time for Congress
by Jim Hightower
In another of his ever-changing rationales for his Iraq war, George W has bizarrely proclaimed that this conflagration is like the Vietnam War — a comparison he had spent the previous four years heatedly rejecting!
Well, on at least one point, his Vietnam comparison is apt: Next year, the Iraq war will pass the $600 billion mark in U.S. spending, making it nearly as costly as the long Vietnam debacle. Bush has now requested an additional $173 billion for Iraq war funding in 2008, making it the most expensive year yet for his disastrous misadventure.
For those of us who want to end Bush’s Big Mistake, however, the focus of our effort can no longer be on him. George is who he is: a bonehead. Intent on dumping ever-more lives and money into his war, he is immune to sanity.
Rather, the question now is, where the hell is Congress? Yes, I know that the new Democratic leadership has only slim majorities and that the Bushites use filibusters, veto threats and demagogic lies to thwart their efforts to initiate a withdrawal from Iraq. But, come on — it’s time to toughen up! Asserting congressional authority to check and balance a runaway, lawless executive is not a mere political option, it’s a Constitutional obligation.
The founders deliberately gave real muscle to Congress to use in situations like this, and previous lawmakers were not too timid to use them. From the exposés of the Fulbright hearings in the 1960s to the withholding of war funds in 1973 to stop Nixon from extending the Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia, earlier Congresses have had the guts to show that they really are a co-equal branch of government.
It’s time for Congress to pull the purse strings on Bush’s war. It has the power to stop the needless killing and maiming of thousands more Americans and Iraqi civilians. Failure to use that power is not just political cowardice – it’s immoral.
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