Jan 8 2007
06:31 pm

Bush is set to reveal his latest plan for success in Iraq, and by all accounts it will involve a "surge" of troops (i.e. escalation) and more money, even after saying previously that it would "undermine our strategy." (We had a strategy? Who knew?)

Nancy Pelosi says that sending more troops must be "justified" and that Congress will take a hard look at any more funding. She says they would go along with providing funds for support of troops already there and expanding the military to protect our interests but would consider withholding funding for sending more troops in Iraq.

Republican and some Democrats including Joe Biden say Congress has no authority to do this. I'm curious about that. If Congress has to approve war powers, why can't Congress take them away?

The joint resolution authorizing Bush to invade Iraq says, among other things:

Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;


Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of American citizens;

Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001 underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations;

Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend itself;


Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;


Whereas the United States is determined to prosecute the war on terrorism and Iraq's ongoing support for international terrorist groups combined with its development of weapons of mass destruction in direct violation of its obligations under the 1991 cease-fire and other United Nations Security Council resolutions make clear that it is in the national security interests of the United States and in furtherance of the war on terrorism that all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions be enforced, including through the use of force if necessary;

Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 or harbored such persons or organizations;

All of which was a pack of lies, of course. Regardless, that was the pretext we were sold. It would seem that we have neutralized all those threats, including Saddam and the WMDs. So why do we need to send more troops?

Sen. John McCain says Congress has a responsibility to finish what they started. More specifically, the resolution says Bush is authorized to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq."

It looks like "mission accomplished" to me. No Saddam. No WMD. The only terrorists are waging civil war against each other. The only Americans threatened by Iraq are the American soldiers Bush put in harms way by sending them to Iraq.

Anyway, the resolution also says:

The President shall, at least once every 60 days, submit to the Congress a report on matters relevant to this joint resolution, including actions taken pursuant to the exercise of authority granted in section 2 and the status of planning for efforts that are expected to be required after such actions are completed, including those actions described in section 7 of Public Law 105-338 (the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998).

So where is Mr. Bush's homework? Where are the reports? What has he been telling Congress for four years? Specifically, what has Mr. Bush's reported regarding progress on enforcing U.N. Security Council Resolutions 660, 661, 662, 664, 665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674, 677, 687, 949, which the resolution specifically authorized him to enforce?

This war and this President are so far outside the scope of the war powers resolution (which were based on a pack of lies in the first place) it is null and void at this point. What Congress giveth, Congress can taketh away. If that isn't in the law or the Constitution somewhere, it ought to be and we should amend the Constitution to protect us from real dangers such as George W. Bush instead of worrying about gays burning flags at their weddings. I think that's what the founders had in mind anyway.

OK, then.

Serr8d's picture

"It's an important part of

"It's an important part of coming to closure on a way forward in Iraq that will help us achieve our objective, which is a country that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself. ... Obviously, we'll continue to work with the Iraqi government. The key to success in Iraq is to have a government that's willing to deal with the elements there that are trying to prevent this young democracy from succeeding. ... We want to help them succeed. And so we'll continue to consult with the Iraqis."

-- President George W. Bush
December 28, 2006

The closure of this conflict is not going to be another retreat, al la Saigon. We can't afford to leave Iraq until the country is established enough to succeed, and become a democracy. While the RETREAT crowd crows loudest now, and the drumbeat is to pull out and leave the Iraqis to their own devices, a thinking person will understand that such a withdrawal is no good for the U.S. interests. No, I'm not talking about the 'thinking persons' mediated into a frenzy by the far leftist elements, the Soros/Moore/Dean group of rabid moonbats who are beyond thinking of anything except their hatred of Bush.

Why should the US retreat and leave the fledgling democracy of Iraq, when it is important to the entire region to see how a democracy can succeed and the Islamic extremeists be defeated? We have no choice except to support the Iraqi people, if we as a nation are to be seen as worthy of respect.

Those neglected open areas are now considered the best places for criminal activities, they are now places known for dumping dead bodies. I know it’s shocking but it’s the bitter reality we have,
They usually call such areas now the morgues, so when you have someone missing people would recommend that you look in the morgue, the official one, and if you don’t find him there then go and look in other morgues!! Coz we have many.
The first official one is loaded, the hospital ones are loaded, and areas ones are crowded too, the militias would abduct and kill, then they would throw the body at any open space they see, easy and not risky since they own the country,
Why value of human beings in Iraq became unworthy? Why people now being killed and thrown at any empty deserted land without having a powerful authority to protect their souls? Why we are counting days and minutes for our deaths? Why death became our loyal companion? Our friend? When we hear about him we don’t feel scared, its one of the regular, normal topics of our lives, and why number of dead people has no longer strong impact on us? Why even the dead have lost their dignity in having decent burial?


No, we can't leave Iraq in the state it's in now...we couldn't live with ourselves, now could we? Could we?

R. Neal's picture

We can't afford to leave

We can't afford to leave Iraq until the country is established enough to succeed


According to Bush, the Iraqis built WMD and used them on their neighbors. Saddam didn't do that by himself.

They invaded Kuwait. They didn't do that by themselves. They supported Saddam and didn't do anything to overthrow him.

They've had time that we've given them at great cost of lives and treasure. All they've done is enable American soldiers being sent out on patrol to get blown up.

Why should be continue enabling the enablers?

Mission accomplished. Declare victory and bring our troops home.

Serr8d's picture

Saddam didn't do that by

Saddam didn't do that by himself.
They invaded Kuwait. They didn't do that by themselves. They supported Saddam and didn't do anything to overthrow him.

Saddam Hussein was a repressive dictator who tightly controlled every facet of politics in Iran...using brutality and death. Much like the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Hussein did have WMD's; he used them on his own people. He was a sponser of state terrorism; he paid $25K to families of Palestinian suicide bombers. He did launch Scud Missles at Israel during the first Iraq War, after he invaded Kuwait. He spent the intervening time between the two gulf wars secretly trying to find a way to attack his hated enemies in America, including a planned attack on George HW Bush.

Don't think for a minute we did a 'bad thing' when we invaded in 2003. We took out a 'bad thing'. Without Saddam Hussein, Iraq has an opportunity to become a democracy. If we pull out now, early, and leave them, WoW! that really would make the US look like heros, wouldn't it? But IMHO the Retreatists secretly want Iraq to fail. Just to cement their hate of Bush. Some of the voices we're hearing from people in this country, you would think that they are now the 'bad thing', wouldn't you?

R. Neal's picture

Everybody agrees Saddam was

Everybody agrees Saddam was a bad man. He's been captured, tried, and executed. Mission accomplished. The Iraqis should thank us and send us on our way.

Serr8d's picture

Oh Boy, I love your

Oh Boy, I love your attitude. Go over there, take a 3-hour dump in their living room, then leave without even spraying the Lysol.

Is that a Volunteers cap your sportin' there, bubba?
You need to turn it around, maybe upside down.

Volunteer my arse. Retreatist, that's more like it...

R. Neal's picture

Are you saying Bush took a

Are you saying Bush took a three hour dump in their living room? I thought we were liberating them and neutralizing the threat of WMD? They've been liberated, the WMDs are neutralized. Mission accomplished. Lysol optional.

R. Neal's picture

P.S. There's no need for

P.S. There's no need for personal insults. I'm not a "retreatist." (Is that like a "surrender monkey"? you guys come up with some of the best meaningless one-liner foreign policy barbs. Is there a playbook for that or something?)

I didn't think we should be there in the first place. I wasn't convinced there was a threat of WMD or a connection to 9/11. My Congressman didn't think so either, and voted against the war powers resolution that authorized Bush to invade Iraq. Is Jimmy Duncan a "retreatist", too?

But nevertheless here we are four years later in a "war" that was never declared by Congress and that has lasted longer than WWII. And all of the "reasons" we went to "war" appear to have been settled. Saddam has been executed. The WMDs are "neutralized". Osama is not in Baghdad. Mission accomplished.

I don't understand what's so hard about that? Victory has been achieved. Iraq has been liberated and is no longer a threat to the U.S.

Why do some Americans believe it is OK to belittle our military by insisting they have failed to achieve what is clearly a victory in terms of the mission they were given?

It's unpatriotic.

Johnny Ringo's picture


But nevertheless here we are four years later in a "war" that was never declared by Congress and that has lasted longer than WWII.

Well, longer than OUR involvement in WWII, anyway.

rikki's picture

Actually, we took a big dump

Actually, we took a big dump on their living room and nicknamed it "shock and awe", then we showed up expecting flowers and candy, filmed a bunch of porn and snuff flicks, took over the house and started hiring expensive contractors to fix things, found the guy we came for but continued to stick around and made them invent laws and a court to try him in, lost billions, never managed to get the repairs even half done, discovered our primary consultant on the invasion and preferred leader for the new country was actually in cahoots with Iran, helped Iraq hold elections and install their own government but continued to stick around, watched a bunch of bad guys sneak into the house, wondered why our hosts always seemed irritated, watched increasingly hostile leaders get elected, still never managed to get those repairs done, then handed our bounty over to some mean sons of bitches with a trap door and a noose before he faced trial for his most serious crimes. And now we want to invite more friends over to share in the celebration of this young democracy.

Thinking people knew this war was a farce long before it started and have been trying to think of ways to end the bloodshed and debt ever since. Your proclaimed definition of success is way too soft-headed to merit much credit for thought, but maybe you can explain exactly how we'll know when it's okay to take off the training wheels, let go of the seat and see if Iraq can ride on its own. This talk of "leaving when they're ready" sounds like just the sort of mushbrained crap conservatives used to criticize liberals for, but I guess the star is on the other belly now. It also sounds like a decidedly non-military goal we're asking our military to achieve.

Here's something to think about: Is our presence in Iraq counterproductive to our stated goals?

Sven's picture

The World as Will and Representation

They're the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.

Klein’s just hit on what so many anti-war leftists (including certain members of Congress) don’t want to admit: they don’t want us to succeed in Iraq. Success in Iraq would not just be a victory for America, for President Bush’s policies in the war on terror, and that doesn’t sit well with the Bush-haters in the Democratic party who have portrayed him as a bumbling, inept Commander in Chief.

I'm still trying to decide if this comment is parody:

The scary part is that there are people in this country AND even in elected office that get sick to their stomachs when they are faced with the wonderful progress in Iraq. They derive their power and status by fomenting the idea that Iraq is an umitegated disaster. Their hopes for more death and instabity in that country is sickening to say the least.

No one could have convinced me that such traitorous americans existed until I visited the Huffpo site. At first I thought they were just being argumentitive, but it became clear as time went on that these people ACTUALLY believe this stuff. God help us all if the moonbats ever get all they wish for.

Serr8d's picture

*"The Pentagon source also

*"The Pentagon source also contended that the ability to target Qaeda figures in Somalia is a positive by-product of the Iraq war. "We have a much better handle on Al Qaeda and its operations than we ever would have had we not gone to war in Iraq," he said. "That is not a reason for going to war, or trying to backdate a rationale, but it is a fact now. It is an unintended positive consequence of the war."

This, from Time Magazine (not a known supporter of the war), on the Somalia raid earlier this week. If you think that it's OK to simply pull out of Iraq now, before we complete the 'Nation Building' phase of the operation, remember the first time we pulled out of Somalia...

*"In the five years since that humanitarian mission dissolved into combat, Somalia has had a profound cautionary influence on American foreign policy. When Washington policymakers consider sending soldiers into foreign crisis zones, there is invariably a caveat: Remember Somalia. America's refusal to intervene in Rwanda in 1995 and in the former Zaire this year; its long delay in acting to stop Serbian aggression in Bosnia; its hesitation before sending troops into Haiti; and its present reluctance to arrest indicted war criminals in Bosnia stem, in some measure, from the futile attempts to arrest Aidid."

"Most of the Rangers who fought were only a few years out of high school. These young men were shocked to find themselves bleeding on the dirt streets of an obscure African capital for a cause so unessential that President Clinton called off their mission the day after the fight."

Before that, the scar of Vietnam left America paralyzed and afraid to 'venture out' with any military force, until the first Gulf War. Vietnam's legacy, IMHO, prevented the US from continuing on into Baghdad and removing Saddam Hussein in 1991. If we had only finished that war then, possibly we could have avoided all of this current conflict.

Now, today: If we do cut and run from our responsibility in Iraq, then how will that action define our role as a nation in the future? A superpower, true, but one dependent on foreign oil; inhabited by citizens who are spoiled by the excesses of consumption and are vunerable because of their lack of resolve ......"But nevertheless here we are four years later in a "war" that was never declared by Congress and that has lasted longer than WWII.".......; a country whose military will be seen as vunerable to irregulars; a country whose people are divided and weak-kneed when facing a threat larger than one that requires more that just a 24-hour TV show to solve ....."Thinking people knew this war was a farce long before it started and have been trying to think of ways to end the bloodshed and debt ever since.".......

So you think living here in the World's Greatest Country was going to be free and clear forever?

Andy Axel's picture

So you think living here in

So you think living here in the World's Greatest Country was going to be free and clear forever?

You're posting from New Zealand?


Dirty mouth language -- it's the new black.

JaHu's picture

If you think that it's OK to

If you think that it's OK to simply pull out of Iraq now, before we complete the 'Nation Building' phase of the operation, remember the first time we pulled out of Somalia...

We are not in the nation building phase in Iraq, we are still in a war. A war that will probably linger on for many, many, more years and cost us thousands of more lives, but I don't guess you care about that as long as we can "win" the war. We are not helping the situation in Iraq by being there either. Many Iraqi's, are fighting because they just don't want us there. We have already lost over 3000 troops for this war that we shouldn't have entered into, and we have ten's of thousands of troops permanently maimed because of it. Who is it helping? Iraqi's, no! Our country, No! It is only helping the corporate nation rapers.

We pulled out of Nam and they recovered.

'Nation Building' or Nation raping?

Adrift in the Sea of Humility

Factchecker's picture

Non sequiturs

So you think living here in the World's Greatest Country was going to be free and clear forever?

What will it mean for the World's Greatest Country when we acknowledge we can't win or hold this war, whether it comes sooner or later? It's not realistic to think there's a chance to win, surge or no, so why would anyone advocate the same path LBJ and Nixon took just to avoid being the presidents to suffer a military defeat on their watch?

The only out is through diplomacy. Too bad Bush hates doing that more than he hates sending Americans to die. And that his admin is as incompetent at negotiation as they are at planning and fighting wars. Too bad W partied in school through all the classes that would have helped him learn diplomacy. Things like history, debate, English, civics.

Ignorance is its own reward. Too bad his little problem is taking down our World's Greatest Country and the rest of the free world along with it.

rikki's picture

You dodged a bunch of

You dodged a bunch of questions and then posed one that makes no sense at all. Not much of a showing for a "thinking person."

Our role as a nation is being defined by what is happening right now, not just by the next step we take. Our role as a promoter of democracy and as a beacon of hope has been seriously undermined by Bush, by the lies he used to sell his "pre-emptive" doctrine, by the gross physical and legal abuse of prisoners, by our slip toward a more authoritarian form of government, by our status as an occupier unwilling to leave, by our arrogance. The changes Bush has already imposed on our nation are more worrisome and damaging than what we risk by trying to extricate ourselves from an expensive, ill-defined war.

You made no effort to better define what success in Iraq might look like, nor to explain why our military should be responsible for non-military goals, nor to address whether our continued presence in Iraq is counterproductive. Still thinking?

Andy Axel's picture

Why should the US retreat

Why should the US retreat and leave the fledgling democracy of Iraq, when it is important to the entire region to see how a democracy can succeed and the Islamic extremeists be defeated?

The government is compromised.

Islamic extremists loyal to the Mahdi inhabit the Interior Ministry.

How does democracy grow when your police force is loyal to a Muslim whose philosophy is decidedly hostile to democratization?


Dirty mouth language -- it's the new black.

Sven's picture

Republican and some

Republican and some Democrats including Joe Biden say Congress has no authority to do this.

Methinks Biden is attempting to cover his butt. He doesn't want to accept the political consequences of a showdown with the CinC, so instead we get excuses dressed up as silly tough-guy posturing..."I'd totally kick the Bushies' ass if my mom wasn't watching."

Marty Lederman and Neil Kinkopf say Biden has Mom's permission to rumble; all he needs is the guts to do so.

Sven's picture

No, we can't leave Iraq in

No, we can't leave Iraq in the state it's in now...we couldn't live with ourselves, now could we? Could we?

Yeah, this has been a real humanitarian mission from the git go.

"We" seem to be living jus' fine with the 655,000 people who've died, the 1.7 million displaced, and the thousands tortured as a direct result of Bush's Folly.

Andy Axel's picture

Added dimension

The British are joining the retreatists.

Tony Blair will make clear this week that Britain is not going to send more troops to Iraq even if the US pushes ahead with a "surge" of 20,000 extra soldiers.

The Prime Minister will insist that the UK will stick to its own strategy of gradually handing over to the Iraqi army, as it has been doing with success in Basra and the south.

Coalition? What coalition?


Dirty mouth language -- it's the new black.

Sven's picture

Kennedy introduces no mo'

Kennedy introduces no mo' troops bill.

Bill Arkin:

President Bush travels to Ft. Benning, Georgia on Thursday to begin his PR effort to sell his Iraq plan.

The troops there are just background: The target is the Democratic Congress.

The only way the President will get what he wants is to put the troops in the middle of a tug of war. Bush will show, amidst commander-in-chief pomp and the requisite hooah's that the military is neither exhausted nor finished. Congress will thus be trapped in the position where it will have to undermine and dishonor the American military to implement the will of the American people.

Bring 'em on.

Sven's picture

Answers galore

Prominent scholar-blogger Robert Farley:

1. What are the consequences of America losing a war?
The same as the consequences of any other country losing a war, only far less so since the war was fought far away for reasons tangential to genuine US security interests.

2. What will it do to our position in the world?
The dreadful defeat will leave the US the most powerful country in the world.

3. What will it do to our national psyche?
It may be marginally more difficult for the New Republic to gin up support for the next idiotic foreign adventure.

4. What will it do to the people who fought in the war?
More of them will be alive, and will enjoy the full use of their limbs and brains.

Here's the longer answer to the question of "What happens when a country engages in war to save its 'Reputation,'" courtesy of Hannah Arendt.

Factchecker's picture

Then there's...

Also this by Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr., "one of the United States' top arms agreement experts, ...[and] President Clinton's special representative for arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament from 1994-97."


The United State's recent policy of giving the "back of our hands to such treaties as the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the Ottawa Convention on land mines, the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and others," he said, has diminished the United State's role in world leadership.

Graham said former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry said recently that there could be a greater than 50 percent chance of a nuclear detonation on U.S. soil in the next decade.

"I agree with that," Graham said.

Sorry I missed hearing his talk at the Baker Center at UT Tuesday.

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