polls showing Americans overwhelmingly opposed to the war, despite the mounting American military casualties, and despite the obvious ineffectiveness of the entire enterprise until now to bring stability to Iraq, Democrats at the very heart of the party’s anti-war wing still think the political costs would simply be too high. “The President will say we’re in business with Osama bin Laden,” said Representative Charles Rangel, who has been one of the war’s most outspoken opponents in Congress. “Anytime, politically, you have to explain what you are saying, you have a problem. And so if I am there saying, ‘Cut the funds for Iraq and the war in Iraq,’ then someone is going to say, ‘You are taking away rifles.’”……..
…..Steve Israel of New York, who left the House Armed Services Committee to join the Appropriations Committee this month, said he’d be “willing to cut spending in nonessential areas, like these giveaways to some contract agencies,” but made it clear that he would not consider any reductions connected to force protection. Other Democrats in Washington—especially those who happen to be considering a Presidential run in 2008—are wary of going beyond that position. Senator John Kerry’s blunder in 2004 of explaining his vote against one such emergency supplemental—“I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it”—is seared in the collective Democratic consciousness.
…… At a White House press conference on Tuesday about the possibility of the Democrats withholding funding, administration spokesman Tony Snow said, “Well, look, Democrats are going to have to make a choice here, and they’re going to have to decide where they stand in terms of two issues: No. 1, do you want Iraq to succeed, and, if so, what does that mean? And, No. 2, do you believe in supporting the troops, as you say, and how do you express that support?”
On Sunday, Senator Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a candidate for President, appearing on Meet the Press, said that after authorizing the use of force, any Congressional attempt to put a cap on troop strength by cutting funds was unconstitutional. “As a practical matter, there’s no way to say, ‘Mr. President, stop,’” said Mr. Biden. Joe Crowley, a New York Congressman who supports a plan advocated by Mr. Biden to oversee the break-up of Iraq into three loosely confederated regions, also steered clear of cutting funds. “I would be reluctant to cut, but I also want to hear what the emergency is, detail where this money is actually going and what it is being used for,” said Mr. Crowley. “I don’t think it’s the intention of the Congress and the Democratic leadership to send in any way a message that we are going to undermine our troops, not supply them or cut off their funding to hasten [a withdrawal]. We want to do this in an educated way, and the only way we can do that is by holding hearings.”
Bill Kristol takes a more direct approach in the next issue of the Weekly Standard, he has a piece called Boneless Wonders in which he “rips” many in this new congress for their lack of a backbone.
“I remember when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum’s Circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the program which I most desired to see was the one described as ‘The Boneless Wonder.’ My parents judged that the spectacle would be too demoralizing and revolting for my youthful eye, and I have waited 50 years to see The Boneless Wonder–sitting on the Treasury Bench.”
–Winston Churchill, January 28, 1931,
in the House of Commons, referring to Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Today, Boneless Wonders sit on the benches of both parties in Congress. More are to be found on the Democratic side of the aisle than the Republican. But the herd of Boneless Wonders these days is a bipartisan one. Let’s see if we can describe their thinking. Say you’re an average congressman. How do you react to President Bush’s Iraq speech? You suspect, deep down, that he’s probably doing more or less what he needs to do. We can’t just click our heels and get out of Iraq–the consequences would be disastrous. And the current strategy isn’t working. You have said so yourself. Last fall you called for replacing Rumsfeld. You’ve complained that there weren’t enough troops. What’s more, you’ve heard good things about General David Petraeus from colleagues with military expertise. So now Bush has fired Rumsfeld, put Petraeus in command, and sent in more troops. Maybe this new approach deserves a chance to work? But, hey . . . look at those polls! And those op-ed pages! You didn’t come to Washington to support an unpopular president conducting an unpopular war. And the Bush administration is doing a crummy job of explaining this change in strategy. The path ahead in any case is going to be tough, and the new strategy might fail. Besides which, being for “escalation” sure doesn’t sound good. Wasn’t that a problem in Vietnam? So you work on your talking points: You understand the president has a tough set of choices. You’ve got doubts about the path he’s chosen. You’ve got lots of questions. But perhaps we should give it a chance . . . But wait–that doesn’t sound like leadership. That doesn’t look decisive. And, if you’re a Democrat–you didn’t put in all that effort getting elected just so you could get a lot of grief from your own activists. If you’re a Republican from a Democratic-leaning state–you didn’t put in all those hours getting elected just so you could alienate the swing voters you need. So why not take the next step? Condemn the president’s approach! There. That’s a position. But you’re not just a talking head. You’re a legislator. You need to vote. But on what? How about voting to disapprove of the president’s “escalation”? Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have come up with a nonbinding resolution opposing a troop increase. That’s the ticket. After all, you’re not cutting off funds. You’re not embracing any alternative policy. (God knows what it would be.) As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday, “I’m not the president. It is the president’s obligation to set the policy.” What’s your obligation? Certainly not to take responsibility for proposing a real alternative to the president’s policy. No way. Thus, the Boneless Wonders. There are honorable exceptions, and not just among those who support the war. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) reminded his colleagues last week that “Congress is a co-equal branch of government.” He continued: “We have an urgent responsibility here. Congress under Article I, Section 8, has the war-making power. Congress appropriates funds for the war. Congress does not dispense with its obligation to the American people simply by opposing a troop surge in Iraq. It is simply not credible to maintain that one opposes the war, yet continues to fund it. If you oppose the war, then don’t vote to fund it.” Logical. But naive and quixotic, in the eyes of the Boneless Wonders. So the Boneless Wonders will push a nonbinding resolution to, as Joe Biden put it, “demonstrate to the president he’s on his own.” Sure, the resolution will weaken the president’s hand abroad–but that’s not their problem. It will lessen the chances of success in Iraq–but that’s above their pay grade. It will dispirit friends and embolden enemies–but maybe there won’t be much attention paid overseas to some non-binding congressional resolution. It will send the message to the soldiers fighting in Iraq that help is not on the way–that there are no reinforcements. That’s unfortunate. But, hey–they volunteered. And how about Sen. Obama on the Today show? “We’re not going to babysit a civil war.” To serious people that sounds juvenile. To most of his colleagues, it’s a good soundbite. It’s a demoralizing and revolting spectacle. –William Kristol
In the end Congresses lack of intestinal fortitude is good for the country. Lets face it, throughout all of this congressional complaining, no on from the Democratic party or Congress has offered up an alternate plan. Until that happens let them whine all they want, as long as our heroes get what they need to finish the job.