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The Progressive

Bush Plays Superhero in Iraq

Matthew Rothschild

Bush and Cheney are playing their ace in the hole: The old, tattered "you don't support the troops" card.Any Democrat and any Republican too (hear that, Chuck Hagel) who doesn't want to throw another hundred billion dollars down the tubes for Bush's Iraq War gets this card thrown at them.

Cheney was up to his old tricks on Monday.

He went down to Birmingham to give a talk. (Don't kid yourself; it wasn't to hail civil rights, it was to raise cash for Republican Senator Jeff Sessions.) And Cheney took the occasion to try to relink the Iraq War with 9/11, a link he's stressed all along, never stopping when the evidence failed to materialize.

Facts are insignificant to him.

It's propaganda that counts.

And bullying.

So he peddled the canard that Democrats in Congress are working "to undercut General Petraeus and the troops."

And he made clear that he has no understanding of, or patience for, the constitutional powers of Congress.

"The fact is," said Cheney, "the United States military answers to one commander-in-chief in the White House, not 535 commanders-in-chief on Capitol Hill."

But Cheney omitted a couple of crucial facts.

Like the Congress funds the military.

And the commander-in-chief can't go to war without a Congressional declaration of war, which, in actual fact, it never gave.

Congress certainly has the constitutional right to tell the President to stop fighting a war it never declared.

Not to be outdone in bluntness by his Vice, Bush held a press conference on Tuesday where he parroted Cheney's lines, included the exact verb "undercut." Bush said, "The House and Senate have spent this time debating bills that undercut the troops."

And Bush, who has brought untold misery to the more than 27,000 U.S. families of soldiers who have died or been wounded in Iraq, had the gall to blame Congress for the suffering that families of U.S. soldiers may now face.

"The bottom line is this," he said. "Congress's failure to fund our troops on the front lines will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines. And others could see their loved ones headed back to the war sooner than they need to."

It is Bush, not Congress, who has extended the tour of soldiers in Iraq time and time again.

It is Bush, not Congress, who has ordered soldiers back to the war time and time again.

Now for Bush to exploit the suffering of these families even as his policy is guaranteed to inflict the ultimate suffering on thousands more of them shows that there is no low that he will not stoop to.

(To get a sense of the suffering that Bush has brought to just one such family, read Cindy Sheehan's powerful and poignant remembrance of her son Casey on the third anniversary of his death. I'm appending it below.)

Amazingly, even at this late date, Bush and Cheney persist in the illusion that victory is possible in Iraq.

In Birmingham, Cheney said, "When members of Congress speak not of victory but of time limits, deadlines, or other arbitrary measures, they're telling the enemy to simply watch the clock and wait us out. It's time the self-appointed strategists on Capitol Hill understood a very simple concept: You cannot win a war if you tell the enemy when you're going to quit."

In the Rose Garden, Bush said Congress needs to get him the additional funding so we can "go about our business of winning this war."

Even Henry Kissinger knows that's not possible.

Deluded about victory, deranged with their power, Bush and Cheney have nothing but disdain for Congress.

"Congress's most basic responsibility is to give our troops the equipment and training they need to fight our enemies and protect our nation," Bush said.

Actually, Congress's most basic responsibility is to uphold the Constitution, a document that neither Bush nor Cheney has any use for.

© 2007 The Progressive

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