Sunday, January 07, 2007

Desperate Attempts by Pres. Bush to Salvage Iraq War

As widely reported, finally it is coming down to this – Pres. Bush wants to increase American forces by 20K in Baghdad. It is clear that this Pres. does not get it – that the war was wrong, the war was conducted wrongly and his plan for new direction is wrong too. Bottom line – continuing or escalating Iraq war in the current fashion is not addressing America’s real security needs. Sooner American’s restrict the losses and Iraq engagement, better for America.

Pres. Bush refuses to separate between his legacy / his ego and America’s security interest. He has failed so far in last 4 years and looks like he will not correct in the remaining 2 years. If he wants to go down into the history as an obdurate and senseless President, then that is his problem. American People do not need to follow him.

So it is the responsibility of Democratic Congress, to stir away America from this disaster as much as possible. In that respect, it is right that Speaker Pelosi is hinting that:
- Congress wants justification and distinction of cost for the additional troops,
- Congress would continue to fund the existing troop strength in Iraq and
- Congress would fund increase of Army by 30K and Marines by 20K.

Democrats must stick to these guns and if push comes to shove do the unthinkable – do not pass the budget which does not specify funds for these additional 20K troops to Baghdad and /or the budget which asks for these additional funds without any sound justifications.

True, this is not the path commonly traveled by American elected representatives. It might be rare in American History too. Also it would have the implication that President would find his or her ability to wage the war bit compromised. But in 21st century it is unthinkable that American President can launch or conduct a war without keeping Congress in loop constantly. American History may be such that Presidents single handed won the wars. But do we seriously think that it will be the case so in today’s globalized world? Presidency and conduct of war needs to be more collaborative and more participative for Congress. It will no longer remain as one person show of President. The danger of a rogue President damaging America’s interests is too high compared to cost of compromised ‘room’ for the president to conduct the war. Simply too much power (and fire power) is concentrated with Presidency. Times have changed and Americans should not be beholden to the history that President solely wages and conducts wars. Congress must come into the picture and must fulfill it’s responsibility. Speaker Pelosi is right when she said Republican Congress gave blank checks to Pres. Bush to conduct the Iraq war and that was wrong. It is her time to stop this abuse of trust by Pres. Bush. She must do whatever it takes – if it means breaking the taboo and doing the unthinkable; so be the case. After all ‘breaking the marble ceiling’ is the only glamour part of the job.

Umesh Patil
Cupertino, CA 95014
January 7, 2007.

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