Ninety US soldiers have died since President Bush announced his plan to escalate the war in Iraq on January 10.
There’s been a lot of talk about how Congress can challenge Bush’s policy. Yet so far it’s done nothing. It took the Senate almost a month to agree on what the non-binding resolution–essentially a nifty piece of PR–should look like. Then Republicans decided to use every trick in the Senatorial handbook to prevent the debate, which they once decried as meaningless, from occurring.
Now the House says it will debate the war next week. Why didn’t it take the lead in the first place? Directly after the State of the Union address, the House could’ve expressed its disapproval of the President’s policy. The Senate, with its complicated rules, presidential candidates and penchant for bloviation, could have followed whenever it got its act together. But the message would have been clear: Congress does not support the President’s war any more.
The passage of the resolution was supposed to lay the groundwork, Democratic leaders argued, for the more substantive battle over the funding of the war. Now the resolution has become a distraction. Democrats were not elected to voice opposition to the escalation; they were put in office to at least try to end the war. “This is not a time to finesse the situation,” says Senator Russ Feingold. “This is not a time for a slow walk.”
Can Congress walk, even slowly, and chew gum at the same time?