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January 26, 2007

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And my favorite:

Either repeal the authorization for the use of force or enact a new one with restrictions. And the Pat Buchanan column is pretty remarkable.

Josh Marshall makes much the same point about how much a strong Senate resolution would undermine Bush, and why he fears it:

What the White House is saying is that the United States senate can't do anything does not express full support for President Bush -- even something that only expresses sentiment -- without aiding the enemy. The very exercise of the senate's constitutional authority aides the terrorists.

Having this resolution passed really does worry the White House -- even if it is merely a non-binding, sense-of-the-senate resolution -- because their whole model of political control is based cowing the political opposition. That is the key. Once that spell's broken, for them it's the abyss.

Remember the message of the Social Security fight: just standing up to him does a agreat deal of damage and makes the rest of his agenda very, very difficult if not impossible. And it shows he has no clout.

Mimikatz,

as some here know, I have very personal reasons to be outraged at the way Bush managed the situation in Iraq. Not so much with us going to war which was not wise in hindsight, though arguable at the time, but greatly with the way things have been managed after the first 3 or 4 weeks.

Now though, Humpty Dumpty (Iraq) has been knocked off the wall, and if we don't somehow get him back up, it will become a big sticky, smelly mess. The Democrats and Republicans all walk on a razor's edge with diaster on one side, and long term misery on the other.

To pull out now, quickly, will ease our immediate pain, but what will the future hold? If we stay, what must we do to succeed? What we are doing now is not working very well, except that yes, the American Homeland has not been attacked.

I am afraid that politics (both sides) will not let us find the right formula for some kind of success. We seemed doomed to suffer a long time from this debacle.

Remember: The Democrats control the pursestrings in Congress. They have more options.

My point is that they have options other than the pursestrings, which is what people are talking about and which they seem reluctant to use.

And to point out that in actuality the Dems never cut off funding for the Vietnam War. They cut off funds for a widening of the war, and they refused to fund the South Viets after Kissinger and Nixon decided the war was lost.

Jodi, it is a mess now. If we go after Sunni insurgents who dislike the Shia-dominated government and the US occupation, we lose any possibility of their help in reaching a political solution. If we go after Shia militias, we undermine Maliki's government.

It is not a situation that can be resolved with military force. The Iraqis have to deal with one another and decide if they want a partition or one country. The current strategy just exposes American troops to more danger by placing them in unfortified urban situations. Sooner or later there will be a very serious attack on one of these positions. Then the pressure will become extreme to get out troops out of combat situations. Better sooner than later.

And here's General Odom's testimony on the blunders in iraq and what to do. This is,. as David Kurtz says, an example of pulling back and REALLY thinking strategically.

Jodi wrote:
" i am afraid that politics (both sides) will not let us find the right formula .. "

The sides are not democrat vs republican. The sides are pro-empire vs. pragmatism.

Mimikatz,

Informative and well reasoned. And the position that I would hope for.

But I just do not believe it. The Dems WILL NOT gradually move to serious action. They might move closer, over time, but they will never pull the trigger. Not prudent, as one of our Presidents liked to say.

Only abrupt and serious action will bring things to a head, and cause a showdown that might lead to withdrawal.

Also, your Vietnam story leaves out quite a lot. It leaves out the country's crisis of identity, and the horror of war brought to the living room every day. Today, we are much more comfortably numb.

We need footage of the war on Youtube, or some other way to make the reality popular knowledge. We need people to grasp the reality behind the words.

As for the future, we must leave and let the locals figure it out. Or not. But it will be up to them.

Since the Dems seem to be getting cold feet, it strikes me that there is a politically-easy, Machiavellian, revelatory of GOP treachery action they can take:
A bill renouncing any permanent bases in Iraq.
Convey the ones already built to the Iraqi Government. Make any attempts to build new bases, or permanently base soldiers there, illegal. And while you're at it, give most of our mega-embassy back to them too.
And let the country see the GOP try their b.s. to stop it.

Writing for the Nation, Scott Ritter also offers his recommendations, such as a Boland Amendment for Iran.

Link: http://www.commondreams.org/views07/0125-27.htm

Randy,

An excellent idea. I wonder why it hasn't been passed already.

I'd like to see Congress pass a law revoking the security clearance of Dick Cheney and of all members of his staff, while making it clear that anyone who provides them with classified information is committing Treason.

It seems to me that such an action would totally remove Cheney from all active work with the military, State Department, or Intelligence Community. It's not unconstitutional because the Vice President has no Constitutional duties other than to Preside over the Senate and replace the President in the case of his death or disability.

Bush's orders to go after Iranian "agents" in Iraq will provoke Iran to retaliate against US troops there. Bush will then use that as an excuse to attack Iran. At that point, it's unlikely that Congress will do anything to stop Bush. In fact, they'll probably agree to an attack. Listening to John Edwards, Biden, Clinton and others...I have no doubt that they'll go along with Bush again. Bush has already moved two aircraft carriers into the Persian Gulf, without a word from Congress.

We've got to pressure Congress to stop Bush if we don't want to see another unprovoked war, which will have disastrous consequences for Iran, the Middle East and us.

The Boland Amendment analog (cutting off funding for extending the war to Iraq) is a good idea, and one of the things I was suggesting, based on Congress' cutting off funding for expanding the previous war into Cambodia. I think they need to do that and also renounce permanent bases. It wasn't passed before because the rubber-stamp Republicans were in power and they are just getting started now. It should be on the agenda.

In fact, the Dems should have votes on a whole series of bills like that. Let the GOP call it micromanaging, but these go to the heart of what our war aims really are--and permanent bases in Iraq shouldn't be part of that.

Odom's testimony which I linked to above is really very good and makes it clear that there will be less fighting and more cooperation by the allies and neighbors IF WE GET OUT than if we stay. And no amount of reconstruction money (or troop training) will make any difference unless there is a government in place that has administrative and taxing power. Otherwise it is, as he said, like trying to put a roof on a house when it doesn't have walls yet. And it is better (and less of a defeat) to leave on our own terms at a time of our choosing than to be forced out. I fear the latter will be the case if we don't start withdrawing troops seriously by this summer.

is there a "no permanent bases" bill in either House or Senate?

who are co-sponsors?

how many co-sponsors?

Has either leadership committed to bringing such bill to a vote?

talk is cheap

and all we are likely to get is talk. long, sanctimonious speeches

Congress will not move unless the country lights a BIG fire under its butt

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