Newspaper logo  
 
 
   Funding a Fragile Occupation of Iraq

COMMENTARY:

Funding a Fragile Occupation of Iraq

by Ali Khan

Congress’s power to make appropriations carries with it the power to make changes in foreign policy, which is otherwise the sole prerogative of the President. In attaching strings to the funding, however, Congress must use its political will wisely and effectively. Congress cannot degrade the President before the global community, for that would harm the nation as a whole.
Paul Bremer comes across as a decent guy working to bring democracy to Iraq. Yet the occupation he superintends remains fragile. His government has failed to accomplish law and order. Terrorists are descending in Iraq to fight, die and kill. Muslim countries are refusing to send troops. The rhetoric of a just war is losing its pitch and momentum. Here in the US, partisan politics has surfaced to challenge the President’s reasons to go to war. In a harsh indictment, Senator Edward Kennedy has accused the Bush administration of waging a fraudulent war made up in Texas.

Now, the question is whether Congress should provide $87 billion (and more later) that the administration has requested to maintain the occupation until “the job is done.”

It is unlikely that Congress would deny the first installment of requested funds, for any such rejection would be viewed as ingratitude toward American soldiers--dead, wounded and still fighting. Also, a Congress-Executive split would be celebrated in terrorist headquarters as the first signs of an eventual retreat. Furthermore, Washington’s international credibility would suffer as nations across the world see America as a Giant that acts impulsively, and even lawlessly, but cannot persevere under pressure.

The argument that Congress voted for war and not for occupation, though elegantly made by Senator Robert Byrd, has no merit. Occupation was a foreseeable consequence of war, despite rosy promises the President made about the ease and durability of victory. President was perhaps wrong in his assessment of costs and benefits of war. The fact, however, cannot be denied that the US invaded Iraq for the long haul. Everybody in Washington knew that, or should have known that.

Congress is therefore trapped in the logic of fait accompli, a logic that first accomplishes facts on the ground and then forces its critics to cope with reality. The President has presented a fait accompli to Congress, as the occupation of Iraq is a reality that Congress must deal with. Congress simply cannot say to the President, “Bring the troops home,” for so much is at stake.

If Congress refuses to appropriate requested funds, foreign nations will become even less cooperative. International donors will be even more reluctant to finance the occupation. Even coalition partners will face increased domestic pressure to withdraw their troops from Iraq. The people of the United Kingdom, for example, have already begun to challenge the wisdom of occupation. Any withholding of funds might force the President to order a premature withdrawal of troops--a scenario that will benefit no one, not even the people of Iraq.

For right now, therefore, Congress cannot in good faith deny funds to the Bremer government. Yet, Congress is under no obligation to finance the occupation with no strings attached. The Constitution empowers Congress “to provide for the common defense [and] to raise and support armies.” Congressional appropriations should not be viewed as mere monies. These appropriations are indeed ratification of purposes for which the monies would be used. The power to make appropriations carries with it the power to make changes in foreign policy, which is otherwise the sole prerogative of the President.

Congress, for example, may require the President to seek an appropriate United Nations Security resolution that allocates the burden as well as the authority of occupation to other nations. The Bremer government will be more effective if it is answerable to an international advisory group drawn from countries that the people of Iraq truly trust. Congress can use the power of the purse to force the Bush administration to shun its isolationism and consult other nations.

In attaching strings to the funding, Congress must use its political will wisely and effectively. Congress cannot degrade the President before the global community, for that would harm the nation as a whole. At the same, Congress simply cannot finance an occupation that seems to be going nowhere, that has alienated the United States in the world community, and that continues to bring death and injury to American soldiers who have been asked to patrol the streets, schools, and hospitals of a nation that refuses to be grateful. Congress must provide adequate funds to the Bremer government--but not without conditions.


Ali Khan is professor of law at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. His other publications are available here.


Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on October 20, 2003.
  
Bookmark and Share
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

04.16 Who Goes to Jail? Matt Taibbi on American Injustice Gap from Wall Street to Main Street

04.13 Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

04.17 America Could Get More and More Super-Freezing Winters [graphs]

04.17 The Neoliberal Turn in American Health Care

04.17 “Awesome in its evilness”: How to make GOP pay for its Medicaid nightmare

04.16 Here's What Fracking Can Do to Your Health

04.16 Coal Returns to German Utilities Replacing Lost Nuclear

04.16 People of Color Are Disproportionately Hurt by Air Pollution [graphs]

04.15 He Tells the Clintons How to Lose a Little

04.15 Global Solar Power generation Increased by 1/3 In 2013 Alone (with Charts)

04.15 While You Were Watching 'Game of Thrones,' Neil deGrasse Tyson Shared His Solution to Global Warming

04.15 Turns Out, You Can Make Solar Panels Work in Cloudy Cities [video]

04.15 Surge in deaths of environmental activists over past decade, report finds

04.14 IPCC report: the scientists have done their bit, now it is up to us

04.14 IPCC climate report: a route map for civilisation's greatest journey

04.14 Entire marine food chain at risk from rising CO2 levels in water

04.14 IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable

04.14 UN climate change report on how to cut emissions [1:50 video, report summary]

News Media

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters

04.09 How to Secede From the Union, One Judicial Vacancy at a Time

04.08 The Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act. What Happened Next in These 8 States Will Not Shock You.

04.08 Paid-For Legislature Takes Teacher Tenure From Thousands In Kansas

US Politics, Policy & Culture

04.18 9 Maps that Show How The GOP is Destroying Southern States

04.17 How Rand Paul Bailed on His Bold Plan to Reform Big-Money Politics in Washington

04.17 Resegregation in the American South

04.17 U.S. States Revive Debtors’ Prisons

04.16 Study: American policy exclusively reflects desires of the rich; citizens' groups largely irrelevant

04.16 5 Ways Nevada Rancher Militia Resembles Pakistan’s Taliban

04.16 Rick Perry Dismantled Texas' Public Integrity Unit. Now He's Facing a Grand Jury.

04.16 7 Reasons U.S. Infrastructure Projects Cost Way More Than They Should

04.15 Why Darrell Issa's New IRS Scandal Accusation Makes No Sense

04.15 Christopher Whalen: The death of mortgage lending

04.15 In Many Cities, Rent Is Rising Out of Reach of Middle Class

04.14 EPA's Power Plant Rules Top Target If Republicans Take Senate

04.14 Criminalizing People Who Live in Cars Is a New Low in the War on the Poor

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

04.18 Inequality and the Inevitable Collapse

04.18 Privatization is a Ramp for Corruption and Insouciance is a Ramp for War

04.17 Putin Bank Trail Runs From Communist Cash to Billionaires

04.17 What Happened to Canada?

04.15 The Global Banking Game Is Rigged, and the FDIC Is Suing

04.15 Bernie Sanders Raises Battle Cry Against Citizens United: ‘I Vote for Democracy!’

04.15 Thomas Piketty and Millennial Marxists on the Scourge of Inequality

04.14 Triumph of the Drill: How Big Oil Clings to Billions in Government Giveaways

04.13 Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is a bad deal

04.12 Franken’s Campaign Against Comcast Is No Joke

04.11 Biggest Credit Bubble in History Flashes Warning – ‘Seek Cover’

04.10 Dick Cheney, Rand Paul, and the Possibility of Malign Leaders

04.09 When Predatory Equity Hit the Big Apple

International

04.18 Ukraine crisis: Deal to 'de-escalate' agreed in Geneva

04.17 US financial showdown with Russia is more dangerous than it looks, for both sides

04.16 On Eve of Pope’s visit to Israel, Radical Israeli Settlers attack Christian Village

04.16 'We Will Shoot Back': All Eyes on Russia as Ukraine Begins Offensive in East

04.15 Russia faces being 'frozen out' by west over Ukraine

04.14 Don't be nostalgic about Tony Blair. His effect on Britain and beyond was toxic

04.12 CIA and White House under pressure after Senate torture report leaks

04.11 Satellite images reveal Russian military buildup on Ukraine's border

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web


Public Service Ads: