Monday, December 04, 2006

Getting rid of them

This is the way to make progress
on Iraq. First get rid of the people
who voted for it, then make the
tough decisions (go in deeper?
ask for help? hunker down?
go just-over-the-horizon?
something else?) All of these
options will be more likely to
succeed because of the election.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
dyn/content/article/2006/12/03/
AR2006120301108.html

7 Comments:

Blogger Germanicu$ said...

don't see how prescience qualifies one to make policy. Sure, these people may have "called it" in the 2002 House floor debate, predicting a sectarian bloodbath and breakdown in Iraqi civil society. But that doesn't mean they somehow know how to "make the tough decisions."

"Getting rid of the people who voted for it" is not a strategy for success. It's a strategy for petty revenge.

Besides, just because they voted for authorizing the President to "use force" does not mean that they voted for this war and its aftermath. This may on the surface of it seem irrelevant, since despite the clear language in our constitution that only Congress has the power to delcare war, Presidents have made war for a long long time. But this really strikes at the heart of the point: the Administration, not Congress, bungled this war from the start. So I don't see why you see fit to hold the fiasco over there against a leglislator who cast a meaningless vote.

Barring impeachment or a radical realignment of our branches of government, we're stuck with this Administration devising and applying Iraq policy for another two years. If we want to "fix Iraq," it's going to be at the hands of Bush & co.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"So I don't see why you see fit to hold the fiasco over there against a leglislator who cast a meaningless vote."

Well, it wasn't supposed to be a meaningless vote. I'm conflicted on whether or not to believe Democrat congressmyn who said that in voting to authorize the use of force, they weren't authorizing Bush to go to war. That is to say, I'm sure some of them believed that, while some of them were just cowards without the cojones to stand up to Bush and the media and elite and public opinion. It may just be with the benefit of hindsight that it's so clear that, even if a policy goal is laudable, it must be vigorously opposed if the inevitable executor of that goal is a dim, oligarchic man-child like Bush.

But in any case, getting rid of the ones who abdicated their constitutional responsibility is certainly a necessary first step, whether or not there is an element of petty revenge in it.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

From Thomas Ricks's FIASCO:

"The congressional vote itself, authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq, was anticlimactic. When the House debate began there was just one reporter in the press gallery. At their most intense points, the debates in both the House and the Senate attracted fewer than 10% of each body's members. 'The outcome - lopsided support for Bush's resolution - was preordained,' wrote Dana Milbank. Republicans were going to support the president and their party, and Democrats wanted to move on to other issues that would help them more in the midterm elections which at that point were three weeks away."

No vote is supposed to be meaningless, and I couldn't agree more that legislators have a constitutional responsibility to make every vote count. But the language of the resolution was not designed to offer a clear path to military confrontation (let alone "success"); it was rigged to create the basis for a political attack on anyone who voted against it.

The resolution was to authorize the President to "use the armed forces of the United States as he determines necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the US against the continuing threat posed by Iraq." Sounds more like a vote of confidence in the President than a vote in favor of war. And at that point the Administration had already turned up the rhetoric, positioned the armed forces, drawn up the invasion plans, etc. War was inevitable, and voting against it was, for many congressmyn in tight races, political suicide. "Getting rid of them for abdicating their constitutional responsibility" ignores this reality.

I'm not even sure what "getting rid of them" means. Should we have a truth commission, like in post-apartheid South Africa? A panel, comprised only of legislators who voted against the resolution, would grill the congressmyn who voted for it, and if they don't show appropriate regret, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!

1:29 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"I'm not even sure what "getting rid of them" means. Should we have a truth commission, like in post-apartheid South Africa? A panel, comprised only of legislators who voted against the resolution, would grill the congressmyn who voted for it, and if they don't show appropriate regret, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!"

That sounds good to me, but I don't see how we would get it past Steny Hoyer.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Just to clarify, the reason I want to get rid of them is
because they were wrong, not because they abdicated
their constitutional responsibilty. We choose
and pay them to make tough decisions and make them correctly.

It is important to remember that the resolution used
Al-Qaeda, anti-US terrorism, and 9/11 to justify
military action against Iraq. Informed people should
have known, at the time, that the resolution was deceptive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_Iraq_Resolution_of_2002

8:21 AM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

Tim,

Thanks for the clarification of what your position is. Perhaps you can further clarify what you mean by "get rid of them" - actually kick them out of Congress, or just politically ostracize them? - and what good you think this will do for the situation in Iraq.

I don't think the message sent by the voters in the November elections was, "Congress, get us out of Iraq." It was, "Congress, hold the Administration accountable, and force them to devise clear objectives and strategy." And I don't see how getting rid of those who voted for the resolution will do either the former or the latter.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

People who have made bad decisions in the past are likely to make bad decisions in the future. Therefore, removing from power those who supported war will increase the chance that future decisions will be made wisely.

9:21 AM  

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