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March 30, 2007

After the Veto
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

So what do Democrats do after the Veto?  Matt Yglesias suggests passing a bill without the withdrawal language but only for the next three months and then bringing up the debate again.  I generally agree.  It keeps the debate front and center, and as things get worse (And I’m pretty sure they will) you chip away and build more support for a supplemental with an exit strategy included.

My only problem is that three months is too short.  These supplemental debates are exhausting and all consuming.  Congress has a lot of other things to worry about and Iraq is already crowding out pretty much everything else.  Not to mention the fact that the country would get pretty sick of having these debates every three months only to have them end in veto and deadlock.  Every six months might be better.


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Great idea, except that, as of 10/1/07, there aren't supposed to be any more war supplementals. The whole thing is supposed to be rolled into the FY 2008 defense budget. Are we going to fund the entire Pentagon with a series of short-term continuing resolutions? Seems to me this game is going to get a lot more complicated.

Bob Narus:
They're no longer planning to use supplementals as the main vehicle for war funding. However, that doesn't mean there won't be any more supplementals. Unless they over-budget substantially unpleasant surprises will probably come along to demand more resources.

However, I think these supplementals will likely be in the low tens of billions rather than the fifty to a hundred fifty billion dollar range. So as you say the dynamic will still change.

Hmmm ... Maybe the Democrats really are the party of appeasement.

At some point, you need to make a stand, and it will never be easier to challenge Bush than it is right now. Deferring the fight to another time will not gain support, but lose it, because moderates and fence-sitters will only lose heart and decide congressional attempts to constrain presidential action are futile, given the lack of will to fight the executive's veto power. Also, as the end of the Bush term in office draws nearer, legislators will find less and less incentive to challenge presidential authority, and start looking toward 2009 to solve the problem.

Call for a veto override, and send the party troops out to fight for it. If in the end the votes aren't there, then at least the Republicans who oppose it will have to put themselves on record in supporting White House obstructionism over a blll that has majority popular support.

The Democrats are voting for continued funding of the wars over Republican objections to micro-managing and pork. After the veto the Dems will have to pass continuing resolutions to fund the wars which will require the continuing silencing of the anti-Iraq-war Dem progressives. In the meantime our increasingly brutal occupation of Iraq is pushing Iraq further into disaster and possible US military defeat, and is even drawing the ire of former US/Bush ally and chief US oil provider Saudi Arabia.

The Dem bills, besides requiring an oil law (yipee) and local elections (hah), allow a continuing, endless presence of US troops for "engaging in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach, and training members of the Iraqi Security Forces" which is pretty much what our government geniuses say the US is doing now. Iraq is the central front of the 'War on Terror' to prevent the establishment of a caliphate extending from Indonesia to Spain, don't you know. Osama bin-Laden says it so we must listen and accept what he says. At least there's someone supposedly believable in the world today.

Come on, nobody really believes that the US forces will leave Iraq and all its oil sans (1) a military defeat or (2) a widespread soldier revolt such as the one that effectively ended the Vietnam fiasco. The pols certainly won't do it. The US continues to have forces in Germany, Japan and Korea after more than fifty years, and US forces would still be in Vietnam if the GIs hadn't refused to go on missions and killed their superiors.

Of course the Dem bills call for "redeployment" but the bills don't say to where. The Dems say Afghanistan, that historical sinkhole of death for occupying armies. Oh joy.

I would like to hear a statement from the Dems as to why they are continuing to fund the Iraq war. What is the noble cause? Is it to defend a fundamentalist Islamic state allied with US arch-enemy Iran? To prevent a world-wide caliphate as that odd couple Bush and bin Laden say? Or what? I think they owe the American people an answer.

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