Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hoisted on his own petard...

Democratic Senator Chris Dodd (who, by the way, I tend not to like) has "introduced legislation to cap the number of troops in Iraq at roughly 130,000, saying that lawmakers should take an up-or-down vote on Bush's plan to send additional troops to the country and not settle for the nonbinding resolution several Senate leaders prefer" and argues that "the authorization Congress gave Bush in 2002 to send troops to Iraq, leading to the March 2003 invasion and occupation, did not cover a situation that has since degenerated into a civil war among rival religious, ethnic and political sects."

Well, it must be snowing in somewhere where one would never think it would ever snow... because Dodd is right.

Bush went to Congress before the Iraq invasion and asked for their approval of what he was setting out to do... namely to remove Hussein and to eliminate the WMDs and WMD programs that we expected to find. Nowhere in the resolution was there any mention of ending sectarian strife in Iraq, nor any mention of our sticking around as a prop for an ineffectual Iraqi government, no any mention of our sticking around for the purpose of installing a democracy that would serve as a beacon of hope for all the oppressed people of the world.

Now Bush and his defenders could argue (and in fact have done so) that Bush doesn't need Congress's approval for his surge. But that position, at least to me, is undercut by Bush's having gone to Congress and asked for their blessing to invade Iraq four-plus years ago.

If we were still fighting to get rid of Hussein and eliminate Iraq's WMDs, then I agree that Congress has no say in micro-managing how Bush was going about doing that.

But Hussein is long gone. We determined long ago that Iraq has no WMDs or WMD programs. Bush accomplished - a long time and many hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of American casualties ago - what Congress gave him permission to do.

But Bush has never asked Congress for permission, nor have they given him permission, to do in Iraq what he is trying to do in Iraq... and if he thought it was important to ask Congress to bless the initial invasion, it is no less important that he obtain Congress' permission to do what he is now trying to do.

If Bush had had the b***s to go into Iraq without having asked Congress for their blessing, then it would be consistent for him to argue that he didn't need permission for Congress to do what he is doing now. But he didn't act on his own then... and in doing so, in effect conceded that he needed Congress' permission. And if he needed it then, he certainly needs it now.

It's not Congress which is trying to change the rules mid-stream... it is Bush.