Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bush's disingenuous veto

Bush issued the second veto of his presidency yesterday, killing a war funding bill because it has a timetable for withdrawal of troops. I happen to agree with the president that arbitrary timetables are a bad idea (and hence think the veto was probably the right decision), but I think his rationale for the veto was disingenuous for two reasons.

The first reason was that he said that it substituted the judgment of politicians for that of commanders on the ground. That simply doesn't wash for me. For one thing, of course that's what it's doing; that's precisely the point of congressional oversight, of the power of the purse. Secondly, the bill doesn't dictate any tactics or strategy or anything affecting the commanders on the ground. Why? Because none of them have the authority to initiate a withdrawal. That decision lies with...the commander-in-chief, overseen by congress. As such, it is absolutely the sort of decision that we elect politicians to make.

The second reason I think Bush's rationale was disingenuous is that he stated that any funding request for our soldiers should be given and given cleanly. I don't buy this argument, though, because it is equivalent to saying that the only acceptable check is a blank one. Blank checks are obviously a bad idea for many reasons, but they are especially in appropriate when it is so clear to everyone (except Bush himself, it seems) that something needs to change.
The timetable may be a bad idea, but putting it in the bill has a very redeeming aspect: it makes it clear that things cannot continue as they have been, that Bush must be held accountable for making progress.

I've made this suggestion before, I'll make it again: Bush should get serious about wrapping up the war so that our troops can come home for the right reasons (i.e,. stability achieved in Iraq rather than a particular date arriving). This requires political and diplomatic progress, not military, and Bush has simply not shown any progress here over the past 4 years. It may have been our fault that we messed up their country, but the situation is what it is and the Iraqis need to take control of it, and Bush needs to drive that progress.

1 comment:

Werewolfking said...

Let's face it: We invaded Iraq to keep the Iranians out. Now, we gotta prevent a Syrian Army invasion which is certain to happen if we keep failing to do our job. Please read "Hire Mercenaries" in Werewolfking's Howl blog at