I had high hopes for this Democratic Congress. They occasionally seem to show awareness that the main reason they displaced the rubber-stamp, Republican-controlled Congress is because the American people are sick and tired of the war in Iraq. The only thing that's changed since then is that even more Americans are sick and tired of the death and destruction being wrought in their name while the coffers are being siphoned into the bank accounts of corporate interests and foreign governments that are only too happy to fund our suicidal spending spree.
Congressional Democrats were all fire and brimstone about not giving our clueless leader a blank check on Iraq. The first time he said "boo" to them, however, they all turned into a giant puddle of piss.
House Democratic leaders are preparing a new version of the Iraq war funding bill that would pay for the war in two stages.Shorter version: they're going to give him the fucking money. After all the tough talk, they're going to do exactly what Bush said they would do: they're going to pussy out and give him the money. By attaching the bullshit language about "benchmarks," they are trying to give the appearance of holding Bush accountable, but it's a farce because he gets $50 billion up front, no questions asked and later gets to go back to the well after he writes his "who I killed on my summer vacation" report at the conclusion of the next Friedman.
The first stage would give the Bush administration about half of the $95.5 billion it seeks for U.S. troops and military operations. Congress would vote on authorizing the second half of the funds in July, but only after it reviews a report from President Bush on a series of benchmarks measuring the Iraqi government's progress.[...]
[A leadership aide] said that by "fencing off" the second installment of war funding, Congress would get more detailed information about how the money would be spent and how much more is needed. The aide described the plan as "being responsive to concerns of members who really want us to keep the pressure on Bush, and at the same time we are making sure we are funding the troops and making members comfortable with that."
Our military has been occupying Iraq for four years, but today we can't even identify who the enemy is (besides the 17 al Qaeda members who immigrated after we invaded), what our objectives are, or how we define success. In short, there is no plan whatsoever and there never has been. Yet knowing all this, our duly elected Democratically-controlled Congress is going to just hand over another $50 billion to George Bush so he can keep getting his rocks off. Jesus tap-dancing Christ this is so stupid.
It's even worse than it appears, though. Real people are being used as pawns in a big political game. When these pawns die, though, it's real lives being snuffed out way too early and entire families being ripped apart. And this for some bullshit ideological war on an undefinable enemy. The Democrats will not take a meaningful, principled stand against this insane war for fear of losing out in the next election. It doesn't matter how many people have to die or how much damage is done to either Iraq or the United States. It's all about power. This is just par for the course for the Democrats, though. They talk the talk, but when it comes time to put up or shut up, they fold like cheap patio furniture.
The truly mind-boggling part to this whole funding debate, though, is that Congress can end the war very easily if they really want to. There's no need to rush to present a bill to Bush at all. To end this war, all they have to do is emulate the last Congress by not doing a goddamn thing. They just don't pass a spending bill and the war is over. The Republicans did exactly that to Clinton in Somalia. And what did Clinton do once the funds were cut off? He pulled the troops out!
Our national debt is 9 trillion dollars and growing. That's $9,000,000,000,000. That's $30,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country. The interest alone on that debt is over $400 billion each year. Where is the money going to come from to pay for this and why do none of our leaders seem to think we have a problem?
Republicans may be full of shit whenever they open their mouths, but at least you always know where they stand on any given issue. I think that's why so many people vote for them: they want strong, decisive leaders. Democrats love to tell us how they are for the common good and that they represent the common man, but it's all bullshit. Every time they start to grow a pair of balls, their highly paid and highly useless "consultants" convince them that it's bad to stand up to the man whose only supporters are people who make money by doing so, and people who believe The Rapture is upon us.
Maybe I'm wrong about the Democrats on this, and believe me, I sincerely hope I am. If so, I'll gladly issue a huge mea culpa. Until that happens, though, I will remain skeptical and mad as hell. And they wonder why we're the "angry left?"
Digby just said it better than I ever could:
This interesting post from Steamboats Are Ruining Everything takes us back to 1820 and reminds us that brutish conservatives are nothing new:William Hazlitt explained the nature of it in his 1820 essay, "On the Spirit of Partisanship."Hazlitt was right. And never more than today when the stakes are so high...History proves that bad things do sometimes happen. Being barely left standing to say "I told you so" will be no compensation.
Conservatives and liberals play the game of politics differently, Hazlitt wrote, because they have different motivations. Liberals are motivated by principles and tend to believe that personal honor can be spared in political combat. They may, in fact, become vain about their highmindedness. Hazlitt condemns the mildness as a mistake, both in moral reasoning and in political strategy. "They betray the cause by not defending it as it is attacked, tooth and nail, might and main, without exception and without remorse." [highlighting is mine.]
The conservatives, on the other hand, start with a personal interest in the conflict. Not wishing to lose their hold on power, they are fiercer. "We"---i.e., the liberals, or the "popular cause," in Hazlitt's terminology---"stand in awe of their threats, because in the absence of passion we are tender of our persons.