Saturday, December 29, 2007

So Ridiculous 2

President George W. Bush announced yesterday from Crawford Texas that he planned to veto a military policy bill that includes an added pay raise for service members and improvements in veterans’ health benefits, which would have taken effect next Tuesday. Since the Prez can barely read a teleprompter because of his mental impairments, and medications, we can hardly blame him for failing to catch earlier an obscure provision in the bill that makes it untenable to Republicans. It is Section 1083 of a 1300-page, $696 billion military authorization bill that suddenly caught the attention of White House lawyers. And this was only after Iraqi officials complained to American ambassador Ryan Crocker in Baghdad ten days ago. What had the Bush administration lawyers been doing all this time? Preparing statements about how the war in Iraq has improved? Which it hasn't. Preparing statements about how the Republican candidates for president will keep the US safe? Which they won't. Shredding documents and destroying tapes? That sounds right. In any case, the final military policy bill was adopted by overwhelming margins, 370 to 49 in the House and 90 to 3 in the Senate and now the Prez is going to veto it because his minders and lawyers failed to notice Section 1083. According to the New York Times this morning, Senate sponsor of the provision, Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), said Section 1083 would “help plaintiffs in lawsuits against Iran and Libya, including relatives of Americans killed in the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 and in a Berlin disco in 1986.” But Bush’s statement yesterday said, “Exposing Iraq to such significant financial burdens would weaken the close partnership between the United States and Iraq during this critical period in Iraq’s history.” It certainly is an embarrassment for the White House and its legal staff, which is scrambling around trying to explain away why they didn’t act sooner. This lapse has exposed the Prez to even more criticism and derision than he has been experiencing recently, which says a lot. And now Senator John Warner (R-VA) looks like an idiot because he approved the bill. This morning he told the NYT, “The White House prepared a very detailed legal memorandum, and I am convinced that they are correct.” Where was this legal memorandum weeks ago, one might ask? The NYT reports that, “While removing the provision would involve only a minor amendment, the veto could reopen many of the contentious issues that stalled the legislation’s approval in the first place, including efforts by Democrats to impose conditions on spending for the military operations in Iraq.” And it looks like the Bush administration is siding with the Iraqi government over Americans who have suffered in terrorist attacks. So ridiculous!

1 comment:

Todd Dugdale said...

What surprised me is that so many Republican legislators defended the veto and essentially said they were stupid to have voted for it.

The people behind Bush have their Party in thrall. This doesn't play well with Independents, which are the largest "Party".

Virtually everything has been staked on this occupation, and everything else allowed to fall by the wayside. There simply is nothing "vital" about Iraq. The U.S. existed just fine when Saddam was in power, and it handled its business smoothly before Iraq was even created out of whole cloth by the British Empire. Even if Iraq were to transform into Paradise on Earth tomorrow, we would still face the same challenges and the same people would still oppose us.