can’t see the forest

Don’t Question the Decider…In Fact, Why Bother With Elections, America?

Posted in Congress, iraq, News, News and politics, USA by Curtis on 2/5/07

While it isn’t in my opinion likely that the resolution would have reached any new heights in terms of establishing executive accountability, it should nonetheless come off as an affront to American voters that the Senate has said “thumbs down” to a bipartisan resolution aimed at halting President Bush’s advance of 21,500 additional US troops to Baghdad.

BBC News reports:

A resolution opposing President George W. Bush’s decision to send extra troops to Iraq has failed to advance in the US Senate, dealing a blow to war critics.

The measure needed 60 votes before the 100-member Senate could begin debate, but it got 49, with 47 voting against.

Although non-binding, it was the first serious effort in Congress to confront the White House over the war in Iraq.

Since the US-led invasion in 2003, more than 3,000 troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed.

N. B. a couple of points in wording. Firstly, it seems to me that the resolution’s failure has dealt much more of a blow to US troops and to the Iraqi people than to ‘war critics.’ Second, by most estimates, the number of Iraqis who have succumbed in the wake of the US-led invasion of Iraq entails enough tens of thousands to qualify for the hundred-thousands place.

A somewhat more scathing reprimand was issued by The Independent:

Republicans in the Senate blocked not only a vote, but even a debate, last night on the bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush’s troop “surge” in Iraq – dealing a big blow to critics of the war, and defying the will of the electorate as expressed in last November’s mid-term Congressional elections.

In the crucial procedural vote, the Democratic-driven proposal mustered a majority of 49 votes to 47, but far short of the 60 required to end a filibuster and bring the resolution to the Senate floor. The measure was non-binding and Mr. Bush had made clear he would ignore it. But its passage would have been a clear and humiliating repudiation of his policy.

Enough with all the blow-dealing, okay? At least The Independent acknowledged Congress’ failure to perform to the expectations of much of its electorate, and also noted Bush’s determination to refuse to consider the opinion of the US Congress, the most immediate representation allotted to citizens of the Republic in matters of governance. “And lo, I am the Decider,” spoke the Lord.

The problems with expecting meaningful policy change on Iraq out of a Congressional reversal of fortune are at least these: that the situation in Iraq and throughout the greater Middle East has already progressed much further down the rabbit hole than can be addressed through conventional channels, and that the executive branch of US government is able to exert near-absolute power over military resources and initiatives.

These events should only strengthen the sense of responsibility among dissenting citizens. This war, this horrible and criminal massacre of human beings and their sovereignty, will not be brought to an end in the legislation chamber.


2 Responses

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  1. Monte said, on 2/6/07 at 3:14 pm

    As in every great issue of American history, elected officials have failed to lead, and will continue to do so until dragged kicking and screaming into it – and then claim to be trend-setters. So it was with Vietnam, so with civil rights. Your sentence “These events should only strengthen the sense of responsibility among dissenting citizens” was stirring and encouraging to me. Yesterday, I reluctantly responded to a letter to the editor in my local newspaper that harangued me for insisting that many Gitmo inmates were not captured on the battlefield. I’m glad now that I did.

  2. Curtis said, on 2/7/07 at 6:29 am

    I’m glad that you did, too. It’s that kind of activism, not grandiose words and gestures, that we need in this country and to which we owe, IMHO, the people of many others.

    Also, you’re exactly right–popular opinion outside the ballot box tends to enact just about anything meaningful in our government, but we never get the credit, do we?

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