Can Congress End the War?

From Tomdispatch today, David Swanson’s timely “Can Congress End the War? Democratic Leaders May Prefer to Claim They Tried but Failed

Nothing reminds us more of how much the American constitutional system has been transformed, of just how extreme the “imperial presidency” has become, than Congress’s generally woeful record in recent decades in exerting any significant control over, or putting the brakes on White House wars abroad. The imperial presidency has regularly run circles around an ever weaker Congress. Now, once again, we find ourselves at a moment where the public seems increasingly eager for a new Democratic Congress to rein in an out-of-control White House and its catastrophic policies, this time in the Middle East.

At Tomdispatch today, David Swanson, the Washington Director of Democrats.com and co-founder of the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition, explores the crucial questions as maneuvering in Congress about the war in Iraq intensifies: What might the new Democratic Congress be willing to do when it comes to Iraq? What is it actually capable of doing? If it does manage to act in any half-significant way, will the Bush White House simply ignore it? And can Bush’s war in time become the Democrats’ war, if Congress doesn’t act?

After a thorough exploration of the issues at stake and the moves presently underway in Congress, Swanson concludes with a warning:

“In the meantime, the Democrats’ strategy of letting the war continue, not thoroughly investigating the fraud that launched it, and not holding the war-makers accountable may prove not to be the electoral winner that Party figures like Emanuel expect. It might even prove a political equalizer and so a loser in 2008 or beyond. Every day that the Democrats don’t move to end the war in Iraq is another day in which that war, stretching ever on, can become the Democrats’ war. Only if they come to believe that the war’s unpopularity will work against them in the voting booths in 2008 or thereafter will they be strongly motivated to take the sorts of actions that might actually bring it to an end.”

This is a strong and provocative piece. Don’t miss it.

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