Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sen. Clinton: Bush's Authority Limits Congress' Ability to Block Escalation

Just back from her visit to Iraq, the New York Times is reporting that Senator Hillary Clinton is calling for capping the number of American forces in Iraq to the total number that were there on January 1 — before President Bush proposed adding forces and escalating the violence. [roughly a 140,000-troop cap] She has also said she's leaning toward threating the Iraqi government's leaders with the loss of American funds to train and equip Iraqi forces, the loss of funds to rebuild the economy, and perhaps even a loss of funds to provide security for the leaders themselves. Although the Senator hasn't talked about timelines or benchmarks just yet,
she indicated that the Shiite-led government would be expected to crack down on sectarian militias in Baghdad and elsewhere and to find new ways to work with Sunni political groups. [NYT 1-17-07]
Senator Clinton said this on today's CBS "Early Show" -
"I’m for redeploying our troops out of Baghdad and eventually out of Iraq so we can make sure that they’re not in the midst of a civil war."
More from the NY Times article:
She insisted that sectarian violence would continue in Iraq regardless of whether there were more or fewer troops, because the Iraqi government was not committed to the mission.

“They’re waiting us out,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show. “They intend to do everything they can to impose a particular brand of dominance over the Sunnis, and there’s no reason for the Sunni insurgency therefore to stop.”

Senator Clinton also said on NBC that Congress had limited ability to block the president’s troop plan outright.

“The president has enormous authority under our constitutional system to do exactly what he’s doing,” Mrs. Clinton said. “He already has the money appropriated in the budget.”

She said she was troubled that the Bush administration seemed willing to shift troops from Afghanistan to take part in a “losing strategy” in Iraq; a moment later, she expressed concern about sending more troops “to Iraq on this very bad mission.”

From the CBS report:
"Unless there is a total partnership with the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Army, this can't work," [Senator] Clinton said. "And I didn't see the signs of that partnership."

Instead of adding more U.S. troops in Iraq, [Senator] Clinton said she wanted troops to be redeployed from Baghdad to Afghanistan.


Just How Enormous Is Bush's Authority, Anyhow?

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has drawn a check and balance-line in the Constituational sand proclaiming,
"This is not a monarchy."
Bush is not a King and he's not a dictator (even though he's "joked" that he'd like to be one). He can pose and growl with as much power as he can summon up, but it won't take away the fact that there are solid-as-rock Constitutional checks and balances and solid efforts Congress can make to see that he is reined in on this escalation of violence in Iraq.

At The BradBlog, Brad displays a copy of an Edwards campaign e-mail where campaign manager and former Congressman David Bonior (D-MI) holds little back in his sharp criticism of both George W. Bush and Democratic members of Congress for their Iraq War policies and politics. Mr. Bonoir says in the Edwards campaign e-mail:
This weekend, President Bush claimed on national TV that Congress does not have the power to stop his proposed escalation of the war in Iraq.

That's bull. I served in Congress for 26 years, and I can assure you that Congress does have the power to stop this escalation -- and it has used that power many times before, including in Vietnam, Lebanon, Nicaragua and Colombia.

In essence, Bonoir is saying that Bush's authority is not so enormous that Congress is incapable of - or powerless to - stop the president from escalating the war in Iraq.

See the post by Mathew Gross referring to the same Edwards campaign e-mail. The title of the post is Total Bull. Total bull refers to those elected represebtatives who calling for symbolic statements that do nothing to stop the escalation. The experirnced former Congressman Boinoir warns:
If you hear a member of Congress say "non-binding resolution," then you're really hearing them say "pass the buck."


Larry said...

This isn't surprising but I guess it is best to say, better late than never.

Since Clinton has the highest profile, lets hope she uses it to help bring the troops home.

Iddybud said...

I agree. With the new majority in the Senate and her high profile, it sounds like Senator Clinton's going to do what she can to convince her fellow Senators to redeploy our troops from a place where they could never possibly make a difference and send them to Afghanistan, where President Hamid Karzai could use them for some real and clear success.

Perhsps, some time after this Iraq mess is past us [God, let it be soon], we can also rebuild, strengthen, and redirect our military to making a meaningful difference by taking part in international missions such as the Darfur and neighboring nations. We need to rethink "root causes" of terror instead of playing "whack a mole" with terrorists. I'd hate to see an even wider spread of terror threats in the African nations, and in the next 20 years I think, if this all goes unchecked, we'll be fighting a worse type of war there.

TomCat said...

Jude, it looks to me like you have the issue pegged. Although, I wonder how long it will take progressives to rebuild our credibility as a nation, now that Bush has made is an international pariah.

Larry said...

Liberals can't make very much headway until they clear the government of Bush and the clutches of Corporate America.

GreenSmile said...

This conversation is being conducted as if the constitution meant anything to Dubya and his henchmen...not much evidence that a piece of paper stops this guy, I have been of the opinion that impeachment can wait until we fix some very broken domstic matters but maybe impeachment is the only course

Jude Nagurney Camwell said...

If our top legislators would be more responsible and much smarter, they'd be able to out maneuver the maniac and end this madness.

I mean, what's WRONG with this picture?

ABC NEWS Exclusive: Pelosi Won't Block Funding to Stop Iraq Troop Surge, Even Though Situation Is a 'Tragedy'

How do you even begin to impeach a guy that you're enabling?

For all of her pre-election tough talk on Bush, House majority leader Pelosi is blinking, big-time.

Her "blink" will not only enable Bush, but it will give more fuel to the mainstream media to push 90% of Americans who strongly oppose escalation into some magical "anti-war" category.

Larry said...

Pelosi and Reid are talking tough, and the Senate (non-binding) bill they are trying to pass, has no meat and has no sunstance.

It is all to say to the public, we tried but Bush wouldn't do it.

greensmile said...

Yow! I haven't been paying attention.

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