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War Power Game; The coming constiutional crisis. (Murtha's funding bill)
National Review Online ^ | February 20, 2007 | Rich Lowry

Posted on 02/20/2007 9:46:19 PM PST by smonk

War Power Game

The coming constiutional crisis

While other House Democrats were pretending that their nonbinding resolution against the Iraq troop surge was of great import, antiwar champion Rep. John Murtha spoke the truth. It is not “the real vote,” he said in a webcast for the left-wing That comes with Murtha’s imminent attempt to hamstring President Bush’s conduct of the war that may well spark a constitutional crisis.

There is a straightforward way for Congress to end a war: Cut off its entire funding. Congress has the power of the purse, the most important lever of legislative influence in the Anglo-American tradition. But House Democrats don’t want to wield this power because they’re afraid it will expose them to charges of defunding the troops. So they are resorting to an unconstitutional expedient instead.

Murtha wants to attach conditions on the impending supplemental appropriations bill to fund the war. He would require that troops have a year at home before redeploying, that they train with their own equipment before deploying and so on. Because the too-small U.S. military is under enormous strain, these conditions would be impossible to meet while still doubling the number of U.S. combat troops in Baghdad.

Murtha repeatedly says in the webcast that his proposals are meant to “protect” the troops. But he is frank about the not-so-ulterior motive of keeping more troops from heading to Iraq, explaining that “they won’t be able to do the work.” Because his provisions can be sold as guaranteeing the readiness and quality-of-life of the troops, Murtha believes that they “will be very hard to find fault with.”

Only if one ignores our constitutional scheme. The president, not Congress, is the commander in chief. Congress was never meant to, nor is it suited to, direct tactical military decisions, as Murtha seeks to do with his restrictions.

Arguably, his maneuver will be the most blatant congressional intrusion on the president’s war-making powers in the nation’s history. Congress choked off the Vietnam War in the 1970s, but only after U.S. ground troops were mostly already out of the country and chiefly as a matter of cutting off aid to South Vietnam.

Just as disturbing is Murtha’s cynical reliance on failure in Iraq as a political strategy. The plan aptly has been described by as a “slow-bleed” antiwar strategy. The surge is the best chance of turning the war around. By hampering it, Democrats will ensure that the war continues to fail, and thus that domestic political support for it plummets to the point where Democrats feel safe in defunding it.

The subconscious logic of their position on the war has thus taken a subtle turn. It used to be that the war had to end because it was a failure; now it must fail so that it can end.

Democrats don’t see this distinction, since they simply believe the war is irretrievably lost. But they still pay laughably unserious lip service to the notion of success. Murtha says there’s no military solution in Iraq, that we can win in Iraq only through the political process — as if it has no effect on the political process whether Shia militias are murdering Sunnis unchecked or laying low to avoid the surge. In a howler, he maintains that if we leave, “al Qaeda’s going to disappear.” Maybe if we spread pixie dust and close our eyes?

President Bush will have no choice but to reject the Murtha restrictions should they reach his desk. But a veto is problematic. As Murtha points out, a veto means that Bush doesn’t get the continued funding for the war. He might have to sign the bill, take the funding and ignore the restrictions as an unconstitutional trespass on his powers. In that event, a cry to impeach him will go up from the increasingly powerful antiwar Left.

The result of the Democrats’ clever gambit could be a constitutional implosion from which no one — certainly not the country — will emerge a winner.

TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: iraq; murtha

1 posted on 02/20/2007 9:46:22 PM PST by smonk
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To: smonk

I hate the so called "Democrats", all of them. I think they're all traitors and cowards and want to destroy the country and freedom. They're all scum.

2 posted on 02/20/2007 9:50:43 PM PST by garyhope (It's World War IV, right here, right now courtesy of Islam.)
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To: garyhope
the jury is in. byrd is no longer the most senile old lunatic in congress; it's murtha.
3 posted on 02/20/2007 9:52:36 PM PST by smonk
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To: smonk

Hey Murtha. Have a heart attack and leave us alone. On second though, have two heart attacks and die, you treasonous bastard.

4 posted on 02/20/2007 9:53:21 PM PST by Mad_Tom_Rackham (Veritas. Gravitas. Ohmygas.)
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To: garyhope

Wow I wrote almost the same thing in a letter I sent yesterday to all Congressmen and speak out.

Lets see the Rats stand up and make a decision...

and every Republican politician better be out front beating them over the head with this NOW...

5 posted on 02/20/2007 9:53:44 PM PST by tomnbeverly (Remain clear of heavily populated areas because the liberals will reap what they sow.)
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To: smonk; All

There is not going to be a "Constitutional crisis" .. Murtha's PLAN is already UN-CONSTITUTIONAL.

The President is charged with defending the country.

The Congress is charged with upholding the Constitution.

The 2 jobs are very different. While the Congress can pull the purse strings .. THAT'S ALL THE POWER THEY HAVE.

Murtha is going to get shot down on this.

So .. start contacting your elected congress persons and tell them they better not fold and become part of an UN-CONSTITUTIONAL maneuver by the dems.

6 posted on 02/20/2007 10:05:45 PM PST by CyberAnt (Drive-By Media: Fake news, fake documents, fake polls)
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To: smonk

I think Murtha harbors deep resentments from his Vietnam experiences. This is his way of paying back the country asked to go into harms way.

7 posted on 02/20/2007 10:22:03 PM PST by Jeff Gordon (History convinces me that bad government results from too much government. - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: CyberAnt
'The Congress is charged with upholding the Constitution.'

Are you joking? Please tell me when the Executive Branch, ie the President, has been replaced by the Legislative, the Congress.

I disagree with Murtha, but the Constitutional explicitly gives the powers of regulating the Military to Congress. Congress writes the laws of the Military, the President makes sure they are enforced.
8 posted on 02/20/2007 10:27:38 PM PST by FLOutdoorsman (Fatigue makes cowards of us all.)
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To: Jeff Gordon
I think Murtha harbors deep resentments from his Vietnam experiences.

Huh? What experiences? He was a REMF.

9 posted on 02/20/2007 10:28:16 PM PST by smoothsailing ("Power so irresponsibly sought is not likely to be responsibly exercised." -Tony Blankley on dems)
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To: FLOutdoorsman

Well .. I've read the 2 different sections - for congress and the president, and I can't see anything that gives Murtha authority to do his "slow bleed" legislation.

Therefore, Murtha is not "upholding the Constitution" .. he's trying to ursurp the President's authority as Commander and Chief.

10 posted on 02/20/2007 11:39:29 PM PST by CyberAnt (Drive-By Media: Fake news, fake documents, fake polls)
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To: Jeff Gordon

Well maybe agent orange or something got into his brain...I doubt that horse's arse got anywhere near any real fighting . I don't know his war record and I so dislike the man that I wouldn't believe it if he was a hero. I think he has mental problems. Agent orange exposure, too much drinking or plain old dementia. The man is just too old and too hateful to be in a position of any power. There is certainly something very wrong with him. We need a law passed that over a certain age these men/women in govt positions must take a test to see what their mental state is. I really hate saying it but they ought to test them for drinking problems too. I don't like laws very much but I sure hate Teddy Kennedy & John Murtha etc making any decisions....

11 posted on 02/21/2007 12:02:52 AM PST by pandoraou812 ( zero tolerance to the will of Allah ...... dilligaf? with an efg.....)
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To: smonk

This certainly rates the "T" word, I'd wager. Who amongst the punditry, if not already said, or who amidst the pols will be the first to really use the word, and stick by it? Cuz dis is "treason", dontcha know?

12 posted on 02/21/2007 1:31:46 AM PST by Richard Axtell
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