Archive for Monday, January 15, 2007

Bush, Cheney say critics won’t halt troop buildup

Democrats consider controls on war funding

January 15, 2007


— Digging in for confrontation, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney say they will not budge from sending more U.S. troops to Iraq no matter how much Congress opposes it.

"I fully understand they could try to stop me," Bush said of the Democrat-run Congress. "But I've made my decision, and we're going forward."

As the president talked tough in an interview that aired Sunday night, lawmakers pledged to explore ways to stop him.

"We need to look at what options we have available to constrain the president," said Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, a possible White House candidate in 2008. Democrats remain wary, though, of appearing unsupportive of American troops.

A defiant Cheney, meanwhile, said Democrats offered criticism without credible alternatives. He pointedly reminded lawmakers that Bush is commander in chief.

"You cannot run a war by committee," the vice president said of congressional input.

The aggressive White House reaction came as the House and Senate prepare to vote on resolutions opposing additional U.S. troops in Iraq.

Going all-out

As the White House watched even some GOP support peel away for the war plan, it went all-out to regain some footing.

Bush gave his first interview from Camp David, airing Sunday night on CBS' "60 Minutes." It was his second prime-time opportunity in five days to explain why he thinks adding U.S. troops can help stabilize Iraq and hasten the time when American soldiers can come home. He addressed the nation Wednesday evening from the White House.

"Some of my buddies in Texas say, 'You know, let them fight it out. What business is it of ours?'" Bush said of Iraqis. "And that's a temptation that I know a lot of people feel. But if we do not succeed in Iraq, we will leave behind a Middle East which will endanger America."

Yet when asked if he owes the Iraqi people an apology for botching the management of the war, he said "Not at all."

"We liberated that country from a tyrant," Bush said. "I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude."

Bush announced last week he will send 21,500 more troops to Iraq to halt violence, mainly around Baghdad, as an essential step toward stabilizing the country's government.

Looking at funding

Democrats in Congress - along with some Republicans - were unimpressed and frustrated. Beyond promising to go on record in opposition to the president's approach, the Democratic leadership is considering whether, and how, to cut off funding for additional troops.

"You don't like to micromanage the Defense Department, but we have to, in this case, because they're not paying attention to the public," said Rep. John Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat who helps oversee military funding.

It is unclear how any effort by Congress could affect Bush's plan. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said the White House already had money appropriated by Congress to move the additional forces to Iraq.

GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a potential 2008 presidential contender who endorses Bush's call for more troops, said votes to express disapproval were pointless.

"If they're dead serious then we should have a motion to cut off funding," he said of those fighting Bush's strategy.

Many Democrats favor a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops, along with new diplomatic efforts with Iraq's neighbors.

Not popular

The Bush administration had hoped the president's overhauled strategy would lead to some bipartisan unity or the White House would at least get an extended hearing before legislative leaders made up their minds. Instead, it encountered majority opposition in Congress and a public that rejected by large polling margins the military and political ideas Bush announced.

"I'm not going to try to be popular and change principles to do so," Bush said when asked about his standing with the public.

In the interview, Bush rejected an assertion that, time and again, his administration hasn't been straight with the American people about Iraq. He said his spirits were strong.

"I really am not the kind of guy that sits here and says, 'Oh gosh, I'm worried about my legacy,'" Bush said.


Richard Heckler 11 years, 3 months ago

As for the real costs of the war, they could hardly be clearer. Targeted for cutbacks in federal money are virtually all social programs--Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps, housing, job training and child care, education and student loans, environmental protection, public transportation, science research, even veterans' benefits and school funding for children of military personnel.

Jeffrey Garten, dean of the Yale School of Management and former economic and foreign policy official in the Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Clinton administrations, warns that the increases in spending on war and homeland security are "aggravating an already acute fiscal problem, eroding economic vitality" and creating "the kind of politically paralyzing guns-or-butter debate that characterized the Vietnam era."

Even as Iraq verges on splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as "the prize."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 3 months ago

Stubborn stupidity is all they ever had, and all they have left. They'll never give it up.

JohnBrown 11 years, 3 months ago

Bush calls himself a 'war president', yet all he asks us to do is 'go shopping'. Not since the Mexican War has the US, in a time of war, not geared up and raised taxes to help fund the effort. Bush is consuming the wealth of America. Our military is depleted, our reserves and National Guard are over-extended, their TOE (table of operations and equipment) is short by $60 billion. Bush said "But if we do not succeed in Iraq, we will leave behind a Middle East which will endanger America." I agree. He had no good reasons (in retrospect) for going into Iraq in the first place, and he totally boshed the job of going in, destabilizing Iraq and thereby empowering Iran. Now he want to fix this??? I don't think so: it's a Katrina-like foriegn policy that we will have to endure for the next two years.

It's time to bring back the draft, and DRAFT COLIN POWELL for President.

A Nam vet.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 3 months ago


He was up to his neck in the Iran-Contra scandal and lied to the American people and at the UN about Iraq.

No thanks-- let him retire permanently into corporate boardrooms.

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