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.
  
Local Gov’t Stories, Events

08.15 RIDE FOR THE OVERRIDE

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

12.08 How Do American Students Compare to Their International Peers?

12.07 What America Can Learn About Smart Schools in Other Countries

Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

12.08 Portland's Answer to Climate Denial? Local Action

12.08 Meet the High-Tech Buses of Tomorrow [perhaps smaller, non-polluting buses can come twice as often, too]

12.08 Mapping the Inundation of New York City

12.08 Leonardo DiCaprio meets Trump as climate sceptic appointed

12.08 Trump picks climate change sceptic Scott Pruitt to lead EPA

12.07 Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Is a Full-on Privatization Assault

12.07 Trump advisors aim to privatize oil-rich Indian reservations [drill, pump, burn, breathe, die]

12.07 Thousands of snow geese die in Montana after landing on contaminated water

12.07 Five west African countries ban 'dirty diesel' from Europe

12.07 London mayor to double funding to tackle air pollution

12.07 Donald Trump supports 'clean coal' – but does it really have a future?

12.07 Google, Apple, Facebook race towards 100% renewable energy target

12.07 Google Says It Will Run Entirely on Renewable Energy in 2017

12.05 Trump's pick for key health post known for punitive Medicaid plan

12.05 Asleep at the Wheel: German Leaders at Odds with Industry over Electric Cars

12.05 Dakota Access Pipeline Permit Denied

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

12.07 Democrats Need to Embrace Progressivism or Else Move Out of the Way

12.07 Forget Air Force One, Pentagon Wastes Billions and Billions Every Month

12.06 Why Does Donald Trump Lie About Voter Fraud?

12.06 FIGHTING FOR THE POOR UNDER TRUMP

12.06 Want to Bring Back Jobs, Mr. President-Elect? Call Elon Musk [dare to be smart]

12.06 Jamie Raskin Has a Fierce, Funny Message for Dispirited Democrats

12.06 Career of Trump's Top Ethics Lawyer Marred by Questionable Ethics

Justice Matters

12.07 President Obama’s Last Chance to Show Mercy

12.06 Did Trump’s Son-In-Law Finance Israeli Extremists and Illegal Settlements?

High Crimes?

12.05 Sea Shepherd activists set sail for Antarctic to battle Japanese whalers

Economics, Crony Capitalism

12.08 Who Won the 'Make the Most Meaningless Thomas Friedman Graph' Contest? [humor with graphs, because we need some!]

12.08 In the UK, Pfizer and a partner hiked anti-epilepsy drug price 2600% overnight [bring out the guillotine]

12.08 “We’ll Look at Everything”: More Thoughts on Trump’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

12.04 TRUMP SETS PRIVATE PRISONS FREE

12.04 WHY TRUMP SHOULD SPEND OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY

International

12.08 After Choi-gate

12.08 France's honest tax system crusader convicted for hiding millions of euros

12.06 FAIR’s big play: Onetime fringe group hopes to drive Donald Trump’s immigration policy

12.06 Brazil's Senate president ousted over embezzlement charges

12.06 Brazil grapples with lynch mob epidemic: 'A good criminal is a dead criminal'

12.06 Before the article 50 court battle, there was May v Merkel

12.06 Austrians celebrate far right defeat: 'the first good election result this year'

12.05 Euro falls to 20-month low after Italy government's referendum defeat

12.05 'A storm is gathering on the horizon': Chinese scholars fret about Trump

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: