Monday, February 5, 2007

Hostages in Iraq

Apparently, Senate Democrats and Republicans are fighting back and forth about how to word (or whether to pass) their non-binding resolution saying... something vague. It certainly doesn't say that we should bring the Iraq "war" to an end. It doesn't even say that we should reduce troop levels, or perhaps shift our priorities back to Afghanistan. I think it's supposed to say something about how a troop increase would be vaguely "inconsistent with" something good, with enough subclauses and exceptions to render even that meaningless.

Still, for all of its milquetoast wishy-washiness, Republicans are convinced that it would be bad form for Congress to say anything unpleasant about anything that the Bush administration wants to do. Never mind that Bush, Cheney, and everybody on the White House payroll has stated again and again that they intend to ignore any Congressional resolutions purporting to limit their freedom of action, binding or non-binding; and wouldn't that make for a constitutional crisis of epic proportions!

The strong argument, which even many Democrats have fallen prey to, is that any attempt to limit, cut or otherwise put any kind of restrictions on the free flow of cash from Washington to Baghdad to Cheney's stock portfolio, would be equivalent to leaving our brave soldiers stranded in a foreign land without supplies or equipment. The reason that such a connection seems so plausible to so many reveals the true crisis that we should be talking about: it is clear the Bush & co. would gladly maintain or even increase troop levels in Iraq even if the funding did not exist to support their activities. Everyone, both Republicans and Democrats, know that any "power of the purse" action to curtail Iraqi funding could not be guaranteed to lead to a drawdown. Bush might just as likely leave our soldiers out there, starving and undersupplied, while pointing his bony finger at Congress all the while and blaming them for creating the situation.

In other words, our troops in Iraq are being held hostage.

We are forced to pay, year after year, billions upon billions of dollars to maintain them, "or else." Or else they'll start dying in far greater numbers. Or else they'll be cut off and starving. This administration will never willingly return them to us because they are the best bargaining chip they could hope to have. If our troops came home, the money flow would naturally stop. But as long as they're kept in harm's way, we are forced to keep paying.

This is, of course, all a big construct of big lies. What we in general, and Congress in particular need to realize, is we do have the power to stop him. The very fact that they repeat at every opportunity that we don't is the most telling point: as long as we believe them, they're right. Congress can easily put a stop to this, inject some common sense, and resolve this hostage situation by bringing our soldiers home.

They just have to realize that they have this power and exercise it..

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