Foreign Policy

Surging Skepticism in the Heartland

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From a Cincy Enquirer preview of tonight's speech by President Bush re: troop surge in Iraq:

In Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, where President Bush came 52 months ago to lay out his justification for going to war in Iraq, the idea of committing another 20,000 U.S. troops is being met with a strong wall of skepticism.

The doubts about the president's new Iraq plan—to be laid out in detail in an address to the nation tonight—seemingly come from all quarters:

From a mother in Felicity who has lived through the experience of having one son fight in Iraq and wants to spare 20,000 other mothers that fear and anxiety….

And even from a Republican U.S. senator who has been a consistent ally of President Bush when it comes to the war on terrorism.

"You bet I'm skeptical," said Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky. "I would rather see us maintain our current level and get them out of harm's way and put Iraqi security forces in harm's way."

Legend has it that LBJ knew he'd lost Vietnam when he lost Walter Cronkite. I'm not sure that Bush will know he's lost Iraq when he's lost Jim Bunning, especially given that the Blue Grass State statesman and Baseball Hall of Famer's grasp of foreign policy may be every bit as shaky as his knowledge of rudimentary baseball history. But when even an erratic GOP loyalist is saying stuff like this to the press, Bush has gotten to be on guard.

The whole Enquirer story here.

NEXT: I Don't Want to Grow Up, I'm a Bipartisan Kid

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  1. Having recently been to Arkansas, one of the states whose sons are in Iraq more than most, enthusiasm for Bush’s holy war is surprisingly dimmed. Bush’s plan, McCain’s bloodthirstiness on the South Beach Diet, now looks like political suicide.

  2. Do any of you constitutional scholars know if Ted Kennedy has a (legal) leg to stand on in his call for Congress to vote on authorizing more troop deployments?

  3. I’d say the power to raise armies and declare war includes the power to condition those actions, gaijin.

  4. Sensible, Joe…are their mechanisms for ‘condition(ing) those actions’ limited to funding or is there some other notion about controlling (or countermanding) Commander in Chief decisions that would be referenced in the constitution?

  5. I got a strange feeling that a certain TV/Radio Talk Show Fuhrer is going to delcare Senator Bunning an “Enemy Of The State.”

  6. gaijin,

    Beyond the power of the purse, Congress is explicitly given the power to declare war.

    The C in C can take war-like actions without such a declaration, but we’re not talking about how he can act when there is a declaration.

    If Congress declares war, can the President refuse to prosecute it? I say no.

    Therefore, if the Congress explicitly renounces a war, by the same power, the President cannot wage one.

  7. oops, “…when there isn’t a declaration.”

  8. On the other hand, Congress didn’t have to act for the President and his officers to accept Japan’s surrender.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe Congress took any action to declare World War 2 over. It ended upon the military’s acceptance of the surrender, correct?

  9. “It ended upon the military’s acceptance of the surrender, correct?”

    That appears to be the case, because it was already decided:
    Instrument of Surrender from Wiki

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VJ_Day
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrender_of_Japan
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Declaration

  10. Here is how it works:

    G. W. Bush proposes a surge of troops, thinking that the new Democratic congress will not be stupid enough approve it.

    Then, when things get worse, the Republicans can say “Well, if the Democrats would have just given us the troops, things would have been different”, and they can easily shift the blame to the “spineless” Democrats.

    Of course, the trouble with Bush’s plan is that the Democrats might just be stupid enough to give Bush his troops.

  11. Rex–

    The scary thing is, you may be on to something there.

    My, how far we have fallen.

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