While it is nice to see that Reid and Pelosi have written a strongly worded letter to Bush with respect to escalating this disaster in Iraq, they are forgetting a couple of things. For starters, Bush can’t read big words. But seriously, and more importantly, he just doesn’t care.
Remember all of the letters that Reid, Conyers, Pelosi, Slaughter and every other Congressman and woman have sent to Bush regarding signing statements, the illegal and warrantless wiretapping, torture, Phase two of the 9/11 investigation, the leak of Valerie Plame’s name (not to mention Brewster Jennings) and whatever else that was an egregious violation of the Constitution by Bush and his criminal minions.
Now that the Democrats are in power, it is time to put meat and substance behind these letters and actually take action. And please, I don’t want anyone to start giving my shit about this being the first week of them being in the majority. I am just as hopeful as the rest of you (maybe moreso as well). However, it is time for them to take bold steps and act as though they are in the majority and that, you know, elections have consequences.
Take a few items from today’s news as well. There is “big news” that 33 Senators that voted for the invasion would not vote for it today, of course, if it knew then what it knows now. That is all well and good, but it is just as irrelevant as it is all well and good. We are where we are. Congress knows what it knows. And public sentiment is turning more and more against this insanity of an occupation and clusterfuck that is going on halfway around the globe – and getting worse every day.
Whether it is the near unanimous call for no escalation, whether it is the call for a phased withdrawal, whether it is overwhelming disapproval of Bush’s job performance, whether it is a call to sit down and talk to Iran and Syria – whether it is any of the myriad of things that are going against the further escalation of the occupation and lack of a real plan to turn the tide (just a bit) – the stars and the events and the public feeling is that there needs to be real change and real change NOW.
Nobody wants an escalation. Well, pretty much nobody. And with Biden’s strong words today about “many in the administration that think that Iraq is lost and they are just trying to not let it disintegrate completely before 2009” should be a guide for every other Senator and Representative to force some real change.
Today, we also find that the Military commanders don’t even know where to come up with the troops for an escalation:
CBS’s David Martin has learned military commanders told the President they could execute a ‘troop surge’ of 9,000 soldiers and Marines into Iraq, with another 10,000 on alert in Kuwait and the U.S. Two army brigades — about 7,500 troops — would go into Baghdad in an effort to control the violence, clearing neighborhoods and staying long enough for reconstruction projects to take effect. 1,500 Marines would go to the western province of al-Anbar, heartland of the Sunni insurgency. This, even though the Commandant of the Marine Corps was quoted as saying he did not see a need for more battalions.
So, the military isn’t ONLY against this – they indicate that there isn’t even enough troops to do this hairbrained scheme. And this is just indicative of how little thought is going into major MAJOR policy decisions.
Last night, while sitting around with thereisnospoon, hekebolos, occams hatchet, dday and a number of my other favorite kossacks, we were commenting on the Miers resignation, the shuffling of Negroponte, the goings on at the UN, the most recent signing statement and I just shook my head and laughed – saying “just another fucking thing”. While it was a bit funny on one hand, it is truly a pathetic sign on the other.
Why do I say this? Well, we are now in control of Congress. Not one house, but both houses. This means more than we think. We talk about accountability and oversight, and this will all happen. But with that comes the responsibility of being the majority party. And letters just aren’t going to cut it.
What do I mean here, and what am I implying? Well, the Democrats have an enormous opportunity here – and contrary to what we think, it will be a bit tough to blow it. Tough talk is nice – REAL tough talk is better, and actions are best.
But when members of Congress don’t even realize that they are wrong on what power the Democrats have regarding the funding of this debacle it is time to be the grownups. Let’s be real bold here, and real serious – this is only the future of our country and the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people on the line. Now, if I may be so bold as to even suggest that Congress (or prominent Democrats) talk about not funding future escalation in Iraq, I will do so in a different manner.
Threatening to defund this debacle outright is not a smart political move – however, done right, it could go far. One alternative would be to tie additional fundings to specific items and projects. However, that is merely a pipe dream if anyone thinks that the funds would be accounted for in a responsible manner (since there were HOW many billions that have gone missing, and there is not one shred of oversight anymore on this spending).
But, there are already hundreds of billions of dollars set apart in the budget each year for the military – military operations that include Iraq. The “emergency spending” bills that add up to hundreds of billions of dollars don’t get counted in Bush’s rosy budget numbers. They aren’t accounted for. There is already a TON of money being allocated towards Iraq and Afghanistan.
So start small – wouldn’t it be great to talk about “really” balancing the budget and keeping spending down? Wouldn’t it be HONEST to come out against additional spending bills that don’t get counted in the budget? Wouldn’t it be BOLD to fund the troops once per year – through the true budget process?
Now that the Democrats are in the majority there are many more tools at their disposal. Yes, we may say that Bush will ignore them. But here is a news flash - EVERYONE HATES Bush NOW. Nobody trusts Bush anymore. Not his allies, not the military, not the American public. The next few months and years present a golden opportunity – for us here, for the Democrats, for the country.
Let’s use it wisely. All of us.