Wednesday, May 2, 2007

War Budget Bill

At last, the Democrats in Congress are at loggerheads with the Bush Administration. Bush objects to any budget language that limits the time we will keep troops in Iraq. He warns that funding delay will soon leave troops inadequately supplied.

Mr. Bush ignores the reality that his mission in Iraq will never be accomplished, while Congress has offered to supply more than the amount of money the administration requested.

In my opinion Congress should respond not with a compromise designed to meet some of Mr. Bush’s demands but with a harsher bill. Remove all references to anything except military expenses and include only money for withdrawal of the troops. NOW!

Due to the power of the press to ignore and thus stifle his arguments, Senator Gravel of Alaska, now campaigning for the presidency, probably doesn’t stand a chance but his suggestion for Congressional action is right on the money. They have two rights in this situation -- the power of the purse, and the power to withdraw their approval for the conduct of the war. In other words, they can pass a budget that could be used only to rebuild our military in a way that would better meet our needs for national security in an effective effort to curb terrorism and a law that says they do not authorize continued military intervention in Iraq. That would leave Mr. Bush with two choices -- withdraw the troops or disobey the law – end of debate.

Don’t look for that to happen, though. It would call for cojones of a kind that Congress doesn’t appear to have.

Believe it or not, though, I do agree with Mr. Bush on one point, though not for his reasons. When he says the “benchmarks” are not acceptable I say the response should be to remove them from the bill. Mr. Bush’s reason is to hedge against the potential for having to remove the troops if the benchmarks are achieved. My reason is that one of the benchmarks is the privatization of Iraq’s oil reserves. Such privatization would hand ownership over to the major western oil companies – bald-faced robbery.

Why are Democrats so reluctant to go back to the roots of this war to justify their opposition to it? As another blog I read yesterday pointed out, we really only have one party – the Business Party – with two subdivisions – Republicans and Democrats. Neither party can go so deep into the others’ smoke and mirrors without blowing the bottom line.

Despite his denials, Bush’s objections all point to the fact that his opposition to their approach is based on his desire to establish a permanent American presence in the Middle East. Regardless of the public statements about establishing a democracy, removing Saddam, etc., that goal is very clear in the documents his cronies use as their roadmaps for this power play. Link these two in public discourse and the Bush plans would unravel like a cheap sweater. But, again, the Democrats lack the fortitude to push such a point to its ultimate conclusion.

Oh, what tangled webs we weave . . .

Are we seeking power for power’s sake? Or are we seeking to make the world and our nation better places to live? If we seek the latter, violence can never provide the answer. – M. L. King, Jr., 1967

Yours in Peace - BR

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