S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Is Congress bluffing?

Is Congress bluffing? Well, yes and no. Two writers' entries with news about Congress caught my eye this morning at The Huffington Post. Robert Naiman's "Iraq War Funding: 'Compromise' or 'Sellout'? and TPMmuckraker/Paul Kiel's "House Gives Rove 'One Last' Chance To Testify Before Subpoena." In the case of funding the Iraq war, it seems to me that the art of politics, i.e., getting things done in Congress, will get in the way of what most of the American people prefer, an end to the war in Iraq. We want it to end now or for many, at least by the end of this year. To quote Naiman's conclusion, "It's one thing to withdraw from the field with the intention of fighting another day. It's quite another thing to blow up your arsenal." In the case of subpoenas, however, Congressional committee chairmen will actually issue subpoenas, which will then be ignored by the White House. To quote Kiel, "After Democrats requested interviews and documents from the White House, Fielding replied with an offer to have Rove and others interviewed privately with no oath and no transcript. The Dems rejected the offer. That was two months ago. There hasn't been any progress since then." In both cases the Bush administration will have outlasted and out-maneuvered Congress. Whether bluffing or not, that is a shame for Congress and for the country's many unmet domestic needs.
Can Congress bluff Iran? Well, no. Michael J.W. Stickings at The Reaction posts, "The Iranian timeline in Iraq," citing a source with a different more realistic take on the Iraq war question. It factors in the potential confounding actions of Iran. He makes the valid point that Iran (like all the other players) has its own agenda for Iraq.
Congress is but one of many players in the Middle East's many conflicts. The Iraq war, a war that took on a life of its own almost from the beginning, was no bluff. It was probably planned from early on in the current administration. Unfortunately, when Congress ceded its own constitutional right to declare war after World War II, it gave away the right to make war almost exclusively to the executive branch. Now thousands of members of the U.S. military, on behalf of the American people, are sacrificing their lives for the Bush administration and the now mostly departed neocons' undeclared war. And Congress just keeps on giving permission and sending the money, which they may be required to do for decades!
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