Iraq Supplemental: From the Ashes Can Rise The Not Funding Phoenix

After the passage of the original House Iraq Supplemental, the much lionized measure, in response to the praise the bill received, I wrote:

Chris Bowers articulates his [analysis]:
The more I think about it, at least in the short term, both camps in the progressive side of this debate will actually get what they want. This bill will pass the House, but it will also never pass into law. . . . At the same time, those of us now favoring the bill will get what we wanted: headlines showing Democrats trying to end the war, but being thwarted by Republicans. . . . We all won.

Actually, in the short term, I have always accepted this point, IF it played out that way. But it won't.

. . . The very same pressures that forced the capitulation to the Blue Dogs will force further capitulations along the way starting with the Senate, IF a bill is to be approved. . . .

Ironically, unlike most everyone else, I am not so discouraged about what can happen next. For I believe, after this hard lesson, for Democrats in Congress, for progressive activists, for the Netroots, we can now go forward with a PRAGMATIC, realistic plan to end the Iraq debacle AND play smart politics. Yes, from these ashes should rise the Reid/Feingold/McGovern/Dodd/Kerry/ Edwards/Obama/Clinton/Boxer, et al. NOT funding after a date certain framework.

A couple of days ago I wrote:

Here's my thinking on this now, whether you agree with me or not on the NOT funding option, what else is there to try? IF you want to extract political capital, you have to try, or look like you are trying to end the Debacle, by the only means available. So, for moral, pragmatic and politically craven reasons, I urge the Dem Leadership to try to end the war, by announcing a date certain when the Debacle willnot be funded. Heck, even if the strategy is overcome by a motion to discharge, as some suggest, at least most Dems will be able to tell their constituents and the country that they did all they could. And the people who will own the war will have their names attached to such motion to discharge. Accountability at least. If not results.

Our leading Presidential candidates have now either strongly urged this approach or have voted for it. Our Dem leaders in the House have worked for this approach. In some ways, the Democrats who will be on the top of our tickets in 2008 and our Party leaders have begun to make this the Party policy, whether some like it or not.

And what is the strategy I propose? One more time:

This is a preemptive post, because I am positive that the naysayer will trot out the same critiques about the NOT funding the Debacle approach that was used when Feingold first proposed his Not Funding plan in January. To wit, we don't have the votes, McConnell will filibuster, Bush will veto. My response remains:

I ask for three things: First, announce NOW that the Democratic Congress will NOT fund the Iraq Debacle after a date certain. You pick the date. Whatever works politically. If October 2007 is the date Dems can agree to, then let it be then. If March 2008, then let that be the date; Second, spend the year reminding the President and the American People every day that Democrats will not fund the war past the date certain; Third, do NOT fund the Iraq Debacle PAST the date certain.

Some argue we will never have the votes for this. That McConnell will filibuster, that Bush will veto. To them I say I KNOW. But filbustering and vetoing does not fund the Iraq Debacle. Let me repeat, to end the war in Iraq, the Democratic Congress does not have to pass a single bill; they need only NOT pass bills that fund the Iraq Debacle.

But but but, defund the whole government? Defund the whole military? What if Bush does not pull out the troops? First, no, not defund the government, defund the Iraq Debacle. If the Republicans choose to shut down government in order to force the continuation of the Iraq Debacle, do not give in. Fight the political fight. We'll win. Second, defund the military? See answer to number one. Third, well, if you tell the American People what is coming for a year, and that Bush is on notice, that it will be Bush abandoning the troops in Iraq, we can win that political battle too.

This approach is perfectly consistent with the so called "short leash" plan, where the Debacle will be funded in 3 month intervals. But it is only consistent if BOTH are done. The intention to NOT fund the war after March 31, 2008 must be made the Dem position now.

The short leash must be pulled to a stop on March 31, 2008.

Say it now so you can end it then. If you do not say it now, then you can't end it on March 31, 2008.

This approach has the following virtues: (1) you are funding the troops in the field; (2) you are giving the Surge a chance to work; (3) you are laying out a plan the American People support; and most importantly, (4)you can end the Debacle and bring our troops home.

Now if your goal is to RUN on the Debacle (which is unattainable in my opinion, the ruse is too easily seen through) then you won't like this plan.

But if you want to run as the Party that ended the Debacle, or at least the Party that did everything it could to end the Debacle, then you must adopt the NOT funding plan. That means Reid-Feingold.

< Support for Iraq War at Lowest Ever | Sadr: US Should Leave Iraq >
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    There are a lot of screw ups (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 25, 2007 at 08:19:37 AM EST
    to run on while you wear your ending the war crown.  God knows healthcare is shot and is now killing people too. I don't see that Bush is going to do anything about it before he leaves.  Someone has to run on rebuilding the military after the Republicans have literally destroyed it and that destruction is only going to become very very obvious as the rest of this year unfolds.

    I can give you 86 and 38 (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Fri May 25, 2007 at 08:36:20 AM EST
    reasons why they just don't seem willing to do this.

    Well (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:52:16 AM EST
    My point has aloways been that "ratcheting up the pressure" was for Dems not the GOP or Bush.

    Some foolsih people believe that the pressure can be applied to Bush and the GOP.

    I  think NOW we have finally identified the right targets for pressure.  


    maybe you're right (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by yetimonk on Fri May 25, 2007 at 08:49:37 AM EST
    you've been dead on so far on this issue.

    Kings got sacrificed for catastrophies like this.

    We either help the average netroots user extract justice and vengence (we're only talking about political office after all, not life and limb like we are sacrificing), or they will turn on us for having raised in them false hopes.

    There is a huge storm brewing.

    They won't do it (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Categorically Imperative on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:10:22 AM EST
    Not so much because of vetos and filibusters, but because these craven bastards live in mortal fear of being called 'weak on national security' and seem to have irrevocably internalized GOP talking points on the issue.  We can try to bring pressure to bear, but Congress is going to keep signing the blank check all the way through 2008 and into '09.  I can think of no other way to analyze the betrayal that just occurred.

    What we need to do is never forget what happened, and one by one push the cowards that caved to the delusional band of neocons running this mess out of office and out of the party.

    Here's Greenwald on the same topic (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:35:28 AM EST
    The central unyielding truth in our political landscape is that -- no matter what -- the War in Iraq is not going to end before the end of the Bush presidency. That has been obvious for a very long time, and that is why it is so bizarre to watch the Beltway establishment continue to pretend that there is some Big Decision Day coming in September -- the day when Republicans take a stand and our political elite put their foot down.

    Nothing has changed. Republicans and media-war-proponents are far too invested in the war to do anything other than claim it is finally going well. And there are more than enough Democrats who either (a) believe we should stay in Iraq indefinitely, (b) perceive political benefits from staying, and/or (c) fear forcing withdrawal.

    And this is from Slate

    Now that Democrats have stripped their troop-withdrawal timetable from the war funding bill, it's clear that American forces will remain in Iraq through 2008.

    I wish I could believe they are wrong.


    Yup (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Categorically Imperative on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:45:29 AM EST
    They have no interest in actually ending the war and won't spend the time or political capital needed to lay the groundwork to end it by a date certain.  All they want to do is try to score as many political points as possible without actually standing up to Bush and the GOP war machine.

    Disgusted does not begin to describe how I feel about what happened yesterday.


    There _was_ a big September showdown (none / 0) (#9)
    by fairleft on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:43:41 AM EST
    in the bill passed by the House. In addition to a very real and big showdown in July. I still don't get why antiwar people didn't focus on getting some version of the House bill passed by Congress.

    And I don't get why a meaningless 'Reid-Feingold' became such a big deal among progressive insiders; it didn't matter (surely we can see that now?) even if Congress had passed that bill, Bush would've vetoed it. And we'd have been left with the same old real-world confrontation and opportunity: funding or not funding the war.


    Huh? (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Categorically Imperative on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:48:04 AM EST
    Reid-Feingold "didn't matter" because the Dems caved in the end?  I guess that's true, as far as it goes.  But Reid-Feingold was a "big deal" because it supplied the best framework for ending the war, and would have sent a message to Bush that he can keep vetoing all he wants, but he was never going to get another blank check.

    The fact that the cowards in Congress chose another route doesn't mean those who supported Reid-Feingold were wasting their time.


    More than that (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:49:49 AM EST
    I believe EVERYTHING ELSE is a waste of time.

    A plan for ending the war the requires enactment of a law is never going to work. Never.


    Unfortunately (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Categorically Imperative on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:54:02 AM EST
    There appear to be a sufficient number of Democrats who, for whatever reason, do not want to end the war.  You are correct in your analysis, but it will fall of deaf ears.  

    It is just more of the same from these clowns; talk a big game and back down.  


    And it is up to the Dem base (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri May 25, 2007 at 10:09:18 AM EST
    to the progressive grassroots, to the Netroots, to whomever want to end theDebacle, to ket them no there is a political price for that posiition.

    Ratchet up the pressure, on Democrats.


    Until The Public (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by talex on Fri May 25, 2007 at 02:45:56 PM EST
    support of defunding reaches critical mass there WILL be a price to pay for prematurely defunding.

    That is why your position is flawed. Announcing a date certain before critical mass is reached is putting the cart before the horse.

    There may be a middle ground though.


    There WILL be a price to pay? (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Edger on Fri May 25, 2007 at 04:57:55 PM EST

    No one here will be upset if the GOP loses next year.


    The mighty talex has spoken (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 25, 2007 at 03:00:51 PM EST
    If I'm Mighty MT... (none / 0) (#31)
    by talex on Fri May 25, 2007 at 03:18:44 PM EST
    It is only 'Mighty Right'!

    You do know what critical mass is I trust.


    That's why just voting 'no' (none / 0) (#43)
    by fairleft on Sat May 26, 2007 at 08:59:53 AM EST
    and having an opportunity to vote a meaningful 'no' every 2-3 months (which the House bill would've created) was and is the only way to go. Of course 'no' loses in May, but it's a closer vote in July, and much much closer (maybe even a win) in September, by when the disastrous 'surge' is supposedly going to have been effective.

    Reid-Feingold, or a Reid-Feingoldian Democratic leadership announcement, has nothing (or very little) to do with any of the above.


    Why Is It (none / 0) (#44)
    by talex on Sat May 26, 2007 at 10:36:09 AM EST
    that you don't know what is known by anyone that bothers to read the news?

    A 'short leash' bill as you describe would have never made it out of the Senate.

    Neither would have another timeline bill. The Repubs let the first one pass because they knew it would be vetoed. After that they made clear that they would use the powers afforded them to stop any similar bills.


    Stop writing like a thug (none / 0) (#45)
    by fairleft on Sat May 26, 2007 at 11:23:34 AM EST
    who can't read.

    A 'short leash' bill as you describe would have never made it out of the Senate.

    I wanted and want the Iraq supplemental funding bill to get bogged down in the Senate or the House. "not made it out" = no money for Bush's war.

    Neither would have another timeline bill.

    I wanted and want the Iraq supplemental funding bill to get bogged down in the Senate or the House. "Neither would have another timeline bill" = no money for Bush's war.

    The Repubs let the first one pass because they knew it would be vetoed. After that they made clear that they would use the powers afforded them to stop any similar bills

    I wanted and want the Iraq supplemental funding bill to get bogged down in the Senate or the House. "stop any similar bills" = no money for Bush's war.

    The Democratic Party needed to place two choices before Bush: short-term funding with chances to ditch the whole quagmire every 2-3 months, or no money at all. The party leadership could and can then readily argue, "We have tried to fund the troops, but Bush repeatedly vetoes funding (or, the Republicans in Congress are filibustering the funding bill)."

    If the party was incapable of doing the above (more realism would've been nice), it should've allowed the Republicans to carry forward the funding bill, filibustering long and hard any bill without a withdrawal date.


    A question (none / 0) (#46)
    by talex on Sat May 26, 2007 at 11:58:31 AM EST
    is not writing like a thug. It is a sign of frustration though.

    So you wanted to defund through bogged down legislation. That strategy always has had zero chance of happening.

    Why wish for fantasy? The war is real and requires real strategies even if they are long shots. But at least they have to have some semblance of reality.


    unsubstantiated accusations & the only way (none / 0) (#47)
    by fairleft on Sat May 26, 2007 at 01:55:44 PM EST
    Unsubstantiated accusations are 'writing like a thug'. So, substantiate your charge that I "don't know what is known by anyone that bothers to read the news?" or shut up with that accusation. (I note you still haven't substantiated the charge in your follow-up post.) Or, be a thug, that has its benefits in service of power.

    The only way war funding would've been stopped during the Bush era was thru 'bogged-down legislation' -- as many, including BTD, have said. That option needed a forthright publicity defense and effort by the antiwar contingent in Congress, fighting back against Bush's blackmail. Instead of giving in and saying "one more time, but we're going to say no in 6 months or a year" or any other option. And instead of Feingold-Reid, which was irrelevant because it was/is not a funding bill and will/would be vetoed.

    Being in denial that they had only the one (obviously unpleasant) option has helped lead to the defeat (and the Democrats' decision to include supplemental funds in the 2008 defense budget means that when the fiscal year 2008 defense budget is approved in July the defeat will be essentially complete till the end of the Bush presidency).

    Maybe the 'only way' would've led to defeat as well, I don't know. But I think defeat would've been less likely, and that the repeated vote every 2-3 months option would've led to success on the third or fourth short-term vote.

    The first step toward the 2-3 months short-leash option was to put the short leash bill on Bush's desk and give him a choice between fully funding the troops or vetoing that funding.


    OK (none / 0) (#48)
    by talex on Sat May 26, 2007 at 06:29:58 PM EST
    Here is my substantiation:

    That's why just voting 'no'  and having an opportunity to vote a meaningful 'no' every 2-3 months (which the House bill would've created) was and is the only way to go. Of course 'no' loses in May, but it's a closer vote in July, and much much closer (maybe even a win) in September, by when the disastrous 'surge' is supposedly going to have been effective.

    Now that is what I read and that is what I responded to. You are talking about WHY a short lease approach "IS the only way to go".

    See that? "Is". As in a verb. Not as in 'could have' 'should have' or 'wanted. No. you said "Is". Well is is is. Isn't it?

    And then you proceed to lay out what how it will proceed in future months.

    There 'is' nothing ambiguous about what you wrote. You are not saying or even hinting that "I wanted". Nowhere can a reader divine that from what you wrote.

    Now that may be what you were thinking when you wrote it but you sure did not include that  thought in what you actually wrote.

    So you can see why from what I read I saw someone who did not read the news and did know that what they wrote was highly unlikely if not entirely impossible. And I mentioned the news because that 'is' where we get that kind of information

    You might try being more clear next time. Or at least explain that you left your thought of 'wanted' out of your original post without having a hissy fit.

    As for the rest of your post you are just saying more of the same. A fantasy that has no basis in reality. No sense in me addressing that. Go ahead and vent about it if you must but that is all you are doing.


    possibility exists for short-leash (none / 0) (#49)
    by fairleft on Sat May 26, 2007 at 11:38:03 PM EST
    until the new fiscal year's defense budget is passed, with Iraq funds in it (as is the present plan). The Democrats could still decide to take those funds out, and make Iraq funding for the new fiscal year an every 2/3 month approval affair.

    Regardless, I understand where you're coming from. It's not a good place.


    OK (none / 0) (#50)
    by talex on Sun May 27, 2007 at 12:33:50 PM EST
    Now you have gone from "Is" to "Wanted" to "Possibility".

    As long as we recognize the distinctions between the three and your reverse evolution in the process of getting there I think we can put this to rest.


    For your info, (none / 0) (#53)
    by fairleft on Sun May 27, 2007 at 11:07:04 PM EST
    Murtha will try to take Iraq Supplemental funding out of the fiscal 2008 defense bill. So, there likely will be a meaningful vote in September.

    I provide the above despite a near loss in faith that you can read.


    I realized (none / 0) (#55)
    by talex on Mon May 28, 2007 at 10:35:32 AM EST
    some time ago that the Dems would probably remove funds for Iraq from the Defense bill. That is the only way they can continue to battle Bush. And by the way they would not be removing a 'supplemental' from the bill if you think about it.

    As for reading - yeah I read fine. It is you who can't express their thoughts right - and I am being generous in that assessment.

    After all it took you many posts to go from "Is" to "Wanted" to "Possibility".

    Are we done now?


    'the best framework for ending the war' (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by fairleft on Fri May 25, 2007 at 11:17:30 AM EST
    I don't get that. There was no 'best framework' possible, so why pretend, that was obviously always a myth.

    The only way to end the war before 2009 was and is to fly directly into Bush's blackmailing ("I'm gonna leave them there without bullets or food.") and just vote 'no' on Iraq funding. (Note how this has the opposite to do with creating, sponsoring, or managing any bill.) When 50% of either House does that, a funding bill cannot pass. It would be a bloody, loud, angry mess and I half-expect Bush would come very close to going through with his threats, but that's the only way we would get out.

    After the past two weeks, of course, now I know we won't get out at least till 2009.


    At least 2009? (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri May 25, 2007 at 08:53:41 PM EST
    At this point I'm doubtful about 2013 as I diaried over at DailyKos.

    And that's assuming the next President will be a Democrat.


    Passage of any bill is meaningless (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:48:52 AM EST
    That is my whole point.

    You've been here for a while and you have been quite shrewd in your comments.

    Which leaves me baffled by this comment from you.

    You know better than this.


    non-passage of a bill is meaningful, (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by fairleft on Fri May 25, 2007 at 11:20:34 AM EST
    but Democratic leaders making an announcement is completely ineffectual. Even a majority of Democrats in either House making an announcement is very probably ineffectual, knowing how members behave/cave when immediately confronted by Presidential blackmail. And that's why I don't understand the point of Reid-Feingold, or of a 'Reid-Feingold-esque' announcement.

    Too Bad (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by JHFarr on Fri May 25, 2007 at 10:00:39 AM EST
    I agree with the commenter above who says a huge storm is brewing.

    Regrettably, your analysis depends on Democrats doing something right. After the paradigm-shattering cave-in, an event of HUGE proportions that shows the one-party corporate state for what it is, even you don't seem to understand that we're on the edge of an entirely new era.

    I just unsubscribed to the Huffington Post because today's lead article was poor sad Murtha claiming that September was gonna be the time for something to happen, boy oh boy.... What half-sane observer can tolerate this kind of talk any more? The blogosphere is going down with the ship, apparentl.


    Interestingly (5.00 / 9) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri May 25, 2007 at 10:07:49 AM EST
    Whether it is likely or not,I will blog with ending the Iraq War in mind.

    Even if you are right, slim is more of a chance than none.

    I am not prepared to be all smug about it. I am prepared to try, even if the chance is small.


    Unrealistic purity troll! :-p n/t (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by andgarden on Fri May 25, 2007 at 10:30:08 AM EST
    Slim's real name is Paul Ryan. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Ben Masel on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:14:00 PM EST
    Without 30 Republican defections in the House, the Ds will just use anti-war sentiment to shake Bush for another round of bribes.

    Interesting statement from BIll RIchardson: (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by andgarden on Fri May 25, 2007 at 10:56:55 AM EST
    The best way to support our troops is to get them out of Iraq, and this bill will not move us any closer to that.  The Democratic Congress is missing an opportunity.  They should repeal the original resolution that gave the President the authority to take action against Iraq and replace it with one that requires the President to take all the troops out of Iraq by the end of the year.  Congress has the authority to do that under Article One of the Constitution and under the War Powers Act and the President cannot veto it.  Congress should not pass any appropriations beyond the date of de-authorization. By doing it that way, Congress would both fully fund our troops and get them out of Iraq as soon as possible.
    Press release here. Obviously a deauthorization won't get through the Senate, but isn't this pretty close to what you've been asking for WRT Reid-Feingold BTD?

    Understand where we are (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by Ben Masel on Fri May 25, 2007 at 12:53:10 PM EST
    to see the way forward.

    Yesterday's vote was not a cave-in, but a deal with the devil. Bush didn't get those votes with intimidation, he bought them. The die was cast when Ried stacked the Conference Committee with members more interested in funding their domestic priorities than in Iraq, one way or another. Landrieu placed Ktrina relief before the occupation, Plains States Senators got their Drought relief, and Herb Kohl got restoration of Wisconsin''s SeniorCare, a federally funded co-pay of prescription drugs for Wisconsin's Seniors.

    Further funding will only be blocked if Dems decide to forego the next round of bribes.

    How craven was the vote? Kohl's press release on the supplemental gives it away. He doesn't even mention Iraq.

       WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Emergency Supplemental Spending bill that is expected to pass both the House and Senate today includes a two-and-a-half year extension of SeniorCare, allowing Wisconsin's popular senior drug coverage program to continue through December 31, 2009.

        U.S. Senator Herb Kohl and U.S. Senator Russ Feingold negotiated for inclusion of the provision in the Senate bill, while Congressman Dave Obey (WI-07) served as the principal House negotiator for the final package that includes it. President Bush has indicated that he will sign the bill into law, which also includes funding for disaster aid, veterans' health, agricultural disasters, and other emergency funding.

    The short funding scenario works well for the  craven caucus, they soon get another chance to shake Bush down for their domestic priorities, something they  forego with a "date certain" cutoff. It's LBJ's "guns and butter" redux.

    Pure "get out of Iraq" bills like Clinton and Byrd's give a chance to appease the anti-war voters, without losing the pocketbook voters.

    Sorry, BTD, this analysis is not so optimistic as yours, unless one thinks the Members have gotten everything they want on the domestic front.

    Sidebar: Anyone know what was included in the package for Byrd?

    Pay for the war? (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by mjvpi on Fri May 25, 2007 at 04:19:51 PM EST
    I just asked my Senators and Representative how they are going to pay for the war. Forget about the people dying. If this war is going to keep going, then we need to start taxing like crazy to pay for it. We just let the President pull out his credit card again.  The rich in this country can profit on the national debt. It's on the back of my children and grand children to pay for this.

    This is what the Democraps could have done: (4.66 / 3) (#6)
    by Pneumatikon on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:34:21 AM EST
    Give George his money, declare our troops hostages, and start the impeachment process.

    I'm tired of the "smart politics" argument. We've played that card and our enemies are still insane. The only thing they respect is a kick in the teeth and by God it's time to start kicking them in the efin' teeth. The bottom line is Little George got everything he wanted again and that is precisely the wrong message. If Reid and Pelosi don't understand that then they are truly stupid people.

    Christ! We went through this with Iran-Contra and we've got Iran-Contra people driving our foreign policy!

    Doesn't the proposed '08 budget (none / 0) (#4)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:00:50 AM EST
    fully fund the war?

    Yes, so short-leash is impossible (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by fairleft on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:38:37 AM EST
    unless the Democrats take Iraq occupation costs out of the fiscal 2008 budget request. And it was Democrats who argued that those costs should be in the 2008 budget request. Anyway, I don't get how BTD's plan works. After July (?) approval of the new year's budget, the power of the purse is dead.

    In addition, as I've said, I don't see the point of Democratic whimps 'announcing' they're going to, at a future date, not going to give one more dime to the Iraq occupation. That 'double dare ya' game simply delays and discredits immediate opposition to funding the war, and then likely the 'dare' will be won by bully Bush anyway.


    After July? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:51:00 AM EST
    how about the July budget funds till March 31, 2008? Come now, you knwo better than this.

    The fiscal year: 10/1/07 to 9/30/08 (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by fairleft on Fri May 25, 2007 at 11:41:32 AM EST
    That being the case, and the defense budget and its inclusion of Iraq funds within it already well advanced, realistically there aren't any more chances 'under Bush' to de-fund after passage of the defense bill.

    Here's a description of the fiscal year '08 defense budget process so far this year:

    On May 16, House-Senate negotiators produced a $2.9 trillion budget plan for Fiscal Year 2008.  ... The conference report recommended $507.0 billion in budget authority for the military (Function 050), with another $145.2 billion largely for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan put into new Function 970  (which provides funding for overseas deployments and other activities) ...

    On May 17, the House approved the Budget Resolution by a vote of 214 - 209.  The Senate approved the Budget Resolution by a vote of 52 - 40 the same day.

    And $145 billion, at even $3 billion a week, (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by fairleft on Fri May 25, 2007 at 11:43:19 AM EST
    is a year's funding.

    Fine (none / 0) (#40)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri May 25, 2007 at 08:45:30 PM EST
    But that requires a fight over the passage of a bill-- and soon.

    Murtha has taken Iraq out of Defense bill (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by fairleft on Sun May 27, 2007 at 02:07:48 PM EST
    according to several sources. Just for your information, and this means September will have another showdown exclusively on Iraq funding.

    No (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri May 25, 2007 at 09:50:08 AM EST
    BTD: it would be very helpful if you would (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Fri May 25, 2007 at 02:58:48 PM EST
    either [preferably] write a new post or provide links to your writings in which you explain the Constitutional basis for defunding and why Congress lacks power to stop the war in any other way.  Yes, you have stated all of this before, but I'm talking about the gist of the argument in one presently-linkable place.  Thanks.  

    I think the post you're looking for (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by andgarden on Fri May 25, 2007 at 03:23:01 PM EST
    Is here.
    Are any of these options realistic? Or acceptable? Waiting for the next election could work but it is morally unacceptable and, imo, not likely to work. As for counting on the Supreme Court, assuming a bill could be enacted, issues of standing and the political question doctrine preclude these avenues. The reality is, as it always has been, the Congress' power to end the Debacle lies in the Spending Power.

    I have discussed the "wait for the next election" option before, so I will concentrate on the "legal" options.

    Not really. What I'm looking for is the (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by oculus on Fri May 25, 2007 at 03:39:59 PM EST
    precursor of this [from the link you provided]:


    all this intellectual exercise ignores the elephant in the room - the Spending Power. Congress can end the Debacle, by not funding it. I could cite Alexander Hamilton and Federalist 24 one more time, but to what end? Everyone knows this is the only way to end the Debacle. Will our Congress have the courage to do the right thing? Will progressive activists work hard to achieve it?

    hmm (4.00 / 1) (#34)
    by andgarden on Fri May 25, 2007 at 03:56:30 PM EST
    Chew on this?
    the Framers, in my opinion, envisioned the Congress using its power to declare and end wars, not attempt to micromanage a war. Federalist 74 makes this crystal clear:
    I can't say exactly though, because this is largely from before I started reading Talk Left (and probably during Armando's Orange lapse).

    I'm hoping BTD will provide his most cogent (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Fri May 25, 2007 at 04:22:39 PM EST
    links or just do an all-in-one place post for easy reference.  Many, many people at DK either don't have this information or have chosen to ignore it.  I would like to be able to provide one link as often as possible.  Optimist, aren't I?

    The problem is (none / 0) (#37)
    by andgarden on Fri May 25, 2007 at 04:38:38 PM EST
    that he's been fighting this "one mind against many" struggle for months, and he does often quote himself, so it can be difficult to distinguish one post from another. (That just means you're on message BTD!)

    BTD often does a master "here's what to do" post, but I can't remember a master "here's why nothing else will work" version.


    I do, although perhaps more than one post, and (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Fri May 25, 2007 at 04:55:01 PM EST
    prob. at DK.  

    Given That This Topic (none / 0) (#51)
    by talex on Sun May 27, 2007 at 01:23:58 PM EST
    is in regards to defunding in general I thought I would post this from Glen Greenwald's Saturday post as he agrees with what I have been posting here regarding the publics distaste for defunding:

    Greenwald: I want to focus on one specific (and, in my view, central) point Alter makes:

    Alter: "The whole "support the troops" meme has become a terrible problem for Democrats. Even though, as Glenn Greenwald has argued in Salon, cutting off funding doesn't mean soldiers will have their guns and bullets and armor taken away in the middle of a battle, Americans have been convinced that it does. They want to end the war and support the troops at the same time -- i.e., send back the food and still eat.

    This is not a figment of some spineless Democrat's imagination but the reality of what he or she will face back in the district over Memorial Day. Democrats who vote to cut funding not only risk getting thrown in the briar patch by Republican hit men in Washington; they also might not be able to satisfy their otherwise antiwar constituents at home."

    Greenwald: Both of the premises which Alter sets forth here are correct: (a) de-funding does not even arguably constitute "endangerment or abandonment of the troops," but (b) "Americans have been convinced that it does."
    Polls consistently demonstrate that Americans overwhelmingly favor compelled withdrawal of the troops from Iraq. Other than defunding, they overwhelmingly favor every legislative mechanism for achieving that goal -- from a straightforward bill setting a mandatory time deadline to a rescission of the resolution authorizing military force to compulsory benchmarks. Yet polls are equally uniform in showing that a solid majority of Americans oppose de-funding.

    He goes on to chastise the Dems for reinforcing the meme which has some merit but there are also some arguments that could be made whether it would be fruitful or wise for the Dems to actually do otherwise. As so many things the answer is subjective.

    So again I just wanted to post this so that those of you who disagree with some of the posts I have made regarding the polls and defunding can see that arguably one of the most rational, intelligent, and articulate bloggers on the net TOTALLY agrees with what I have been saying about the polls and defunding and understands how much of a roadblock it presents in cutting-off fund for the war as I have said here and at dkos many times.

    You can read the balance of Greenwald's post HERE.

    As I've said many times, (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by fairleft on Mon May 28, 2007 at 12:57:08 AM EST
    Democrats must fight directly for de-funding in this horrible way if that is what Bush forces on us; and, that the case for de-funding (by Presidential veto) must aggressively be put before the American people by the leadership with the right, Democratic spin on it (i.e., "We are attempting to fund the troops, but the President repeatedly vetoes our short-term (or deadline-equipped) funding bills.")

    I have never (1.00 / 1) (#56)
    by talex on Mon May 28, 2007 at 10:47:00 AM EST
    argued that the Dems should not say something like this:

    "We are attempting to fund the troops, but the President repeatedly vetoes our short-term (or deadline-equipped) funding bills."

    They should. And they actually have. Just
     not effectively and often enough.

    The Dems never have been good at messaging. In reality it is not in their nature like it is in the nature of the Repubs. Most Repubs are 'A' personalities. Most Dems are not. 'A' personalities are better at messaging.

    We actually do have a few 'A' personalities in the party. But for the most part the base hates them. Rather than accepting their shortcomings and embracing their strengths we reject them. And in doing so we take the few who can message effectively and further marginalize ourselves.


    RE: [The Dems] should. And they actually have. (none / 0) (#57)
    by Edger on Mon May 28, 2007 at 11:47:27 AM EST
    That's one of the Democrats problems. They are repeating a lie to manipulate.

    Emergency supplemental funding is not for the troops. I never has been for the troops. It will never be for the troops.

    NOT passing emergency supplemental funding does not hurt the troops. It never has hurt the troops. It will never hurt the troops.

    Not passing emergency supplemental funding is simply NOT FUNDING the occupation. That is all it is.

    Defunding The Iraq War Is Supporting The Troops:

    You Can't Hurt a Troop By Defunding a War:

    The funding is not for the troops.

    When President George Bush claims that the money is for the troops, he is quite simply lying. The funding is not for the troops.

    When Senator Barack Obama or Senator Carl Levin claims to want to pressure Bush to end the war, while at the same time promising to fund the war forever in the name of funding the troops, we are being told something that cannot possibly make any sense. The funding is not for the troops. It is for the war. You can't end the war while providing it. You can't hurt a troop by denying it.

    When the Democrats or anyone else claim that the money is for the troops, they, just like George Bush, are quite simply lying. The funding is not for the troops.

    The TROOPS are funded by regular appropriations. DOD budget. Emergency supplemental funding has nothing to do with "funding the troops".

    It does buy, among other things such as logistical support from Halliburton, Parsons, and DynCorp, fuel, in theater equipment maintenance, bullets, cluster bombs, etc., etc., IOW all the "stuff" needed to continue the occupation. The troops use that "stuff" in the continuance of that occupation, and to defend themselves and stay alive (as best they can) while continuing that occupation.

    But it is not for the troops. It is only for the occupation. When Bush says differently, or when the Democratice Leadership says differently, or when a troll here says differently.... it is a lie.

    The "war" has been funded with emergency supplemental funding for years. There is plenty of money for withdrawing in regular budget without the emergency supplemental the Democrats just passed.

    "Since 9/11, Congress has passed at least one emergency bill to cover war costs, making supplemental spending the method of choice for the majority of funding for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror," Alexander added. "Of the $510 billion spent thus far, $331.8 billion (about 65 percent) has come from supplemental spending legislation. If the so-called "bridge fund" included in the fiscal year 2007 appropriations bill is included, the total rises to $401.8 billion. That means nearly 80 percent of all funding for these wars was the result of emergency and supplemental spending, not regular budgetary means."

    The total funds requested by the Defense Department for emergency spending is $163.4 billion, including $70 billion already provided as part of DOD's regular fiscal year appropriations plus a new supplemental request of $93.4 billion.

    "If enacted, DOD's funding would increase by 40 percent above the previous year and would more than double from the FY2004 funding level," the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report says.

    --War And Occupation Funding: More Cooking The Books By Bush And Pentagon?

    The entire (none / 0) (#58)
    by Edger on Mon May 28, 2007 at 12:02:20 PM EST
    debate about NOT Funding the debacle in Iraq revolves around this one point, of which there are huge misperception and an incredible amount of disinformation, i.e. lies, spread by republicans and democrats and trolls.

    The Democratic Leadership apparently is afraid of not funding because they are afraid of being attacked by bushco for not funding the troops. They know it is a lie when Bush says it.

    Yet they turn right around and tell people (repeating the lie) that advocating not funding the occupation is not funding the troops. Trolls come here and repeat the same thing. From both camps.

    It's all manipulatory bullsh*t.

    No matter who says it.


    Emergency Supplementals (none / 0) (#59)
    by Edger on Mon May 28, 2007 at 12:22:26 PM EST
    also, besides the things I mentioned above, also pay for:
    a U.S. force in Iraq that is effectively double the size that most people are aware of, and a system where national duty is outbid by profits:
    Many Americans are under the impression that the US currently has about 145,000 active duty troops on the ground in Iraq. What is seldom mentioned is the fact that there are at least 126,000 private personnel deployed alongside the official armed forces. These private forces effectively double the size of the occupation force, largely without the knowledge of the US taxpayers that foot the bill.
    Working for U.S. companies like Blackwater, Triple Canopy and DynCorp and companies from other countries, according to Scahill's investigations:    
    Some contractors make in a month what many active-duty soldiers make in a year. Indeed, there are private contractors in Iraq making more money than the Secretary of Defense and more than the commanding generals.
    I repeat, Emergency Supplemental Funding is not for the troops. It is only for the occupation. When Bush says differently, or when the Democratic Leadership says differently, or when a troll here says differently.... it is a lie.

    The "war" has been funded with emergency supplemental funding for years. There is plenty of money for withdrawing in regular budget without the emergency supplemental the Democrats just passed.


    Why Stop Now (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by squeaky on Mon May 28, 2007 at 12:48:13 PM EST
    Many know that the money goes to fund the war and not the troops. Deconstructionist, for one, claims that it supports our lifestyle (economy).

    Many who are not deluded by the meme  'our troops will suffer if we defund the war', are silently for the war because it is good for the economy.

    In most wars people are asked to sacrifice, not this one. All the bloodshed and destruction is largely an abstraction for most Americans. Bush and the neocons have figured out that borrowing money to fund the war works really well:

    1. No sacrifices have to be made by Americans now.

    2. The war keeps the ecomony looking rosy.

    3. Ending the war results in a big big hangover called recession or depression.

    4. War is a way to maintain our inflated lifestyle.

    A very good formula for perpetual war.

    That's it, yes. (none / 0) (#61)
    by Edger on Mon May 28, 2007 at 01:00:48 PM EST
    The war keeps the economy looking rosy. It does appear to support out lifestyle. The whole western civilization has been built on and depends on colonialization and the consumption of resource at the expense of the rest of the world peoples.

    It's not pretty: The One-Sided Pursuit Of Happiness

    We wage war perpetually, strip the world bare like a swarm of locusts, and give virtually nothing in return. Ensuring our "happiness" and "security" extracts a tremendous price from the rest of the Earth.

    Since it rose to military and economic hegemony at the close of World War II, the United States, its proxies, an array of US-installed ruthless reactionary tyrants, and the World Bank have worked in concert to slaughter, torture, and impoverish untold millions of human beings in the "developing world" in an endless quest to satiate our plutocracy's insatiable thirst for power and treasure.

    Bush, his henchmen, and their multitude of war crimes are not anomalies.

    The war keeps the economy looking rosy. But that is another one of the lies:
    One of the legacies of six years of the George W. Bush Administration is that America has gone "From $20 trillion in fiscal exposures in 2000 to over $50 trillion in only six years? What shall we do for an encore... shoot for $100 trillion?"
    The US is insolvent. There is simply no way for our national bills to be paid under current levels of taxation and promised benefits. Our combined federal deficits now total more than 400% of GDP.

    That is the conclusion of a recent Treasury/OMB report entitled Financial Report of the United States Government that was quietly slipped out on a Friday (12/15/06), deep in the holiday season, with little fanfare.

    No sacrifices have to be made by Americans now. (none / 0) (#62)
    by Edger on Mon May 28, 2007 at 01:14:59 PM EST
    But... ultimately the sacrifices may well end up being the collapse of the American economy, which would cause a global catastrophic economic collapse.

    And the wars and killing that would likely engender would make the ones we see now look like kindergarten.


    That is Why (none / 0) (#63)
    by squeaky on Mon May 28, 2007 at 01:30:11 PM EST
    Many choose funding the war. The imagined economic hangover which will force sacrifices is too horrible an option for the war supporters to bear.

    Better that the underclass are used as fodder, and the Military Industrial Complex is overfed. The abstraction that people are dying in far away lands is easy cause it is abstract. Having to give up a SUV and vacations in the sun, aka luxury lifestyle is very real.  

    The war supporters thus make their choice.


    Make their choice (none / 0) (#64)
    by Edger on Mon May 28, 2007 at 01:38:39 PM EST
    unable, or unwilling, to see that their choice is causing what they fear most.

    Not Causing (none / 0) (#65)
    by squeaky on Mon May 28, 2007 at 01:44:28 PM EST
    But delaying. That is the current American way. Buy today, Pay tomorrow, maybe.

    Make someone else pay. (none / 0) (#66)
    by Edger on Mon May 28, 2007 at 01:54:34 PM EST
    With (none / 0) (#67)
    by Edger on Mon May 28, 2007 at 01:58:54 PM EST
    Emergency Supplemental Funding.