Political Blogging From The New York Times
Kennedy: 'George Bush's Vietnam'
By Kate Phillips
January 9, 2007
Today, therefore, I am introducing legislation to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people's right to a full voice in the President's plan to send more troops to Iraq. My bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the President's plan.
My proposal is a straightforward exercise of the power granted to Congress by Article I, section 8 of the Constitution. There can be no doubt that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to decide whether to fund military action. And Congress can demand a justification from the President for such action before it appropriates the funds to carry it out.
The American people sent a clear message in November that we must change course in Iraq and begin to withdraw our troops, not escalate their presence. The way to start is by acting on the President's new plan. An escalation, whether it is called a surge or any other name, is still an escalation, and I believe it would be an immense new mistake. It would compound the original misguided decision to invade Iraq. We cannot simply speak out against an escalation of troops in Iraq. We must act to prevent it.
Listen to this comment from a high-ranking American official: "It became clear that if we were prepared to stay the course, we could help to lay the cornerstone for a diverse and independent [region]. If we faltered, the forces of chaos would smell victory and decades of strife and aggression would stretch endlessly before us. The choice was clear. We would stay the course. And we shall stay the course."
That is not President Bush speaking. It is President Lyndon Johnson, forty years ago, ordering a hundred thousand more American soldiers to Vietnam.
Here is another quotation. "The big problem is to get territory and to keep it. You can get it today and it will be gone next week. That is the problem. You have to have enough people to clear it and enough people to preserve what you have done."
That is not President Bush on the need for more forces in Iraq. It is President Johnson in 1966 as he doubled our military presence in Vietnam.
Echoes of that disaster are all around us today. Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam.
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