29 March 2007

Shrill? Me?

When the Congressional bill funding the Iraq war on the condition of limiting its duration reaches the Decider’s desk, he swears he’ll veto it, saying that timetables for withdrawal will endanger our soldiers fighting in Iraq. He also says that by setting those timetables and thwarting his will, it will be the fault of Congress if vital funding for our boys and girls Over There is late or falls short of that needed.

In reality, all he has to do is sign the damned thing and the money will go to fund the war. If the soldiers now in Iraq go without over the next several weeks and months for lack of funding, it will be George W. Bush’s petulance and lunacy that causes it.

But I have a question. So far, I’ve read nothing that even asks it, let alone answers it. Maybe someone out there can answer it for me.

In the past, when Bush disagreed with a bill approved by both houses of Congress, he just appended a quiet little signing statement to it which said, essentially, that he doesn’t have to follow the law if he doesn’t want to, since he’s the Decider and all, and of course he knows best about these things.

He’s avoided vetoing bills he didn’t like for six years in this manner. So why all the fooferall now? Why doesn’t he just sign the bill, add his secret signing statement to it afterwards, and then ignore the law as he pleases? Given Bush’s prodigious use of signing statements, his demonstrated contempt for the people of the United States and for the rule of law, why is Congress wasting time with any of this?

Is it all just a smoke-and-mirrors exercise, taken to quiet us down? Or perhaps to distract us from noticing how Bush is getting all his ducks in a row for the next big move in the war against terror, an attack on Iran?

Most people seem to think that Bush wouldn’t actually start a war with Iran. It would be folly. We don’t have enough soldiers or materiel for a ground war there. The military is already mostly broken and medical support for those wounded in the current war is floundering badly. And the cost of this new war – on top of the huge cost of the current war in Iraq – would break America’s back.

These are the arguments – good ones, all – that I hear when I touch the scary subject of Bush’s dreams of a trumped-up war against Iran. If Bush and his cronies were sane, I’d agree. It would be a crazy, disastrous, even doomed thing to do.

But Bush and Co. aren’t sane. After six years of being allowed to do everything they wanted to do without consequences, they’re drunk with power. And now they’re facing the loss of that power as the new, Democratic congress begins to exert oversight and attempts to put the brakes on.

Starting a new war would have the effect of refocusing all attention on that and taking it off the madness of the last six years. So we don’t have enough soldiers or materiel to launch another war? No problem – Iraq is very close to Iran. Just deploy the soldiers there – pull them right out of Iraq and let the Iraqis slash each other to death if they want to. Use air power – we’ve still got a lot of that – and sea power, something that could be used against the Iranians in a way it couldn’t against the Iraqis. There are thousands of airmen and sailors out there who are sitting on their thumbs with little to do while the Army and the Marines try to fight a senseless ground war against insurgents. Get them out there fighting. And if there still aren’t enough soldiers to get the job done? Well, hell. There’s the draft. That would provide a huge influx of warm cannon fodder, wouldn’t it.

And of course, in the end, there are always those lovely nukes.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want this. I want our soldiers home, and I wish the bill the Senate is preparing to pass would make this coming June the deadline for getting them out of Iraq, not a bloody year from now. Each day means more needless deaths on both sides of the conflict. And I'm horrified at the very thought of war against Iran. But this is the form my nightmares take these days. If I'm shrill, it's because I can't help it. There is a well-established precedent for it.

So what to do? It seems to me that until both houses of Congress, with the will of the people backing them up, actually slam on the brakes and impeach this wicked moron and his cabinet – throwing them out of office and pressing criminal charges – things will continue on just as they have. America will continue to be ruled by a king, not a president. King George will do exactly what he wants to do through subterfuge and secrecy. And if he starts a new war, the America we all know and love – already badly wounded and dying the death of a thousand cuts -- will cease to exist.

Update: Seems that as I was writing this, the Senate passed the war-funding bill, complete with timelines:

"In a mostly party line 51-47 vote, the Senate signed off on a bill providing $122 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also orders Bush to begin withdrawing troops within 120 days of passage while setting a nonbinding goal of ending combat operations by March 31, 2008."

Only two Republican senators had the balls to vote for the bill. Kudos to them. We'll see what happens now. I wish I could be more hopeful.

*Thanks to the talented Heretik for permission to use his powerful graphic image.


Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

I know Bush is no genius, but surely he knows that starting a draft would be a multi-faceted nightmare. I'm strongly against it, but it's a complex philosophical position. Perhaps I'll blog about it sometime...

chautauqua said...

The whole signing statement business is incomprehensible to me. How in the world did he ever get away with it this long? I have to think that congress and a compliant press just chose not to make an issue of it.

That said, I don't think that the smirking homunculus could get away with it again what with congressional oversight breathing down his scrawny neck and the press waking up to the fact that they are rapidly losing credibility and market share to the online world.

I hope.

Blue Wren said...

BSUWG: The draft WOULD be a nightmare. But I think if he actually launches a war against Iran, America will be in some very, very serious trouble. So much, in fact, that a draft might be something we have no choice about, whatever our opinions or philosophies about it. I hope we're wrong. But Bush does still have the power to start a war "against terror" wherever he wants to, thanks to the carte blanche Congress gave him in '03. And I honestly think he's at junkyard-dog stage -- cornered and desperate. I really, really want to be wrong.

Chautauqua: I hope we can stop Bush before he does something disastrous in Iran, too. But he "surged" the troops all on his lonesome, without any "yea" or "nay" from congress or the people -- it was already underway when he announced it. He really doesn't care what we think, or what we want. That's why I wish Congress would stop playing around with symbolic resolutions and bills that have no teeth to them and simply get to the grim business of impeaching Bush and his gang of criminals now, before they can do more harm.

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

I think the main problem here is that the country is run by old white men. Yet, the ones who have to do all the dying are young people (as young as 18). Many of these younger people couldn't give a flying f*ck less about Iran or any policy problems Washington has with that country. So, I think there'd be a huge resistance to any kind of forced conscription -- much more large-scale resistence than was ever seen before. And, frankly, the young ones are right. There's nothing admirable, noble, honorable, Christian, or otherwise morally correct about going to Iran to die. It's just a waste of human life.