Howard and the gangÂ were on week two of their summer break, so it wasÂ radio oatmeal for my brain this week: C-Span’s Washington Journal. I was groggy, so I am not sure if it was Brian Lamb himself who said it, but it certainly did get me out of bed, when he said regarding Iraq that it’s best if we not focus on how we got here but instead figure out what to do now.
This conventional wisdom is a fly in the ointment that has contributed mightily to Pelosi Congress I’s palsy on the subject of Iraq. Focusing on how we got here is precisely what Congress should have been doing from day one; it should be the long-term overriding mission of the Democrats. There should be hearing after hearing on the subject, the sun overÂ K Street should be blotted outÂ withÂ subpoeanas soaring through the air, and it should have been so immediately following the Speaker’s public relations blitz known as the 100 hours.
While prevailing conventional wisdom isÂ persuading more congressmen toward ending or curtailing the American occupation of Iraq, it still doesn’t get it right. As Scott Ritter slyly noted recently, it’s not that a majority of Americans have gone anti-war. It’s that they don’t like to lose.
With that mindset, DemocratsÂ focused their get-out efforts on military spending bills that had slim mathematical prospects of passage.Â They didn’t have the votes. TheyÂ didn’t win enough seats to have the votes. In the Senate, they had one dedicated DINO and one true Democrat with a pesky cerebral arteriovenous malformation, which left the Senate ice cold and the HouseÂ lukewarm. Trying to legislateÂ the curent president out of this occupation was showing up to a gunfight with a whoopie cushion.Â Meanwhile, they’veÂ had aÂ bunker-buster in the basement and have so far barelyÂ gotten it out to wash and wax itâ€”Oversight.
They have certainly unleashed oversightÂ on other targets. Congressional hearings have left Alboo Gonzoo, the Attorney General to the President of the United States, as a fallenÂ Saddam statue himself, nearly fully dragging on the ground. They also forced a former DOJ official to actuallyÂ admit that theÂ “caging” was used in an official capacity.Â Every hearing held on every subject has seemed to reveal some profoundly jaw-dropping headline.Â And, bear in mind, it was hearings, not legislation, that forced a corrupt president to resign when I was but a pup.Â My Grandma had the hearings on the TV day after day after day, so regularly that I assumed they were just another soap opera.
That should have been this Congress’ focus, not legislation. Get these assholes in front of committees and cameras. Inquire. Subpoena. Make them say “I don’t remember” a thousand times. Force them to consider risking contempt. Show the American public, day after day after day, what a bunch of lying, thieving, incompetent, stupid bastards led us into this ridiculous, far too costly occupation of Iraq. Grab headlines. Uncover every dirty little nasty truth about Iraq that you can, and then run on it in 2008 and beyond, use it to cement a truly veto-proof majority. THEN’s when you get to vote to end it.
There is another larger purpose that this Congress should haveÂ more vigorously emphasized oversight than it has, and why Mr. Lamb, at least I think it was Mr. Lamb, was so incredibly mistaken in chanting the prevailing conventional wisdom: Determining how we got here is essential if even the semblance of democracy is to be saved in these Untied States. Congress must determine why and howÂ Congress allowed itself to beÂ led around by the nose ring by a rogue White House. It must act now to reassert its power for the next time we get a cowboy executive. We need a War Powers Act 2007, and it needs to have not just teeth, but fangs. This can only come about by blasting sunshine on this Dirty Big War, and by coming to a more honest conventional wisdom, that what’s wrong with Iraq wasn’t the mission’s execution, but that we even undertook it in the first place.
Thank goodness Howard Stern returns live on Monday. Baba booey to ya’ll.