Friday, April 06, 2007

Feingold and Reid to Bush: Go Ahead, Veto It, This is What's Coming Next

Question: When do you tip your hand on what you are going to do after George Bush vetoes HR 1591, the House- and Senate-passed resolution to provide supplemental funding for the Iraq War, and bring our troops home? Answer: When you don’t have the votes to override the veto.

So is the bill being authored by Senators Russ Feingold and Harry Reid a compromise bill? Not hardly. It’s tougher. The message being sent by Feingold and Reid is this: sign what you have in front of you or you will be faced with something much, much worse.

Should George Bush veto the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007, the Senate will consider a new bill with the same spirit as HR 1591, except that this bill will cut off all funding for the War in Iraq on March 31st 2008.

This, they say, will force Bush’s hand as well as cause opponents in the House and Senate to go on record, repeatedly, that they wish to strand our troops in the middle of a civil war.

Finally, these guys are looking to the history books to see what it takes to end an illegal and immoral war. Congress was faced with this very issue 34 years ago. It took 10 years and 58,226 casualties for Congress to finally realize that the only way the war in Vietnam (essentially a civil war that we took sides on) was ever going to end was to cut off funding. That occurred in June of 1973 with passage of P.L. 93-50 – Supplemental Foreign Assistance. Here is some of the text.

“None of the Funds herein appropriated under this act may be expended to support directly or indirectly combat activities in or over Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam by United States forces, and after August 15, 1974, no other funds heretofore appropriated under any other act may be expended for such purposes.”

That ended the Vietnam War.

Some, perhaps including my own congressman, will probably howl that they will never vote for a bill that doesn’t monetarily support our troops. We have to get beyond that. By waving bloody flags at those who would vote to defund the war, saying they don’t support the troops are missing the point.

By demanding that we want our troops to come home out of harm’s way, we are supporting the troops. By insisting that our troops remain in the crossfire in a civil war opponents of defunding are very much not supporting our troops, but rather helping to paint targets on the troops’ helmets. It is they, not we, who want to end this war, who do not support our troops. George Bush is essentially holding our troops hostage in his demands for more money for the war.

America’s role in the Iraq war has gone from liberator to target. While there was no legitimate reason to go to war in Iraq, it happened. Saddam was deposed, Iraqis held elections and they formed a new government. That should have been the end of it. But in the meantime, long-warring religious factions rose up and rekindled their centuries-long strife. That this strife had been bottled up by Saddam and his predecessors should not be lost on anyone. But their strife is not ours. Their religious outrage at each other has nothing to do with America.

Everything that we set out to do in Iraq has been accomplished. Mission Accomplished.

Let’s declare victory and bring our troops home.

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