Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It appears that Rudy Guiliani shares my thinking, albeit for different reasons, that Bush can keep the troops in Iraq notwithstanding Congress' refusal to provide funding...

According to Guiliani, since Congress approved the war in the first place, notwithstanding their refusal to provide additional funding for the war effort, Bush has (or, since Guiliani is hedging a bit, 'might have' might be a better way to describe his view) the authority to keep the troops there. Guiliani doesn't address how this would play out were Congress to take back this authority.

My thinking goes a bit beyond Guiliani's.

Congress has two roles to play: they get to decide (provided they either get a Presidential signature or they have the votes to override a veto) how much money to provide - in total - for our national defense and they get to decide where and when we're at war.

The President, as Commander-in-Chief, gets to decide how best to spend the money and he gets to decide on how to best wage the war. He gets to decide - on his own - how best to structure the military, who he wants to run the military and the policies our military will follow in such matters as the Rules of Engagement, recruiting and so on.

If a President wanted to allow gays to serve openly, Congress can't stop him. Nor does Congress have any right to approve promotions, manpower levels, the purchases of weapons programs and so on. If Bush wanted to close military bases in blue states, that would be his perogative.

And if Bush decided to spend ALL of the money appropriated for our national defense in Iraq, that would be his perogative.

The way for Congress to end our involvement in Iraq is for them to withdraw their (practical) declaration of war against Iraq. They ought to forget about defunding the war and establishing benchmarks and designating troop reduction levels. As proposed by Schumer, Congress needs to declare that the President no longer has the authority to engage in hostilities in Iraq after a given date. Bush can do what he wants up to that point. And then the troops must come home.