Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

This is a good and important question.  If Bush really wants to escalate the war and will ignore anyone and everyone to do so, is it possible for Congress to stop him?  Joe Biden says no. He told the President 'no' last month, after the election, which gave Bush the greenlight.  But is it really true?

I'm no lawyer, but this isn't a legal question, really.  It's a question of politics and willpower.  Scarecrow, in two great posts, has pointed out that the surge into Iraq means pulling troops out of Afghanistan, and that there really is only one option for a President who simply won't respect the rule of law or Congressional authority.

Bush has made the choice very stark.  Congressional leaders can choose to help him lose the war in Iraq even more quickly and with more bloodshed while also losing the war in Afganistan and allowing the Taliban to fully recover, or they can stop him with the one real remedy that the founders put in place for institutional conflict of this sort.  It's not a choice any of us should welcome, and frankly, this problem is bipartisan.

But that's the choice.  Biden is wrong.  Bush can be stopped.  The public voted for a Congress that would stop him.  We know Bush is going to keep giving Congress the middle finger until the pressure rises to a boiling point.  The question is will the boiling point arrive within two years.

Update: Rep. Brad Miller has a take in the comments:

The premise of the War Powers Resolution is that the Constitution requires the "collective judgment" of the President and Congress to introduce armed forces "into hostilities," or to continue the "use of force in hostilities."

Dick Cheney now says that the War Powers Resolution of 1973 is an unconstitutional infringement on the authority of the President, but the Bush Administration sought the Iraq war resolution to authorize the use of military force in Iraq under the War Powers Resolution.

What our armed forces are now doing in Iraq has little to do with the authorization in the Iraq war resolution, of course.

When Congress acted under the War Powers Resolution to authorize military action in Lebanon in 1998, it only authorized American forces to remain for 18 months. In 1993, Congress acted under the War Powers Resolution to require that forces be withdrawn from Somalia by March 31, 1994.

Biden has recently said we may need to revisit the Iraq war resolution. Interesting idea.

Tags: Escalation, impeachment, Iraq, joe biden (all tags)

Comments

47 Comments

Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

" Biden is wrong.  Bush can be stopped."

Hmm..first Obama was wrong.  Now Biden is wrong. Next Reid, Pelosi and...

I think you are going to find every Democrat in Congress is "wrong" about using a cutoff of military  funds as a way to stop Bush Jr from escalating the war in Iraq.

Certainly a good time to revisit the War Powers Act with Bush Jr's disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan as examples of what needs to be changed.

From a cynical pure politics angle, leaving it as Bush Jr war, as an albatross for the Republicans in 2008 is probably lurking in the minds of the Democratic leadership.

You were speaking earlier on how to "take down" McCain, let him have his 30,000 troops, let it fail and McCain goes down with it.  Democratic candidate will play it like Nixon did against Humphrey in 1968.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-08 12:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, what are bloggers are for if not ...

The time is at the ready for the people to speak, the bloggers to swarm, the activists to hit the streets, the truck drivers to divert to Wash DC, the phones to jam, after all, WHEN IF NOT NOW?

by mainsailset 2007-01-08 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, what are bloggers are for if not ...

It's not the time to hit the streets, it's the time for persuasion.  The public must be convinced that Bush cannot be trusted as Commander-in-Chief and must be stopped by any means necessary.

They want Congress to reign him in, but not by any means necessary.  Some parts of the public are still convinced that he will listen to them.

by Matt Stoller 2007-01-08 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

This is a chess game, and most of us aren't savvy enough about the minutiae of politics to understand all the pieces that are in play.

Bush made the first move by saying "I'm working on a plan, now shut up and wait for it."

Pelosi and Reid made the next move by refusing to wait, and by demanding that the President make a budget request that breaks out the cost of his escalation from the cost of ongoing operations.

We can assume the White House isn't going to want to do that, because it makes it too easy for the Democrats to fund one and not the other.  So they'll try to blur the line somehow.  But Pelosi and Reid have a lot of arrows in their quiver, and a lot of ways to step up the pressure.

Some people want us to move straight to checkmate and give Bush an ultimatum that either he does what we say or we defund the war.  That wouldn't be a smart move because it sacrifices one of our best weapons - the ability to co-opt wavering Republicans and use them to up the pressure on Bush past the boiling point.  We want to be able to march over to the White House and have Bush hear from members of his own party that escalation is out of the question.  We want Bush to look weak and helpless.  He deserves it for trying to push a plan that the American people simply don't support.

I really like the way the Democrats have played this to date.  Don't make the mistake of thinking defunding is the only move available to them.

by Steve M 2007-01-08 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

you are so wrong in so many ways.  Once war is authorized, as this one is, it is up to the CinC to fight and win it.  Funds for an authorized war may be a little hard to deny.  So can Congress 'deauthorize' the war, sure if they get enough votes and the Pres doen't veto it.  Now that's likely, right?  Congress has no say in how the CinC uses the troops after authorizing him as they did to use them.   So you may as well wish upon a star, because you are wasting your time wishing Congress could do something.

by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 03:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

Your copy of the Constitution appears to have many clauses that mine does not.

by Steve M 2007-01-08 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

What in particular?  I don't believe I referred very much to the constitution, if at all.  I think it is clear that the Pres is CinC, which I take it to mean  he has the authority to be the commander in chief.  I don't think Congress is authorized to dictate military strategy.  Do you?

by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

please don't feed the trolls, thanks

by Joe Gabriel 2007-01-08 09:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

Congress could revisit the Authorization for the Use of Military Force and even repeal or revoke it, and then pass a new resolution that puts time parameters or other limitations on the Pres.

In addition, the Dems can subpoena Bush Admin officials and ask them to explain/defend the polciies of the Bush Admin.  They can hold up all sorts of appointments and other kinds of appropriations to make things difficult for Bush.  Perhaps they can prohibit the use of the National Guards in Iraq, or return authority over them to the States.  They can put forth resolution after bill after amendment and make the GOPers vote on the war over and over and over.  

It is simply not correct that Congress is helpless if the Presdent wants to wage war all by himself.  That is Cheney's fantasy.  It just takes some creativity, some courage and some unity on the part of the Dems.

by Mimikatz 2007-01-08 03:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

Dreaming,  always Dreaming......"

"Congress could revisit the Authorization for the Use of Military Force and even repeal or revoke it,"

Let me say this again.  what happens when congress votes on a law and they pass it?  The Pres either signs it or vetos it.  Think he would sign this one?  Think 2/3 would override a veto?  Anxious to hear your answer.

by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 04:52PM | 0 recs
The premise of the War Powers Resolution...

is that the Constitution requires the "collective judgment" of the President and Congress to introduce armed forces "into hostilities," or to continue the "use of force in hostilities."

Dick Cheney now says that the War Powers Resolution of 1973 is an unconstitutional infringement on the authority of the President, but the Bush Administration sought the Iraq war resolution to authorize the use of military force in Iraq under the War Powers Resolution.

What our armed forces are now doing in Iraq has little to do with the authorization in the Iraq war resolution, of course.

When Congress acted under the War Powers Resolution to authorize military action in Lebanon in 1998, it only authorized American forces to remain for 18 months. In 1993, Congress acted under the War Powers Resolution to require that forces be withdrawn from Somalia by March 31, 1994.

Biden has recently said we may need to revisit the Iraq war resolution. Interesting idea.

by Rep Brad Miller 2007-01-08 01:20PM | 0 recs
The Lebanon resolution was in 1983,

not 1998. Sorry.

by Rep Brad Miller 2007-01-08 01:30PM | 0 recs
to be fair to V.P. Cheney

I believe that no President has acknowledged the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution; each has disputed its application.

Here's a CRS Report called "Congressional Use of Funding Cutoffs Since 1970 Involving U.S. Military Forces and Overseas Deployments".  Multiple interesting examples, including those you've cited.

by Adam B 2007-01-08 01:40PM | 0 recs
True.

The War Powers Resolution passed over President Nixon's veto, and President's have avoided confrontation with Congress by filing the reports required by the resolution as reports "consistent with" rather than "pursuant to" the resolution, so that they comply without conceding the constituionality of the resolution.

I hope President Bush would follow the example of previous presidents and avoid constituional confrontation. I hope he does, but I'm not convinced he will.

Boy, do we sound like a couple of lawyers.

by Rep Brad Miller 2007-01-08 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: True.

so that they comply without conceding the constituionality of the resolution.

This actually should be correctly worded as:
so that they can proceed without exposing the unconstitutionality of the resolution.

Then it would be correct.

by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: to be fair to V.P. Cheney

True and here's the deal.  First, the Pres asks that congress approve a resolution to wage a war, such as for Iraq.  The Congress approves it because they 'think' they have a say in it.  They know if they don't, and the Pres goes ahead and wages war and it were to go to the Supreme court, Congress loses.  The constitution clearly states that the Pres is the CinC.  If war is declared, Congress will declare it, (but the little fly in the ointment is that it DOES NOT require that war be declared to wage war.  The Constitution states that Congress Shall fund an Army and Naval Forces.  Now an argument could be made that Congress can fund a 'war' or not, but they still have to fund the armed forces and the CinC can do what he wants to.  Let's face it, the Pres has the winning hand here.

by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 03:14PM | 0 recs
It's not quite that clear to me.

I'm not at all sure that the War Powers Resolution would not survive constitutional challenge, although I think we would be better off without that constitutional confrontation between the President and Congress.

The framers of the Constitution did not assume that there would be more than a very modest standing army and navy in peacetime, since the federal government could quickly resort to calling up state militias. The Constitution prohibits any appropriaton to raise or support an army "for a longer term than two years." Our likely enemies were on the other side of a vast ocean at the time, and the framers were more concerned about the threat to liberty of an extensive standing army under the command of the federal government than they were with a quick response to attack.

As to the provision making the President the commander-in-chief, Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers, No. 74, that "[t]he propriety of this provision is so evident in itself and is at the same time so consonant to the precedents of the State constitutions in general, that little need be said to explain or enforce it."

Thanks, Alex.

What is your authority for the assertion that "Congress loses" if Congress challenged a war waged by the President without congressional approval "were it to go the the Supreme Court"?

by Rep Brad Miller 2007-01-08 04:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The premise of the War Powers Resolution...

Thanks for posting, Congressman.  I think Sen. Biden is right that Congress can't "micro-manage" the war, but that's a far cry from saying that Congress can't set the basic parameters of our engagement in Iraq.  

Since you've always been a straight shooter with all of us in the blogosphere, let me ask you a question that I hope you can answer.  On the last defense appropriations bill (H.R. 2863), Rep. DeFazio offered an amendment (H.Amdt. 331), which was quite straightforward:

AMENDMENT PURPOSE:
An amendment to prohibit the administration from initiating military operations against Syria, Iran, North Korea or other potential rogue nations without authorization from Congress.

The amendment simply provided: "None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to initiate military operations except in accordance with Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States."

To us laymen, I have to say, this pretty much sounds like a no-brainer.  Yet the amendment failed by a somewhat depressing 280-136 count.  You yourself voted against it, as did dozens of other Democrats, so obviously the issue isn't so clear-cut.

My question is simple, as I try to understand what the new Congress sees as the proper limit of its authority in this area: What was your thinking in voting against this amendment?

by Steve M 2007-01-08 02:01PM | 0 recs
I cast a lot of votes,

and amendments to appropriations bills come especially fast and furious. I'm sitting at home in my bedroom slippers at the moment, and I can't recall the vote nor can I ask my able staff to try to help me reconstruct the issue. I suspect it was because I thought the procedures of the War Powers Resolution made the amendment unnecessary, and the requirements of the resolution were sufficient without a formal declaration of war, which we haven't done since we finally got around to declaring war on Albania in 1943.

Please leave your e-mail address and I'll try to get more information for you.

by Rep Brad Miller 2007-01-08 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: I cast a lot of votes,

Completely understood.  You can reach me at fnurt70@yahoo.com.  Thanks so much.

by Steve M 2007-01-08 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: I cast a lot of votes,

Just for the record, the Congressman had a member of his staff get back to me with this reply.  Needless to say, it means a lot to me that the Congressman would ensure I got an answer.  Rep. Miller will always be a great netroots ally.

My name is Ashley Orr and I handle defense issues for Congressman Miller.  After reviewing the debate over Rep. DeFazio's amendment H.AMDT.331 to H.R. 2863, the Department of Defense, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico , and Pandemic Influenza Act of 2006, I believe that Rep. Miller's initial recollections of this amendment still hold true.

Rep. DeFazio's amendment would prohibit the administration from initiating military operations against Syria , Iran , North Korea or other potential rogue nations without authorization from Congress.  However, the War Powers Resolution already addresses this.  It states that the President has the power as Commander in Chief to introduce U.S. forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities only in cases of (1) a declaration of war; (2) specific statutory authorization; or (3) a national emergency created by an attack on the United States or its forces.  The resolution also requires that in every possible instance the President must consult with Congress before introducing American armed forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities unless there has been a declaration of war or other specific congressional authorization.  The procedures of the War Powers Resolution make this amendment unnecessary.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Of course, the administration has never acknowledged that it needs to follow the War Powers Resolution, but it wouldn't acknowledge that it had to follow any other enactment that might get passed, either.  So I respect the Congressman's position on this.

by Steve M 2007-01-10 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: I cast a lot of votes,
I certainly wouldn't question the Rep. on this, but I really think it is because it wasn't considered important because he and the rest of the Congress could not restrict the Pres, under certain circumstances,  from using that money in that way.
Now they could state, redundantly, that the pres couldn't use it that way except in an emergency, but then, of course it is up to the Pres to decide if there were a situation that required it.  Again, the last thing the Congress wants is to create a situation where this whole issue goes to the Supreme court because they know the Pres is the one holding the Royal Flush.  All they're holding is a bluff and it has been called regularly, but the Congress just folds.
by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 03:47PM | 0 recs
Nice job Brad baby. Keep listening to the people!

from http://ralphlopezworld.com

please circulate

Ok this is getting crazy.  For Joe Biden to say that because Bush is commander-in-chief he can make war without end is patently ridiculous.  There is no way the Founders, who explicitly gave war-making powers to Congress, envisioned an Executive whose war-making no one could stop.  RE-DRAFT THE IRAQ WAR AUTHORIZATION!  We shouldn't have to do Biden's job for him; it can be written in a way which gives troops now present in Iraq all the supplies they need while putting a brake on authorized manpower.  The commanders on the ground have spoken, and true to form Bush has replaced them with yes-men.  I have updated the toll-free numbers to your congressman on my website.  (800) 862-5530 or (800) 833-6354.

We must remind these idiots that the Constitution gives them all the tools they need to rein in this out-of-control president, including impeachment.  At this rate of casualties, 2 more years in Iraq means a couple thousand more young guys dead, and Iraq not one iota more stable for it.  Article I and Article II of the Constitution make the president the "commander-in-chief" of the Army and Navy," but specifically empowers Congress to "make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces."

Show your congressman that you understand your Constitution better than they do.  Pass this around.

http://ralphlopezworld.com

by ralphlopez 2007-01-08 05:54PM | 0 recs
I saw a change in Biden, today

It was in this piece from Bob Geiger where he quoted Biden saying this:

"I have reached the tentative conclusion that a significant portion of this administration, maybe even including the vice president, believes Iraq is lost," Biden said last week. "They have no answer to deal with how badly they have screwed it up. I am not being facetious now. Therefore, the best thing to do is keep it from totally collapsing on your watch and hand it off to the next guy -- literally, not figuratively."

I got the impression this signalled that Biden was on the same page as Pelosi at least--that the Dems are about to enter a middle game with Cheney with the stakes being to prevent an escalation that would de facto just throw the whole mess to the next Administration (presumably a Democratic one).

God knows Biden is no genius, so I got the impression that Pelosi and Reid probably brought him in line.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2007-01-08 01:27PM | 0 recs
Of Course They Can...

just not fund the new "supplemental".  They won't do that.  So, they could attach a condition to the badly needed supplemental: no increase in the number of troops in Iraq.  Bush would just sign it with a signing statement, stating that as commander in chief it is in his sole discretion to set troops levels in war and proceed to spend the money on the escalation inspite of the limiting language.  Only a refusal to fund the war, a refusal to "support the troops", would work but there is not a chance of that happening.  Ultimately, it will take bodies in the streets.  A few days of cars "stalled" at rush hour in major intersections simultaneously around the country, or some other form of direct action, will be needed.

by Arthurkc 2007-01-08 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Of Course They Can...

because they can't actually refuse to fund the war because they authorized it. They could vote to de-authorize it, but the Pres could veto it. As long as it is authorized the Pres can spend the money.  The Constitution requires the congress to fund the army and navy.

That's like sitting there with 3 of a kind, knowing the other guy has a full house and wishing you could change the rules so you could win.  The constitution is hard to change.

by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 03:53PM | 0 recs
My, you're sure of yourself.

It's been my experience in life that people that sure of themselves are usually wrong.

The Constitution provides "The Congress shall have the power:
...
2. To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
...
12. To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years."

I don't read that as requiring Congress to fund an army, and certainly not to any level the President may desire.

But maybe that's why the Republican Congress has run up such big deficits--they think the Constitution requires that we borrow money.

by Rep Brad Miller 2007-01-08 04:25PM | 0 recs
Re: My, you're sure of yourself.

You are correct, sir.  It's all in the form of "shall have power to", not "must".  

The things that Article I affirmative requires Congress to do are (a) hold a decennial census, (b) choose a Speaker and other officers, and(c) "keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same".  

Other than that, I believe you can just go home.

by Adam B 2007-01-09 05:18AM | 0 recs
(affirmativeLY) NT

.

by Adam B 2007-01-09 05:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Of Course They Can...

I haven't been around MY DD long enough to know... but does this poster qualify as a troll?

by Joe Gabriel 2007-01-08 09:32PM | 0 recs
Why It MUST be Stopped:

Check this AP story out:

http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/ar ticles/2007/01/08/commanders_seek_more_f orces_in_afghanistan/

Apparently, military commanders in Afghanistan need more trooops to fight the growing Taliban insurgency.  We knew that, already.  I guess Bush did not.  He has ordered a battalion withdrawn from the critical east Afghanistan sector.  The reason?  You guessed it.  To make the escalation in Iraq happen.

Maybe we need to hit the streets now.

by Arthurkc 2007-01-08 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Why It MUST be Stopped:

We knew that, already.  I guess Bush did not.

So you think the Pres is not being informed.  Oh well, whoever is leaking that info to you must be a traitor.  

Well, maybe you could get the Pres to appoint you as HMFIC since you are so obviously sharper than he is.  but he was elected, you weren't.  Were you?

by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 04:04PM | 0 recs
Arthurkc may not have been elected,

but I was. My job is described in Article I of the Constitution. Article I comes right before Article II. Try reading it.

by Rep Brad Miller 2007-01-08 04:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Arthurkc may not have been elected,

And you're doing your job well.  Thanks for doing some it on-line.

by Arthurkc 2007-01-08 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

I think it is trickier than that. Presidents are the Commanders in Chief, and Congress controls the pursestrings, which only provide rough control over Executive actions.

If I were the Congress, I would be wary about getting into a battle of trying to control military deployments via the budget. It is an extremely clumsy tool for this purpose. At best it is likely to be ineffective. For instance, funding can be routed from other discretionary sources, with the White House then going to Congress to ask for money to fund projects other than the escalation to replace the funds routed to support the escalation. I haven't looked closely at the Defense Budget by I strongly suspect there is lots of discretionary spending authority in it.

It is very easy for Bush to place the Democrats in a corner with budgetary tricks. There is simply an inherent conflict between the Constitutional authority over funding and Presidential authority as Commander in Chief, and that conflict structurally has always favored the President.

The Democrats need a real strategy here. I have been concerned for awhile now that Bush will box them into a position where they feel compelled to vote for budget authority that can be used to construe support for Bush's policies ("both McCain and Obama voted to fund the escalation - how can you hold McCain accountable for this and not Obama?".

Frankly, I think the best the Democrats can hope for here is that they can make it clear that their fingerprints aren't on Bush's policies. I don't see how they can actually stop Bush from sending more troops to Iraq if Bush really wants to do it.

by Raskolnikov 2007-01-08 01:52PM | 0 recs
Rescind the Iraq war authority

Congress can rescind the authorization for military action in Iraq. Vote on it! Now!

If they are fainthearted about that, let them vote on a resolution, a "sense of Congress" resolution, in favor of redeployment of American troops.

In 1975 when the Vietnamese regime was crumbling, Gerald Ford wanted to start up bombing of North Vietnam. The Congress had banned further military action in the Vietnam conflict.

by cmpnwtr 2007-01-08 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Rescind the Iraq war authority
LOL  
Congress can rescind the authorization for military action in Iraq. Vote on it! Now!
What?   Let me see now.  What would likely happen.....hmmmm   Ever hear of a VETO !!!
Really think a veto could be overrode with a very small majority.   I've got some cheap oceanfront property in Az.  You interested?
by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 04:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

Issues of politics and willpower get resolved in our legal system.  The issue is, due to the nature of our government and society, irreducibly legal.  The question, then, is what will the courts do if they are faced with a suit against the President for violating the war powers act?  The courts will either refuse to act, thus legitimating the continued deployment of our armed forces, or they will find some bullshit way of justifying Bush's position.  Why?  The whole damn court system is capped off by 5 radically conservative justices.  

My question is who cares?

Sure, the president can send more troops if he wants to.  But the congress can cut off funding.  That's the way it works, and that's a battle I'm willing to have.  The troops can't stay over there without the expenditures, and the President can't spend money without the Congress.  

by Reece 2007-01-08 02:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

umm   ummm umm  wow, can't believe what I read.  Naive?  worse than that.  This little statement is hilarious.  
"Sure, the president can send more troops if he wants to.  But the congress can cut off funding.  That's the way it works,

Congress can't cut off funding.  It's already authorized and they would have to vote to cut it and the Pres could just veto it.  They can't override a veto.  Congress is required by the Constitution to fund the Army and Navy, REQUIRED.
Now that's the way it really works.

by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 04:17PM | 0 recs
Nope.

Just flat wrong. No amount of belligerent certitude can change that.

by Rep Brad Miller 2007-01-08 04:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

Which Constitution are you reading, exactly?  Our Constitution--the Constitution of the United States--reads like this:

"Congress shall have the power . . .

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer term than two years;"

To provide and maintain a Navy;"

Article 1, Section 8.

As you can see, Congress is not REQUIRED to fund the Army and Navy, but is rather given the AUTHORITY to do so if they choose to.

by Reece 2007-01-08 05:12PM | 0 recs
Biden is so useless

He loves making bombastic chest-beating he-man speeches, but when it comes to actually DOING something, he is MIA--especially when it calls for courage, risk and sacrifice. Not only will he not meaningfully oppose this rediculous "surge", but he has actually said so publically. Then I have to ask--WTF do we need him for?

I can only hope that Carl Levin--who is actually the appropriate person to address this issue seeing as he, not Biden, is head of the Armed Services Committee--along with his counterpart Ike Skelton in the house, DO do the right thing and try their best to meaningfully oppose and prevent this "surge".

It will also be interesting and revealing to see what the other Democratic members of these committees, and in general, do about the "surge"--especially those who intend to run for president in '08, and most especially Hillary. Now that they're in charge, will they risk political capital to do the right thing, or will they continue to play it politically safe, as they did when in the minority?

God help us--and them--if they do the latter.

by kovie 2007-01-08 02:29PM | 0 recs
Why Dems MUST STOP Bush's Illegal War Moves

Two commentaries on why Congress has the right -- and the responsibility -- to halt the war surge:

1. Guest Blogger: The Congress As Surge Protector

By Neil Kinkopf

Congress Can Forbid the President from Escalating the Iraq War without Renewed Authorization

Even if the President does not submit his plan for congressional approval, Congress is constitutionally empowered to require him to do so.

http://www.acsblog.org/separation-of-pow ers-guest-blogger-the-congress-as-surge- protector.html

2. Note to Senator Biden: The President is Not "The Decider"

Marty Lederman

I have argued in this space that because the Democrats appear now to have come out firmly against an escalation of troops in Iraq, and in favor of a deescalation of the conflict, they ought to pass a bill compelling the President to abide by such decisions.

http://balkin.blogspot.com/2007/01/note- to-senator-biden-president-is-not.html

by MS 2007-01-08 02:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Dems MUST STOP Bush's Illegal War Moves

Internet blogs are probably not the most reliable authority on what Congress's legal and practical steps in stopping Bush Jr's.

Two main legal issues.

1. War Powers Act
1. Congress authorizing Bush Jr's Iraq War.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-08 03:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Dems MUST STOP Bush's Illegal War Moves

"Congress Can Forbid the President from Escalating the Iraq War without Renewed Authorization"

Really, wow.  Let's see how does that work?
To forbid the Pres from doing XXXX, congress would have to pass a what?  a law?  And what is required for that?  A majority?  And then what, the pres has to sign it into law,  or what?  a Veto?  Then what, whoops !!  a 2/3 majority to override the veto.  Hmmm,  that likely?  I haven't heard any reports of snow falling in hell yet.

by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Dems MUST STOP Bush's Illegal War Moves

"Congress Can Forbid the President from Escalating the Iraq War without Renewed Authorization"

Really, wow.  Let's see how does that work?
To forbid the Pres from doing XXXX, congress would have to pass a what?  a law?  And what is required for that?  A majority?  And then what, the pres has to sign it into law,  or what?  a Veto?  Then what, whoops !!  a 2/3 majority to override the veto.  Hmmm,  that likely?  I haven't heard any reports of snow falling in hell yet.

by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 04:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Can Congress Stop the Escalation?

Sorry for the double post, it was un intentional

by For Enforcement 2007-01-08 04:28PM | 0 recs

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