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What Dems Can Do About Iraq War

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The Democratic Party is in a quandary about what to do with a problem like the war. Most Americans want it to end, and end as quickly as possible. President George W. Bush seems determined to drag it on for two more years so that his successor has to deal with the problem and be blamed for "losing Iraq."

Democrats asked Bush to set a schedule for drawing down the war or at last not escalate it. He has been unmoved by any request and has proposed an escalation in troops and expenditures.

Many persons; in the government and out, in the military and out, in the media and out, politicians and nonpols, and ordinary everyday Americans suggest that Democrats can force the issue by merely cutting off funds for the war. But simply cutting off funds could backfire when the political right accuses Democrats of "losing the war" to terrorists ~ as it will ~ just as Democrats who ended funding the Vietnam War were blamed for the ignominious ending of a war that Richard Nixon lost and Gerald Ford cut and ran from.

But there are some actions that Democrats can use to begin the process of ending the war and they simply require following the United States Constitution.

The Constitution says in Article I, Section 8, paragraph 1, that:

"The Congress shall have the Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, to ... provide for the common Defence ... of the United States."

That's it. It says all military spending is to be done with tax receipts of all sorts; it does not provide that spending on this "war" be done with borrowed money or with credit of any kind. The power to borrow money by government wasn't introduced until paragraph 2, well after the Constitution firmly established military spending be done with tax money and only with the four forms of tax money the Constitution specifically names. And since Bush has done all war spending off budget, Congress cannot now allow him to siphon funds from borrowed money to pay for his folly; it must be done separately from all other government spending.

Congress merely has to agree to his money requests, but it must also adamantly adhere to the Constitutional requirement to use only tax money to pay for this Bush absurdity. And since all previous spending on the war was done with illegally borrowed money, Congress must require taxes to repay the Treasury for all the money Bush and the l08-109th GOP Congress borrowed since 2003 for their war crime.

Fund the war, but in the funding bill include specific taxes to be used to pay the tab. Target those who have been feeding on the federal teat since Bush pushed through his tax cuts that benefitted mainly the top one percent of US taxpayers. A tax surcharge on the bloated salaries of those who proposed and created the war ~ including Bush himself ~ should be included. Extend this surcharge to the multimillion-dollar "golden parachutes" ineffectual, hands-off, can't-do executives receive to get the hell out of the corporations they damaged. Ordinary Americans who are sacrificing their sons and daughters to this madness have contributed enough and should not be asked for more.

If funding the war properly is not acceptable to Bush and his right-wing supporters, let him veto funding of the troops. Let warmongering buffoons in Congress and in the media argue against funding the troops; let them be responsible, and let the people of America know precisely why Bush and his toadies refuse to fund the troops. Force them to obey the Constitution or get out of Iraq and let them shoulder the blame for this mess.

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***************************************************** Thomas Bonsell is a former newspaper editor (in Oregon, New York and Colorado) United States Air Force cryptanalyst and National Security Agency intelligence agent. He became one of (more...)
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