Saturday, September 08, 2007

Dick Durbin Says No Money

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) voted against the 2002 authorization for war but he has since voted for the emergency funding bills. Congress is gearing up for the Petraeus/Crocker testimony and the White House signaled request for an additional $40 billion. Durbin yesterday stated that he would not vote for further funding of the war unless it is tied to a withdrawal plan.

He has said that he will not use his position to lobby for his stance, “Each person has to come to grips with this individually,” but he has met with several members who hold the same view. After his recent return from his third trip to Iraq Durbin told the audience at The Center for National Policy that Congress faces a "moral obligation" to end the war.

"More than on either of my earlier visits, I feel overwhelmed by the tragedy we have created—for Iraq, for its neighbors, for America’s image around the world, and for our troops,” Durbin said.
“I used to think this war was our worst foreign policy mistake in a generation. Now I think it is our worst foreign policy mistake ever,” he added.

He indicated that he would consider voting for the Defense appropriations bills but will not support the annual supplementals that are the major funding device for the Iraq war. Republican filibusters and vetoes will not change his position. (Chicago Trib)

This seems to be about the most we're going to get, there are obvious alternatives, like passing the Defense appropriations bill with strings and letting Bush veto it until he runs out of money. In point of fact they could easily do the same with the entire Executive branch starting with White House funding, yes, his "home." If the Congress proposes to push against power, they had best bring their own and be ready to exercise it. They already made the mistake of "bringing a knife to a gun fight" last time around and looked like, well, pretty much what they were. Unprepared and Unwilling.

The Democrats and a few Republicans in Congress must decide exactly what it is they wish to accomplish. Once they've decided that they need to buck up and get to it. This business of taking partial measures with little resolve will not accomplish anything in the face of the Executive branch power and Bush stubbornness. Bush is perfectly aware of how the situation stands, it does not take a real sharp fellow to see it, the question is why Congress didn't.

1 comment:

t.a. said...

thanks for this, Chuck; i would not have seen it otherwise. to me, the important part is knowing how much Obama looks up to Durbin (although he's voted against funding). now that Dick & Barack are on the same page, i think that'll be a great start. it's great to see Durbin doing the right thing.