Congressman Mark Souder voted against the $124 billion House legislation which would pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year but would require that combat troops come home from Iraq before September 2008 – or earlier if the Iraqi government did not meet certain requirements. The Senate planned to begin debate Monday on its own war spending bill, which also calls for a troop withdrawal. Bush has threatened to veto both bills.
Despite the November election, which clearly indicated public dissatisfaction and a tremendous decrease in support for the war in Iraq and its current management, Mark Souder refuses to take a stand on ending the debacle in Iraq. His rationale? The Democrats are trying to micromanage the war.
Souder commented, “It’s one thing for Congress to provide advice to our generals in Iraq,” he said. “It’s something else to tie their hands. This bill would do exactly that. There is a reason why we have one commander in chief – and Congress does not perform that role.”
Souder conveniently disregards the fact that the Constitution gives Congress the right to manage funding in Article I, Section 8, Clause 12.
The Clause reads, “Congress shall have the power to raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years.” Article I, Section 8, Clause 13 gives Congress the authority to provide and maintain a Navy. It reads, “Congress shall have the power to provide and maintain a Navy.” Thus, Congress has been given the authority and responsibility to fund these services.
When presidents, as Commanders-in-Chief, choose to mire our country in unjust conflicts that have no hope of success, Congress must take responsibility by stepping in and controling presidential mismanagement by using its funding power. The president and his supporters, Souder among them, have had four years to handle Iraq. It hasn’t been done, and it is time to withdraw.
Congress has shirked its war-making power for too long, allowing presidents to determine when and where on this globe we will commit armed troops. The time has come for Congress, including Representative Souder, to use the powers it was given to reign in the President and his ill-fated excursion into Iraq.
Congress is well within its powers to determine funding for the Iraq conflict. If Congress determines to cut off funding, then the President is obligated to listen – something he seems loathe to do.