Truthtelling on Iraq Funding From Michael Kinsley

Via teddysanfran, Michael Kinsley drinks from the cup of Steve Gilliard on funding the Iraq Debacle:

What are you supposed to do, according to supporters of the Iraq war, if you think that the war is a dreadful mistake? Suppose you are a member of Congress, elected by constituents who also, like most Americans, according to opinion polls, oppose the war. Is there any legitimate action you can take? Or must you simply allow the war to go on and let young Americans die in what you regard as a bad cause? What are your options?

NOT funding the war of course. And Kinsley gets to the point of how Democrats can not let the Republicans cow them on this point:

And woe betide any politician who suggests that waiting for complete triumph might not be the only alternative -- just in case democracy, prosperity, peace and brotherhood don't flower in Iraq next week. Sens . Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama opposed the war-funding bill because it lacked even the mealy-mouthed timetables in an earlier version that Bush vetoed.

. . . A confused Wall Street Journal editorial last week seemed to be addressing this question of how an elected representative might legitimately oppose a war in our democracy. It began by accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of cowardice. They "claim to oppose the war and want it to end, yet they refused to use their power of the purse to end it."

So there is a "power of the purse," you see. Congress can cut off funds for a war that people don't like. . . . But what happens if you, as a member of Congress, do attempt to use the power of the purse? Sens. Clinton, Obama and Chris Dodd (also running for president) voted against the final Iraq funding bill because all meaningful deadlines and timetables had been stripped out so that President Bush would sign it. That Wall Street Journal editorial accuses these three Democratic senators of "vot[ing] to undermine U.S. troops in the middle of a difficult mission." If this is true of last week's vote, it will always be true of any attempt to cut off a war by cutting off funds. Unless the Journal is in favor of undermining U.S. troops, this makes the alleged "power of the purse" unusable.

If you let the Wingnuts, the WSJ Editorial Page and Republicans to dictate your policy and your votes on Iraq funding, you will neither look strong on defense or principled.

Here is the answer, end the war by NOT funding it. OR at least let members vote for the war or against it through the NOT funding option. If the Blue Dogs want to be for the war, then they will be. So be it.

But the leaders of the Democratic Party in the Congress can not join Republicans and President Bush in holding the Party hostage to the nonsense they spew.

If Jim Webb can't bring himself to end the war, that will be on him.

If Jon Tester can't bring himself to end the war, that is on him.

And so on.

The choice is now binary. There is no reasonable middle ground on Iraq. You will be voting for the President's Iraq Debacle if you vote to fund it.

It is not fair and it is not right. But it is.

Life is about making tough choices. Are Democrats unable to make them now? Then they do not deserve to govern.

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    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 02, 2007 at 04:49:51 PM EST
    At least Chris Dodd gets this. With any luck, he'll further guilt the other (roadblock!) Democrats into using the purse.

    Re: they do not deserve to govern (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Sat Jun 02, 2007 at 05:28:16 PM EST
    Yes, unless they stop reacting and remaining on the defensive.

    They either have to go a PR offensive and force the republicans into looking foolish by being unable to substantiate their claims, or they lose by default. Being wimps will get them nowhere.

    Too Funny (none / 0) (#3)
    by talex on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 01:09:48 AM EST
    First of all to use Kinsley to support a case when Kinsley is on either side of this issue depending on what month it is is incredibly weak. Kinsley has no credibility on this issue whatsoever.

    And then bolding for emphasis that Pelosi and Reid are cowards when it is a WSJ Editorial - which Armando latter chastises - is totally hypocritical. How can one use the WSJ to support your assertion that they are cowards and then diss the WSJ at the end and have any sense of credibility in what your write? What is this GWB cherry-picking?

    The fact is that Pelosi and Reid ARE NOT cowards. If they were they never would have sent up a bill that they knew would get vetoed. They are not in full control as they each have caucuses to balance and answer to. And in the case of the Senate Reid has very restricting rules to adhere to that give the Repubs a lot of say in what bills get approved. It is cowardly to omit those facts when wrongly calling someone else a coward. Anyone who omits facts just to make their argument obviously has a very weak argument.

    The other thing omitted here is the fact that the Repubs would love us to unilaterally defund the war. So much so that they taunt us to do it. And why do they do that? Because they feel certain that the can shift enough 'independent' votes to win in '08 by:

    1. reliving them of the burden of their war.

    2. Shifting any potential increase in the killing and instability of Iraq on to us.

    3. And they feel confident they can paint us incompetent on national security as a result.

    They could be right on all three counts. And if they are and we lose in '08 then defunding would be for naught. We would end up back in  back in Iraq in '09. We would very probably end up in a conflict in Iran - and who knows where else? And we would lose any desired social and economic changes that would happen under a Dem president and congress.

    So the trade-off is just not worth the risk. Again if you remain or go back into Iraq after losing the election what have you really gained? Nothing! In fact you have a worse mess on top of still being in Iraq.

    And that is a subject that Armando does not want to discuss. Ever wonder why? Because it shoots enough holes in his defunding folly to sink a ship. While defunding sounds good on its surface when weighing the very real consequences it is a fools errand.

    I challenge Armando to discuss or debate those issues because even though he has been made very aware of them he hides from them like they are the boogie man.

    Armando mentions Steve Gilliard, may he rest in peace, at the beginning of this diary.  I was fortunate enough to start reading dkos almost from the beginning and read Steve's writing. And everything others have said about him on the many blogs today is all true. The one thing that inspired me most about Steve was his ability and his desire to talk the truth as he saw it regardless of whether others agreed with him or not. That is something I strive to do in every post I write. Like Steve I see blogging as a way to share ideas with full disclosure of the facts and not to hide the facts so that your personal ideology looks better. So in that tradition today I write the truth in honor of Steve.