Thursday, January 11, 2007

It's not a game, George

President Bush went on television last night to explain his "new way forward" to America. But his "new way" is strangely similar to the "old way." We stay in Iraq for the conceivable future, and more troops are sent into the line of fire.

See, if you're an Iraqi insurgent, then this "new way forward" is just leading you into a "target-rich environment."

You know, it's strange. Bush feels that he can ignore the American people, 64% of whom disagree with his handling of the war. He feels that he can ignore the military (a traditionally hawkish bunch): in a Military Times poll of active-duty servicepeople, a majority of the troops who responded disapproved of how Bush is handling Iraq.

It was just last month that George W. Bush said "it's important to trust the judgment of the military when they're making military plans… I'm a strict adherer to the command structure." But now, with his plan to put more troops into Iraq, he's even ignoring the advice of his generals.

But this is nothing new. Bush doesn't feel that he needs to consult Congress when he attacks somebody. He's proven this twice in the last week, both in Somalia and with the troops he's planning on deploying into Iraq. He doesn't act like a military commander - he's more like a kid with an army of plastic soldiers - you can almost see him pushing them around the carpet of the Oval Office, making "blam… rat-a-tat-tat" noises.

He's proven over and over that nobody in the Bush White House is a constitutional scholar. I'm not sure that anybody working at 1600 Pennsylvania Boulevard has ever actually read that document. Because the Constitution is pretty clear on the subject.

Way back in 1781, having just broken away from a King, the Constitutional Congress didn't support the idea that one person could unilaterally declare war on another country. The President may be Commander-in-Chief of the military, but if you actually look at the document they created, you find out that in Article 1, Section 8, it says that
"The Congress shall have Power...
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress..."
But Bush isn't just ignoring the will of the people and the law. He's ignoring common sense. General Petraeus, who Bush just placed in charge of the forces in Iraq, drew up a strategy to defeat the insurgents in that country. Unfortunately, according to that report, the best ratio of troops to population, in a counter-insurgency operation like this one, is 20 per 1,000 civilians. But since Iraq has a population of 26 million people, that would mean that the United States would need to add at least 250,000 troops to the current 140,000 military personnel already in Iraq.

It's been a few years since I took a math class, but that seems like a few more than the twenty thousand troops Bush wants to send.

In fact, as Terry Jones (the ex-Monty Python member) pointed out, America has spent one million dollars per dead Iraqi. Strangely enough, it might have been more cost-effective to actually drop bales of money from planes to squash the insurgents.

But Congress has the power. Unlike what the nay-sayers want you to believe, Teddy Kennedy is correct. Congress has every right to tell Bush how to spend the money that they give him. In fact, they've done it over and over again.

It's time for Congress to start treating Bush like a two-year-old. If he won't pay attention to the rules, they need to take his toys away.

1 comment:

Steve Jones said...


I stumbled in here from "Bark of the Moonbat", and have no idea how I ended up there. Ah! From "Crooks and Liars" (thank you, back button). I read most of your recent entries, and went back and read your inaugural post. I like your writing. It's good stuff. You mention a lot of my favorites, too - Terry Jones, Keith Olbermann, Seymour Hersh, the authors of the Constitution, George Orwell, etc. Even Jesus. I'm no Christian, but I'm no atheist either. Agnostic is the word I use if pressed. I do admire the red words in my Jamie Rex.

You hit a lot of the same notes I used to hit in my late lamented blog, "Not In My America". I commenced it on 23 March 2003 and used it to trace down the motives and methods that led us to invade and occupy Iraq. I learned a lot, but didn't pick up much of an audience - my "comments" links looked like yours do.

I quit on 12/31 - dumped my Blogger account and haven't missed it, except for about three times a day. Reading the news stimulates the need to crank out another rant or gin-soaked screed, depending on the time of day. Maybe there's a 12-step program for bloggers - "My name's Steve and it's been 23 days since my last post".

Your post on 17 December last year struck a note. I'm a biologist by training, and have read numerous articles explaining individual examples of Eee-evil-ution. I even have specimens of examples of the process among the genera Cylindropuntia and Agave growing in pots in front of my house. (I cut my teeth on the work of my major professor at the University of Arkansas, Ed Smith, on Coreopsis nuecensis)

The Great Debate is not about process - or at this point shouldn't be. The Great Debate is about origin, and, as you note, cannot be solved, absent access to a time machine. The process is clear. The origin is not, and never will be. So be it.

I want to introduce you to one of the people who influenced me greatly along this line, Stephen Jay Gould, and his concept of nonoverlapping magisteria.

And since you brought your family into the discussion, I'll bring mine into it. My father is gone, but you can read his self-penned obituary here. (Part of it was published in Chapter 28 of Kinky Friedman's "The Mile High Club"). He was quite the contrarian, as you can see, but it is my sister who is the fundamentalist Republican. So much for "nature versus nuture". Though with this limited sample, there's not much of value to be derived.

But know that I, too, was a lifelong Republican until April of this year. I wasn't able to make the complete leap to the Democrats - maybe later. For now, I am happy to be a PND - party not declared, in the lexicon of the Maricopa County elections department. Damned if I can remain in the party of my fellow ex-Midlander, GWB.

Thank you for your 21 years in the Big Blue Machine.

I gave up my military career very early. I attended Missouri Military Academy (as a volunteer!) in my high school freshman year - 1969-70. I quit at the end of the year when my history professor came into class on 5 May 1970 with a copy of the New York Times. He showed us the headline and slammed the paper on his desk, declaring "Now we're shooting us."

We muddle on. I'm glad I stumbled upon your weblog. I'll check back from time to time.

Steve Jones
Scottsdale, AZ
sjones at igc dot org