Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Show of Hand, but little else

NYT - Democrats Plan Symbolic Votes Against Bush’s Iraq Troop Plan
Democratic leaders said Tuesday that they intended to hold symbolic votes in the House and Senate on President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Baghdad, forcing Republicans to take a stand on the proposal and seeking to isolate the president politically over his handling of the war.
I know that symbolism does have some power, and often times symbolic measures can't be distinguished from actual measures in the mind of the population as a whole, but I personally would like to see something more than symbolic gestures come from the new Congress on the Iraq War.
In both chambers, Democrats made clear that the resolutions — which would do nothing in practical terms to block Mr. Bush’s intention to increase the United States military presence in Iraq — would be the minimum steps they would pursue. They did not rule out eventually considering more muscular responses, like seeking to cap the number of troops being deployed to Iraq or limiting financing for the war — steps that could provoke a Constitutional and political showdown over the president’s power to wage war.
I know that politically (and practically) it is difficult to take back what has been given away, but I would love to see the Congress take back much of the war power they have given away over the decades. Not just because of Bush, but because I think an executive with too much power can be a dangerous thing. The founding fathers intended for the people to make the supreme decision on going to war, not one man. It was an important part of the separation of powers that has now been almost completely eroded.

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