At this moment, both the House and the Senate are debating the
resolution allowing President Bush free reign to use "all necessary
means" against Iraq.
I’m listening as I write, so pardon if this is somewhat disjointed.
Unsurprisingly, much of the debate is mere speech-making, as opposed
to reasoning or presenting evidence. For instance, the connection
between Iraq and Al Qaeda: Bush and Rummy says there is one. Several
congressmen opposing the resolution have said there is no evidence.
"Yes there is." "No there isn’t." "Yes
there is." At this point, each side feels free to assert their
opinion as fact, as though exchanging assertions amounts to debate.
However, despite my worst expectations, there is a much eloquence
and passion on both sides. Those who seem intellectually capable
of understanding the issue (a class from which I exclude the lady
from Wyoming) approach it with what is, to me, the appropriate gravity.
One thing that strikes me as slightly pathetic… some congressmen
(particularly Democrats) supporting the resolution are vastly overstating
their role in this process. The Constitution gives Congress the
_exclusive_ power to declare war, but Bush sent this resolution
to them only grudgingly, in response to overwhelming public opinion,
obviously seeking a rubber stamp. And the resolution says, basically,
that Bush can do what he wants with regard to Iraq, when he wants.
The resolution is not a fulfillment of Congress’ power to declare
war, but an abrogation of that power. Still, lots of the folks supporting
it seem determined to pretend like he really cares about their opinion,
like they can really affect the outcome.
One thing that bugs me: everybody who supports the resolution cites
the "war" on terrorism. They say 9/11 is "evidence"
of the danger Iraq poses. But other than a few extraordinarily tenuous
wisps (Osama got medical care there twenty years ago!), what evidence
is there that Iraq has any allegiance to Islamic terrorists? Iraq
is a secular state, run by a dictator that serves only his own selfish
interests. He is not an ideologue; if he "hates America,"
it’s only because America kicked his ass and has imposed sanctions
on him for over a decade. What evidence is there that he has, at
any time in the last fifteen years, funded or provided materiel
Paul Wolfowitz was writing editorials in favor of invading Iraq
in 1996. The hawks in the defense establishment want this for their
own reasons–it’s got _nothing_ to do with 9/11 or terrorism.
My new hero: Robert Byrd. This guy (senator from West VA) is accepting
no bullshit. He’s is ranting and raving about rule of law, separation
of powers, evidence, international law… all the stuff other congressfolk
seem to have politely agreed to disregard.