Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 12, 2007
WAR: LA Times Slams Democrat Efforts to "Micromanage" War

The LA Times Editorial Board is not where you would look for support for a Republican Administration in a debate about war, unless the answer is so screamingly obvious that the newspaper doesn't want to lose credibility even with liberal readers by siding with the Democrats.

Guess what?

This morning's LAT carries a remarkable editorial entitled, "Do we really need a Gen. Pelosi?" that criticizes the House Democrats' latest effort to hamstring the war effort in Iraq without openly taking responsibility for demanding retreat:

AFTER WEEKS OF internal strife, House Democrats have brought forth their proposal for forcing President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by 2008. The plan is an unruly mess: bad public policy, bad precedent and bad politics. If the legislation passes, Bush says he'll veto it, as well he should.

It was one thing for the House to pass a nonbinding vote of disapproval. It's quite another for it to set out a detailed timetable with specific benchmarks and conditions for the continuation of the conflict. Imagine if Dwight Eisenhower had been forced to adhere to a congressional war plan in scheduling the Normandy landings or if, in 1863, President Lincoln had been forced by Congress to conclude the Civil War the following year. This is the worst kind of congressional meddling in military strategy.

As the LAT points out, Congress has the power to stop the war - but only if it really means it and is willing to take responsibility for doing so:

If a majority in Congress truly believes that the war is not in the national interest, then lawmakers should have the courage of their convictions and vote to stop funding U.S. involvement. They could cut the final checks in six months or so to give Bush time to manage the withdrawal. Or lawmakers could, as some Senate Democrats are proposing, revoke the authority that Congress gave Bush in 2002 to use force against Iraq.

But if Congress accepts Bush's argument that there is still hope, however faint, that the U.S. military can be effective in quelling the sectarian violence, that U.S. economic aid can yet bring about an improvement in Iraqi lives that won't be bombed away and that American diplomatic power can be harnessed to pressure Shiites and Sunnis to make peace — if Congress accepts this, then lawmakers have a duty to let the president try this "surge and leverage" strategy.

Amen to that. Of course, the editorial contains the usual nods to criticism of Bush, Rumsfeld, et al, but at the end of the day, the LAT hears the sawing and isn't especially willing to stay out on the limb Nancy Pelosi is on. Looks like her modified, limited slow bleed is losing her troops in the media.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:08 PM | War 2007-14 | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)

I agree. The Democratic members of Congress should vote to defund the War and revoke Bush's authority to continue its prosecution. It's what they were elected to do, and they're failing in their duty.

Posted by: Mike at March 13, 2007 7:00 AM

I think the problem is that we need implementation of a plan, and whatever the plan is, it has to be implemented by Bush. Which means, of course, it will be a failure. There is no good solution for the Democrats so long as Bush is president. I knew that when I voted. What I voted for was oversight, and at least we're getting that.

Posted by: AstroFan at March 13, 2007 8:51 AM

We are? What oversight? Bush wants more troops, he gets them. Bush wants more money, he gets it. Bush won't allow any bill that removes his "right" to attack Iran if he wants, and the Dems cave.

I'm seeing nothing from the Dems. NOTHING.

Posted by: Mike at March 13, 2007 9:19 AM

Its dangerous IMO, of dubious constitutionality at best, and Mike's right. If Dems want to end the war they should stand up, be counted and revoke the AUMF.

The president is CIC and that should be left alone. You can't fight wars by committee and we shouldn't undermine future presidents' ability to act to defend the US - no matter what people think of GWB.

Posted by: Dwilkers at March 13, 2007 9:19 AM

Actually Mike, re your 9:19, I think the Dems winning the election, the surge, the ISG, Petraeous being confirmed unanimously, all pretty much indicate a response to opposition - and political accountability.

Posted by: Dwilkers at March 13, 2007 9:22 AM

I'm sorry, Dwilkers, I'm not following you. (Not saying I disagree, just that I'm not sure what your asserting.)

Posted by: Mike at March 13, 2007 9:24 AM

I'm saying you have accountability.

Bush is clearly responding to the perception of the public that the war isn't going the way they wish. Dems were voted into office. You have a change of strategy. Heck Rumsfeld got fired.

Its not pulling out, or an end to the war, and I think I understand how strongly you feel we should be out of there (;-)) but there is action, change, response, hence a sort of oversight.

Posted by: Dwilkers at March 13, 2007 10:46 AM

I see what you mean.

Posted by: Mike at March 13, 2007 2:26 PM


At least the war would actually be under some management for a change. Bush is asleep (or drunk) at the switch.

Posted by: Redrum at March 14, 2007 8:53 AM

According to Fareed Zakaria on This Week, administration offials privately concede that the Democrats' threats are having a positive impact with the Iraqi administration. The administration can say, with credibility, that if the Iraqis don't get their act together, the Democrats are going to pick up more public support and will gain enough popular support to defund the war and force a withdrawl.

Posted by: WD at March 14, 2007 9:52 AM

Watching the Left scramble to take credit for victory will be most amusing. I see it's already begun. Hahaha.

Posted by: andrew at March 14, 2007 1:11 PM

The Dems-"We support the troops, right up to the moment where we cut them off at the knees."

Posted by: John Salmon at March 15, 2007 10:20 AM

Cut them off at the knees, like not giving them proper armor or medical care for the wounded? Oh wait, that was the Republican administration.

Posted by: AstroFan at March 16, 2007 10:56 AM
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