The wannabee dictator George W. Bush has effectively flaunted the American public by announcing that his global war against a stateless ideology will continue unabated at augmented levels, perhaps expanding to include Iran.
Even so. One marvels at the growing number of informed officials taking a public stand in opposition to this proposed mobilization that would constitute “the bulk of our strategic reserve," as Ret. Lt. Gen. Dan Christman told CNN. It reduces Washington's ability to deal with Afghanistan or the Horn of Africa, among other crises. Former GOP doormats Carl Levin and Joe Biden are probably weighing the opinion of Florida Senator Ben Nelson when he told Condi Rice the other day, "I have supported you and the Administration on the war, and I cannot continue to support the administration's position."
On the other side of the aisle, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback stood up with neighboring-state Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska when he declared, "I do not believe that sending more troops to Iraq is the answer," prompting Administration stalwarts Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar and Virginia Sen. John Warner to express "strong reservations about the new strategy."
Even die-hard neo-conservative Bush defender and New York Times columnist David Brooks hedged his bet and said, "I wouldn't give it 50:50 odds."
Despite all this, Representative Charles Rangel of New York wants to provide the Administration with the means to staff this war – against the will of the people – by reintroducing his bill to reinstate the draft. "If Americans are to be placed in harm's way, all of us, from every income group and position in society, must share the burden of war," he declared.
Congressman: the time for that sort of pose was 2002 when it was becoming clear the Bush Administration would go to war. Now that they are there, it is too late to wave the flag and ask for a seat on the Bushtanic. George Bush is sailing dangerous waters. He is about to tread on the tail of the Chinese Dragon which owns his soul by paying for the war. China buys US Treasury notes that help finance the American trade deficit – and there are signs the Dragon might find a reason to bite:
Dollar-rich China says this: It will continue to do business with Tehran as usual. Iran and China are in the process of finalizing a US 16 billion gas agreement despite a US warning that the Chinese partner could become subject to sanctions. “We think this kind of cooperation and relationship is legitimate,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Thursday at a regular press conference in Beijing. “Normal cooperation should not be interfered with."
Think again, Congressman Rangel
So, Mr. Congressman: if you want to arouse public outrage against the war and its escalation, and seek to focus it at Bush, you are taking the wrong tack. You will be seen by a growing number of Gold Star mothers as an unabashed enabler of an unpopular and failing war effort with this bill, even if you do loudly disclaim support for the war or its conduct. To aid and abet an administration which considers itself immune from Congressional control over its war powers is extremely irresponsible, and as a legislator, you should know your responsibilities in controlling excess. If you don't, maybe your constituents need to reconsider rehiring you in 2008.
Get a clue, Congressman Rangel: Wiser and more experienced politicians might have a better solution than shipping off more young men to die for Iraqi oil. You might want to ponder the words of former Nixon White House Counsel and Congressional Watergate conspiracy hearing witness John Dean's examination of the power of the Congress to rein in an administration out of control. Having had to face the power of the Congress, he knows what he’s talking about.
Dean points to the ultimate power of Congress to override presidents: "Congress has used this leverage ever since the presidency of George Washington… Jefferson had no qualms [about complying]… other presidents, from James Polk to Andrew Jackson have acknowledged [that power]… Ronald Reagan gave Congress everything it wanted… The mere threat of contempt has been used, on countless occasions, to force a wide array of high-level Executive Branch officials to [cooperate]…”
Representative Rangel, I call upon you to heed the words of a political opposite, Lawrence Kaplan, a senior editor of The New Republic, who says that Bush has already lost his war – at home. "An effective counter-insurgency strategy requires time and patience. Americans have run out of both," he wrote Thursday.
It's time you heed the real call to arms sounded by American patriots – and help end a pointless war conducted by those who would destroy our liberty in order to wage that war. Enact the power invested in you as a duly elected representative of American citizens.