Monday, July 23, 2007

The present crisis

In The Times, Adam Cohen writes on what he calls a constitutional showdown over the Iraq war. He is valuable in summarizing the importance that the Founders gave to Congress in the declaration and prosecution of wars--in stark contrast to the extremism of Bush & Co. Cohen's article is well titled:

Just What the Founders Feared: An Imperial President Goes to War

Cohen does a service to the general public in outlining the important role that Congress plays, both in declaring war (which somehow seems an antique notion today) and in paying for it--the ultimate power.

Obliquely, Cohen refers to the elephant (not the GOP symbol) in the room: this fall, the Democrats could force a reversal in Bush's war strategy by simply refusing to pay for the war without such a change. If Democrats have the spine (which is to say if they believe the polls), they could just say no to an unconstrained war without a schedule for American withdrawal. Will they have the courage, even in this non-election year? Don't count on it.

(Why anti-war forces, buoyed by a surge in public opinion polls, do not wage a 'Just say no to war' campaign is beyond me.)

(Let me hasten to add that I do not believe that we can execute a pull-out of American forces in six or eight months, or even a year, even with the best will in the world. And withdrawal will be perilous, both for Americans in Iraq and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have thrown in their lot with us on one level or another. But a withdrawal as rapidly as is consonant with good order and protection for our forces and the Iraqis--and one where the impetus is on extracting our forces, not on protection as an excuse for continued involvement--is the best of a bad group of choices.)

If I have a criticism of Cohen, it is only that he did not tie what Bush and his co-conspirators have done to the Constitution over the war to the violence they have done to our basic governing document on all fronts.

1 comment:

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper said...

Your last paragraph re: damage to our Constitution is the basis for my arguing for Impeachment.