Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, September 09, 2003  

We have to stay in Iraq, no matter what my man Dennis Kucinich (coo SIN itch) says. It was wrong to invade (arrogant, stupid, and illegal), but abandoning Iraq to the strongest warlord is a second wrong. And you know what your Mama told you. On the other hand, that doesn't mean that just because the President has asked for $87 billion, he should get it. Because it was arrogant, stupid, and illegal to invade, giving the stupid, arrogant criminals more money seems to be equally as foolish. Particularly when their management of the occupation has been such a spectacular failure.

Fortunately, it appears the cowardly lions have discovered a little courage.

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, the panel's top Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, noted that the administration had rejected estimates before the war that an Iraq conflict could cost $100 billion to $200 billion. The new $87 billion request is in addition to the $79 billion that Congress approved last spring.

Addressing Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Levin said "you told Congress in March that `we are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.' Talk about rosy scenarios," Levin said.

There's no doubt Congress will keep funding the occupation, but they appear to be attaching some strings this time around.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said he will offer an amendment to the Iraq spending bill that would bar money for relief and reconstruction until Bush officially reports to Congress on his Iraq strategy.

"Before the Congress writes a blank check to the administration, we need to know what the broader plan is," Kennedy said in remarks prepared for the hearing.

And even Republicans are starting to feel the heat from the debacle.

Some Republicans have also criticized the administration. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said on CBS Tuesday the Bush administration "did a miserable job of planning the post-Saddam Iraq" and "they treated many in the Congress, most of the Congress like a nuisance."

The most fascinating wrinkle, however, could come from Joe Biden, who is now demanding that the White House repeal its upper-income tax cuts. Recall, this is the same senator who last fall kept demanding to know how expensive this was going to be. More significantly, Biden also started hammering the choices argument then: that you can't have a huge war and occupation and tax cuts for the wealthy. You have to make choices. So now he can credibly return, as minority leader of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, and demand that Bush make choices now. Bush tried to have it both ways in the Fall, but the war was just as expensive as everyone predicted, and the tax cuts just as devastating to federal revenues. Now, when Bush holds out the tin cup, Biden can demand choices.

"Is this still a sacrificeless undertaking except those we send to Iraq?" he said in an interview. "Or is there actually something that Americans are going to be asked to do?"

It ought to be interesting.

posted by Jeff | 10:14 AM |
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