The Coming Fight On Iraq Starts Now

Matt Yglesias writes a post that makes no sense to me on Iraq and the Dems:

[L]iberals should "keep our powder dry" in terms of Iraq stuff until the supplemental appropriation request comes down in a couple of months. . . . I meant liberals should keep our intra-party bickering powder dry. There simply isn't an important practical difference between the different degrees of anti-warness that various politicians have staked out at this point. There will be important practical differences in terms of how people vote on proposed amendments to the supplemental request. That's the time to start really worrying about what people are up to.

Will be? No Matt, there ARE important practical differences TODAY. Some, like Russ Feingold, understand that cutting off funding is the only way to end the Iraq Debacle. And while I applauded Barack Obama's political instincts demonstrated in his Iraq proposal, I also know, as Kevin Drum rightly points out:

[E]veryone talking about this already knows the basic answer: Congress can declare war, it has certain military rulemaking powers, and it can fund and defund a war. But that's it. Like it or not, Congress simply doesn't have the power to manage specific operational aspects of a war. Big Tent Democrat made the case for this a couple of weeks ago, and I think it's pretty convincing. Now, this is not a problem. Anyone who seriously wants us to withdraw from Iraq merely needs to introduce legislation defunding the war. . . . But Obama's description of his legislation very carefully avoids any mention of funding other than to explicitly say that it "does not affect the funding for our troops in Iraq." . . . Without that, he must know that his legislation is almost certainly futile.

But Matt, who says the funding issue is what matters, says he disagrees with Drum and agrees with this:

I think Kevin Drum gets this one wrong. He says that cutting off funding is the only way for Congress to control military action, and that Obama's claim that his plan won't reduce funding for the troops in Iraq means that it won't work. But if I read Obama's statement correctly, he means that it won't reduce funding for troops currently in Iraq; it will forbid adding new ones, and it will mandate a systematic withdrawal by a date certain. Clearly the Congress has the power to limit not only funding but troop levels, and it has the power to order the Pentagon to plan and execute a withdrawal.

Matt, either funding is the critical issue or it is not. Kleiman says it is not. Kleiman is also dead wrong on the Congress' power to manage the conduct of the war.

But more importantly, if we want Democrats to vote the right way on funding the Iraq war (to me the right way is to not vote more funds without an established cutoff date, in short the Feingold Plan), we must pressure them NOW, not when the vote comes up. Matt's idea appears to be that of a disinterested commentator who will critique the actions taken and who has disdain for efforts to EFFECT that vote. This makes absolutely no sense to me. But heck, maybe I have the wrong attitude about this.

I want the Iraq Debacle to end.

< The War Power: What the Congress Can Do; What The President Can Do | Why The Coming Fight On Iraq Starts Now >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort: