By Rowan Wolf of Uncommon Thought Journal
The corporate media has been bad mouthing the “non-binding” agreements being put forward in the House and the Senate against Bush’s sending of over 20,000 new troops to Iraq. However, I do not feel that the non-binding agreements are necessarily either “worthless” or “pointless.”
One way to interpret these motions being put forward by various committees and legislators is that they are an attempt to not escalate a conflict with the White House. Instead, they are an effort to send a message to Bush and Cheney that they do not have Congressional support to continue on their strategy in Iraq. Up till the current time, Bush has had a green light and a greased slope for whatever the administration has wanted to do. Now, the message is being sent that not only Democrats, but Republicans, are not willing to continue to support the disastrous strategy in Iraq.
However, it seems that the Administration either is not listening – or just doesn’t care. In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN on January 24, 2007, Blitzer asked Cheney about the growing resistance in the Congress to the Administration’s strategy in Iraq. Below is the quote from the transcript.
BLITZER: What if the Senate passes a resolution saying, This is not good idea? Will that stop you?
CHENEY: It won’t stop us. And it would be, I think, detrimental from the standpoint of the troops. As General Petraeus said yesterday — he was asked by Joe Lieberman, among others, in his testimony about this notion that somehow the Senate could vote overwhelmingly for him, send him on his new assignment and then pass a resolution at the same time, say, “But we don’t agree with the mission you’ve been given.”
BLITZER: You’re moving forward, no matter what the Congress does.
CHENEY: We are moving forward. We are moving forward. The Congress has control over the purse strings. They have the right, obviously, if they want, to cut off funding. But, in terms of this effort, the president’s made his decision. We’ve consulted extensively with them. We’ll continue to consult with the Congress. But the fact of the matter is, we need to get the job done. I think General Petraeus can do it. I think our troops can do it. And I think it’s far too soon for the talking heads on television to conclude that it’s impossible to do, it’s not going to work, it can’t possibly succeed.
[The transcript is available from a CNN article Cheney: Talk of blunders in Iraq is ‘hogwash’. The video clip of the actual exchange is also available from this link under the link text “(Watch Cheney warn against ‘walking away’ from Iraq Video)”]
So Congress tries to send a warning, and before the warning is sent, the message back is “You can’t stop us, and you will have to cut funding if you want to stop us.” Cheney knows full well that the Congress is reluctant to take that step because the political hay would be that they are putting the troops at risk. However, Cheney is also making clear that the administration won’t stop as long as they have the money to continue.
In Bush’s State of the Union Address he stated:
Many in this chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq, because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far reaching.
If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by Al Qaida and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country. And, in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.
For America, this is a nightmare scenario.
For the enemy, this is the objective.
Chaos is the greatest ally — their greatest ally — in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America.
What he does not say is that the nightmare scenario we face is exactly the one that was predicted our invasion of Iraq would set off.
The argument now is that we must exert all our force to keep the entire region from plunging into “chaos.” However, our continued occupation of Iraq, our refusal to talk with either Iran or Syria, and our refusal or inability to pursue any kind of a diplomatic or political solution, virtually ensures the nightmare Bush now predicts. To further exacerbate the situation, the Administration is hell bent on provoking Iran. Since both China and Russia have strong ties to Iran, and Russia is purportedly supplying missiles to Iran, the situation could indeed become a “nightmare.” That “nightmare” could see the Middle East, Southern Asia, China, Russia, and the US deeply embroiled in a rapidly expanding war.
By this time it is clear to most people that continued pursuit of a military solution in Iraq has a high likelihood of resulting in increased hostilities. Further, the US is being drawn into a potentially genocidal position in Iraq. The efforts to “quiet” Baghdad are focused on the Sunni’s. The same is true in Anbar province. The 20,000 plus troops being sent to help eliminate the threat in both areas will be fighting side by side with Shia militia and “death squads” against the Sunni population. That makes us active (even if we were unwilling) collaborators in what is starting be called an attempted genocide on the Sunni population.
Further, it interestingly places the US and Iran backing essentially the same “horse.” The death squads are part of the very police and security forces that the US has been training and arming. If we are going to track them down and stop them at the same time we embed our troops with the those same forces, then the risk to US troops is dire indeed. They could very easily end up not only being targets from an Iraqi population (regardless of ethnicity or sect) who sees them as on occupation force, but targets of the very forces with whom they are working. From what I have heard from some troops returning from Iraq, that is already a problem in some areas.
So what is Congress to do with a President and Vice President who are publicly thumbing their noses at that same Congress? What is to be done with an administration which is saying “We are going our own way and you can’t stop us.”? In fact the administration is already “surging” the forces. Well, since the funding in question is not likely to be brought to Congress until well after the “surge” is a done deal, one might say the only way to stop a rogue administration is impeachment. It is clear that neither Cheney or Bush feel that they have lost so much public and Congressional support that they need fear impeachment. However, like their estimates of the cake walk of regime change in Iraq, they may be sorely wrong.
Depending on the poll, the approval rating for the President is south of 35% and falling. The administration is not responding to the voice of the public, nor are they responding to the voice of the Congress. Instead, they stand up and say “You can’t stop us.” Would the public really blanch at starting an impeachment proceeding for an administration that has declared itself clearly beyond the constraints of anyone or anything? I believe they may be underestimating the citizens of the United States. I believe that we still make a clear demarcation between a President and a Dictator.