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George Bush and Congress

Mr.Conley

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http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=E1_RJNRJJD
The Economist said:
IF OPPOSITION really were true friendship, as the poet William Blake averred, then George Bush would be a very popular man. Last week the House of Representatives in effect refused to give the president the money he needs to conduct his “surge” in Iraq by attaching to his request for a supplementary allocation of $124 billion the condition that all American troops be out of Iraq 17 months from now. Now the Senate looks close to demanding that the troops leave within a year (see article). The two versions must be harmonised before they reach the president's desk (and his veto); but the Democrats' manoeuvres amount to the most powerful assault on the president's power to wage war since the Case-Church amendment prohibited all further engagement in Vietnam in 1973. The Iraq war has truly reached Pennsylvania Avenue.

Nor is it the only battle being waged there. The Democrats are seeking to subpoena Mr Bush's closest aide, Karl Rove, to face a grilling over allegations that he masterminded the sacking of eight government prosecutors for political reasons. They are also hell-bent on forcing the resignation of another close ally, the attorney-general, Alberto Gonzales, over the same issue. Besides all that, they have laid down a long list of conditions before they will consider either approving four free-trade deals already in the pipeline or renewing the president's “fast-track” authority to get such bills approved, which expires at the end of June. The noble talk last November by both Mr Bush and the new speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, of a new era of bipartisan co-operation has given way to peevishness, muscle-flexing and political violence.

Many people will rejoice at the sight of a besieged White House and Mr Bush and Dick Cheney ducking for cover. But regardless of what you think about this most inept of presidencies, the current civil war in Washington has the making of a tragedy—both for America and for millions of people around the globe. For example, the Doha trade round, with which so many Democrats are keen to play politics, could lift millions of the world's most wretched inhabitants out of poverty. At home, there is a huge amount president and Congress could and should collaborate on, from immigration reform to the care of the elderly. For such huge gains to be sacrificed, voters will surely demand good reasons.

Carry on overseeing, Congress
There are in fact two big issues behind most of the politicking: executive privilege and Iraq. On the matter of the White House's powers, Mr Rove, Mr Gonzales and the prosecutors, it is possible to have sympathy for the Democrats' position. Mr Gonzales is a worthy target for political skirmishers: had he an ounce of integrity, he would have resigned long ago for his role in commissioning a memorandum that amounted to a legal defence of torture. And the treatment of the prosecutors is certainly worth fighting over. Though it is true that government prosecutors “serve at the pleasure of the president”, there is evidence that at least some of those fired were excellent public servants who were removed because they refused to submit to improper pressure in political cases.

This is exactly the sort of thing that Congress is supposed to keep an eye on. It was, more than anything, the failure of the previous Republican Congress to hold the executive to account that most merited its ejection by the voters last year. Mr Bush and particularly Mr Cheney have used their time in office to expand presidential authority relentlessly. The president is co-operating only minimally, and grudgingly, with the investigation. He has no one to blame but himself if Congress is now minded to push back.

But hands off Iraq
The battle over Iraq, though, is much more serious. And it looks very much as though the Democrats have over-reached themselves. Even from a short-term political perspective, their logic seems questionable. Yes, Ms Pelosi has at her back a large group of strongly anti-war congressmen; and, yes, the war is deeply unpopular. But, by cutting off money, the Democrats lay themselves open to the charge that they are damaging the morale and perhaps even the capabilities of troops in the field. It seems particularly perverse to be doing this only two months after the Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment to the command of American forces in Iraq of General David Petraeus, an impressive officer who believes that the surge is showing signs of working. This contradiction will surely be used against the Democrats by their opponents.

But the domestic American politics of a withdrawal date are—or should be—a secondary issue. The only question that should count is this: does a deadline make sense? The desire to impose an end to America's involvement in Iraq, so costly in blood and treasure, is understandable. The Democrats fear a “war without end”, because they think that Mr Bush is incapable of ever acknowledging that his strategy has failed and bringing his defeated troops home. They also believe that a deadline could have the advantage of forcing the predominantly Shia Iraqi government into much greater efforts, both in beefing up its own security capabilities and in reaching out to the alienated and dangerous Sunni minority.

Both of these arguments have some merit. But the first of them ignores the possibility, which it is too early to discount, that the surge strategy may actually start to show results, enabling Mr Bush to begin a withdrawal in his own time from a position of relative advantage. And the second is a gamble. Announcing a deadline may very well concentrate minds in Baghdad. But it could just encourage the Shias to step up their onslaught on the Sunni insurgents—and on Sunnis in general.

Sooner or later, America will leave Iraq. But it is essential that it leaves in the right way. If Mr Bush is seen to be forced out by politics at home, America's ability to influence events both inside Iraq and in the wider region will be greatly undermined. That could lead to a dreadful outcome in Iraq, make Iran bolder in pursuit of its nuclear ambitions and delight anti-Americans everywhere. If the Democrats are wise, they will not want that on their record.
 

Annie

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Mr Conley, I agree with the gist of time will tell article. I do wonder though, will Jasen & Co. try to slime you for 'cut & paste'? I won't, as I can read. I'll even 'bold' what I think worthy of consideration:

Originally Posted by The Economist
IF OPPOSITION really were true friendship, as the poet William Blake averred, then George Bush would be a very popular man. Last week the House of Representatives in effect refused to give the president the money he needs to conduct his “surge” in Iraq by attaching to his request for a supplementary allocation of $124 billion the condition that all American troops be out of Iraq 17 months from now. Now the Senate looks close to demanding that the troops leave within a year (see article). The two versions must be harmonised before they reach the president's desk (and his veto); but the Democrats' manoeuvres amount to the most powerful assault on the president's power to wage war since the Case-Church amendment prohibited all further engagement in Vietnam in 1973. The Iraq war has truly reached Pennsylvania Avenue.

Nor is it the only battle being waged there. The Democrats are seeking to subpoena Mr Bush's closest aide, Karl Rove, to face a grilling over allegations that he masterminded the sacking of eight government prosecutors for political reasons. They are also hell-bent on forcing the resignation of another close ally, the attorney-general, Alberto Gonzales, over the same issue. Besides all that, they have laid down a long list of conditions before they will consider either approving four free-trade deals already in the pipeline or renewing the president's “fast-track” authority to get such bills approved, which expires at the end of June. The noble talk last November by both Mr Bush and the new speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, of a new era of bipartisan co-operation has given way to peevishness, muscle-flexing and political violence.

Many people will rejoice at the sight of a besieged White House and Mr Bush and Dick Cheney ducking for cover. But regardless of what you think about this most inept of presidencies, the current civil war in Washington has the making of a tragedy—both for America and for millions of people around the globe. For example, the Doha trade round, with which so many Democrats are keen to play politics, could lift millions of the world's most wretched inhabitants out of poverty. At home, there is a huge amount president and Congress could and should collaborate on, from immigration reform to the care of the elderly. For such huge gains to be sacrificed, voters will surely demand good reasons.

Carry on overseeing, Congress
There are in fact two big issues behind most of the politicking: executive privilege and Iraq. On the matter of the White House's powers, Mr Rove, Mr Gonzales and the prosecutors, it is possible to have sympathy for the Democrats' position. Mr Gonzales is a worthy target for political skirmishers: had he an ounce of integrity, he would have resigned long ago for his role in commissioning a memorandum that amounted to a legal defence of torture. And the treatment of the prosecutors is certainly worth fighting over. Though it is true that government prosecutors “serve at the pleasure of the president”, there is evidence that at least some of those fired were excellent public servants who were removed because they refused to submit to improper pressure in political cases.

This is exactly the sort of thing that Congress is supposed to keep an eye on. It was, more than anything, the failure of the previous Republican Congress to hold the executive to account that most merited its ejection by the voters last year. One of the issues, surely. The current idea that a timeline/pullout is what was the 'mandate' is wishful thinking on Reid's/Pelosi's takes, IMO. The citizen's did want a different strategy and they've gotten it.Mr Bush and particularly Mr Cheney have used their time in office to expand presidential authority relentlessly. The president is co-operating only minimally, and grudgingly, with the investigation. He has no one to blame but himself if Congress is now minded to push back.

But hands off Iraq
The battle over Iraq, though, is much more serious. And it looks very much as though the Democrats have over-reached themselves. Even from a short-term political perspective, their logic seems questionable. Yes, Ms Pelosi has at her back a large group of strongly anti-war congressmen; and, yes, the war is deeply unpopular. But, by cutting off money, the Democrats lay themselves open to the charge that they are damaging the morale and perhaps even the capabilities of troops in the field. It seems particularly perverse to be doing this only two months after the Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment to the command of American forces in Iraq of General David Petraeus, an impressive officer who believes that the surge is showing signs of working. This contradiction will surely be used against the Democrats by their opponents.

But the domestic American politics of a withdrawal date are—or should be—a secondary issue. The only question that should count is this: does a deadline make sense?
The desire to impose an end to America's involvement in Iraq, so costly in blood and treasure, is understandable. The Democrats fear a “war without end”, because they think that Mr Bush is incapable of ever acknowledging that his strategy has failed and bringing his defeated troops home. They also believe that a deadline could have the advantage of forcing the predominantly Shia Iraqi government into much greater efforts, both in beefing up its own security capabilities and in reaching out to the alienated and dangerous Sunni minority.

Both of these arguments have some merit. But the first of them ignores the possibility, which it is too early to discount, that the surge strategy may actually start to show results, enabling Mr Bush to begin a withdrawal in his own time from a position of relative advantage. And the second is a gamble. Announcing a deadline may very well concentrate minds in Baghdad. But it could just encourage the Shias to step up their onslaught on the Sunni insurgents—and on Sunnis in general.

Sooner or later, America will leave Iraq. But it is essential that it leaves in the right way. If Mr Bush is seen to be forced out by politics at home, America's ability to influence events both inside Iraq and in the wider region will be greatly undermined. That could lead to a dreadful outcome in Iraq, make Iran bolder in pursuit of its nuclear ambitions and delight anti-Americans everywhere. If the Democrats are wise, they will not want that on their record.
 

maineman

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to say that the "surge" is a "different strategy" is to misunderstand the meaning of the word "strategy". The surge amounts to nothing more than a minor adjustment in TACTICS with an increased number of Americans in harm's way. America sure as hell did not vote in November for something so close to the existing "strategy" as that.
 

Annie

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to say that the "surge" is a "different strategy" is to misunderstand the meaning of the word "strategy". The surge amounts to nothing more than a minor adjustment in TACTICS with an increased number of Americans in harm's way. America sure as hell did not vote in November for something so close to the existing "strategy" as that.

Again, I know when to defer. But I must say that I thought the surge was strategy, in the sense of concentrating troop strength in the troubled spots. The overall tactics I thought addressed, by the making clear that while serious malfeasance would not be acceptable, those 'questionable' by such things as Koran tossing, etc., would not be the stuff of court martials.
 

maineman

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I know your heart is in the right place, kathianne.... we can differ on semantics....
 
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M

Mr.Conley

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Mr Conley, I agree with the gist of time will tell article. I do wonder though, will Jasen & Co. try to slime you for 'cut & paste'? I won't, as I can read. I'll even 'bold' what I think worthy of consideration:

Is there some sort of rule prohibiting posting of articles for general consumption? If so, I was not aware of it. Until now I have been more interested in the response to the article, not my comments upon it, hence the lack thereof. However, if need be, I will gladly bold particular items and/or include my own POV.
 

Annie

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Is there some sort of rule prohibiting posting of articles for general consumption? If so, I was not aware of it. Until now I have been more interested in the response to the article, not my comments upon it, hence the lack thereof. However, if need be, I will gladly bold particular items and/or include my own POV.

I thought not, but seems some posters thought different. Seems Jasen has thrown me in to 'cut and paste', no matter how I highlight or comments I add. Now you come from a slightly different perspective, wonder if the standards still hold?
 

Edward

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to say that the "surge" is a "different strategy" is to misunderstand the meaning of the word "strategy". The surge amounts to nothing more than a minor adjustment in TACTICS with an increased number of Americans in harm's way. America sure as hell did not vote in November for something so close to the existing "strategy" as that.

Ironically the surge included members of the National Guard and the Constitution does not give the President the authority to call up the National Guard, or to extend their service. The Constitution states that Congress shall "provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions" and "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;" The President doesn't get to decide that he wants to send more Guardsmen to Iraq or to deploy them outside of the United States and one of the major reasons for this is that it could allow a future President to cease control of Washington, D.C. and the United States and establish a military dictatorship even before the National Guards in the various states could do anything to prevent it.

To send 20,000 additional troops to Iraq without the consent of Congress is beyond imagination as these are American citizens and they deserve to have a voice in where they will be deployed. They may not have an individual say in whether they go to Iraq or Afghanistan, Germany or any other location but they should have a say through their elected representatives to determine their deployment as units. Anything less than this is tyranny and it allows the arbitrary decision of one man to determine the lives of American servicemen and women.
 

Gunny

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Ironically the surge included members of the National Guard and the Constitution does not give the President the authority to call up the National Guard, or to extend their service. The Constitution states that Congress shall "provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions" and "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;" The President doesn't get to decide that he wants to send more Guardsmen to Iraq or to deploy them outside of the United States and one of the major reasons for this is that it could allow a future President to cease control of Washington, D.C. and the United States and establish a military dictatorship even before the National Guards in the various states could do anything to prevent it.

To send 20,000 additional troops to Iraq without the consent of Congress is beyond imagination as these are American citizens and they deserve to have a voice in where they will be deployed. They may not have an individual say in whether they go to Iraq or Afghanistan, Germany or any other location but they should have a say through their elected representatives to determine their deployment as units. Anything less than this is tyranny and it allows the arbitrary decision of one man to determine the lives of American servicemen and women.

The President has the authority to federalize and call up reserve and National Guard troops as he sees fit. Been doing it at least since the Civil War.

Obviously you are incorrect.
 

Edward

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The President has the authority to federalize and call up reserve and National Guard troops as he sees fit. Been doing it at least since the Civil War.

Obviously you are incorrect.

Obviously you are a moron who hasn't read the Constitution and who doesn't realize that it is an Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 power of the Congress which is being exercised by the President and not a Constitutional function of the President to call up the National Guard as he sees fit as he has no constitutional authority of his own to do so. There are only specific instances where the President has authority over the National Guard in respect to issuing calls to report for federal service and these have been carefully laid out by Congress as per their constitutional authority under Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 and 18.

The President doesn't get to call up National Guard troops as he sees fit and there is no constitutional or legal grounds for him to do so and you are obviously an idiot for thinking that he does. His ability to call up National Guard troops is very specific and has been granted by the Congress as required by the Constitution. The President does not have the authority to exceed what has been permitted by Congress or to call up the National Guard at will. There have been instances in our country's history where the President has exercised his legal authority (as granted by Congress) to call up the National Guard such as in a state of insurrection, where the laws of the United States were not being enforced (i.e., desegregation) or when the United States had been invaded by another nation or was in imminent danger of being invaded. Your claim that this has only occurred since the Civil War is idiotic as the President has had that authority much earlier than the Civil War and only an imbecile with no knowledge of U.S. history would make this claim.

Now as to your claim that the President has the authority to call up the Guard as he sees fit. Under the U.S. Code members of the:

"Army National Guard of the United States and the Air National Guard of the United States are not in active Federal service except when ordered thereto under law."

This means that the President has no authority over them as per Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 which states, "The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States." This means that the National Guard is not under the jurisdiction of the President when they have not been called up under the laws pertaining to the National Guard.

The Constitution states that Congress shall "provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions." In some instances they have granted this authority to the President by law. In fact, there are three instances where the President may call the National Guard into federal service and these are 1) the United States, or any of the Territories, Commonwealths, or possessions, is invaded or is in danger of invasion by a foreign nation, 2) there is a rebellion or danger of a rebellion against the authority of the Government of the United States or 3) the President is unable with the regular forces to execute the laws of the United States.

These conditions do not currently exist and the United States has not been invaded and there is no imminent danger of invasion by any nation, there isn't a domestic rebellion against the Government and the President has sufficient military forces to execute the laws of this country and the laws are being enforced through normal judicial proceedings.

In the last two instance about "suppressing insurrections" and "enforcing the laws" of the United States the U.S. Code states that "whenever the President considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State or Territory by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he may call into Federal service such of the militia of any State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress the rebellion." As you can see these conditions simply are met by the Iraq war. The country of Iraq did not invade the United States, and does not pose a danger of invading the United States, is not a part of any rebellion or conspiracy against the laws of the United States. It is obvious that the President has exceeded his authority and it is obvious that you are as moronic as he is and would have done the same thing which make you of a kind.

It is obvious that any instance other than those I have listed requires consent of Congress (U.S. Const., Art. I, Sec. 8) who has not by law or by an act of Congress permitted the President to call up additional National Guard troops and to send them from their states to a foreign land to fight. As to the specific instances I mentioned the United States Code provides that the President may when "unlawful obstruction, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State or Territory by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings" "call into Federal service such of the militia of any State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress rebellion."

Presidents have done so in the past and will do so in the future but this President is violating the rights of every National Guardsmen by ordering them into service without the constitutional or legal authority to do so. They didn't sign up for the National Guard to become active duty U.S. military personnel and to be used as such but to be a part of the State Militias and to defend their states when called upon to do so.
 

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