by Matt Stoller, Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 10:16:26 AM EST
"Money is the only way we can stop it for sure." To this end, Murtha, the incoming Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, is planning to hold wide-ranging hearings, starting January 17th, that will focus on the depleted state of our military readiness , as well as contractor corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan. The goal is to turn the spotlight on how drained the military has become, and on how any talk of a troop surge is utterly irresponsible (as well as strategically misguided). "The public," he said repeatedly, "is already ahead of us on all this. He says he wants to "fence the funding," denying the president the resources to escalate the war, instead using the money to take care of the soldiers as we bring them home from Iraq "as soon as we can."
There are going to be plenty of fights happening over the next few years, which is why I'm not worried about bipartisan nonsense - there's just no common ground between, say, escalation and withdrawal. I've talked to a few new Congressmen today, and all of them are clearly against the war in Iraq. This Murtha move is new, and they hadn't heard about it yet. It changes the debate around the supplemental budget, which is really the debate about the war and what we should be doing.
This is good. People were ready to give Bush one last blank check, but the escalation has allowed progressives the opportunity to push back. Bush overreached and is out of control, and it looks like the Democrats might stand up to him on the funding piece. That's the last taboo for Congress, and it's one that should have dissipated long ago.