The Elections, National Security Policy, and Wars


Democrats need to decide tomorrow whether they collaborate with George Bush in co-owning the tremendous mess in America’s national security portfolio — or whether they cut a new course.
For sure, secret CIA detention centers will be de-funded and investigations of everything from intelligence stove-piping and cherry-picking to the no-bid contracts that Halliburton and other defense contractors received will be initiated.
One of the things the recess-appointed US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton never got high on his roster was an investigation into what happened to the $9 billion that disappeared without a trace during the reign of Paul Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority. Congressman and Super-Investigator Henry Waxman, I hear, really wants to know.
But the key thing is that this election will rob from the White House the ability to close down filibusters in the Senate.
The House will constrain and condition funding bills.
But if the Senate fails to turn to Democrats — which I hope it does not — then George Bush will remain the “accountable party” for decisions during the two years, and we will see “responsible” Republicans slowly peel away from supporting the White House as Dems shine the spotlight on scandal after scandal.
Not only Iraq. Not only Feith and Chalabi. Not only Halliburton.
But we will be back into Cheney’s energy policy and secret meeting with industry players. Back to Abramoff. Back to Tom DeLay’s brand of pay for play. Back to Enron, Tyco and the rest.
We will see a modern version of “public hangings” in the US Capitol — but without the coroners, and the Bush administration will be cornered as the result of today’s likely modest shift in control of the House of Representatives.
Checks and balances will be back when the Dems score at least 218 seats in the House.
— Steve Clemons


7 comments on “The Elections, National Security Policy, and Wars

  1. Izzy says:

    The pillory stakes are being sunk into the ground and the kindling-wood for the burnings are being gathered. Its Retribution Day in America. Already attorneys in the belt way are sharpening their tounges and preparing subpena forms. Let the purge begin. Rummy first, and then, on to impeachment hearings. Oh what joy for the Dem party faithful and their Lefty thralls.
    As the Dems engage in this time-honored festival of political pay-backs, do not foregt that this nation is at war with the global Jihadists. They will watch with glee as the erstwhile Dems deconstruct our intelligence-gathering and counter-terror infrstructure. They will make note of which defenses are weakened and the NYT revealed entry-points into Fortress America. These Shahids-in-waiting eagerly await the purge of America’s watchful to be replaced by a EURO-style “progressive” approach to addressing the so-called “greivences” of the Islamic fundmentalists.
    Unfortunately, the well of awareness of the Jihadist threat has been poisened by the Dems in their aggressive efforts to discredit the Bush administartion. Their mantra has been, “…its only a scare-tactic by the NeoCons to take away our rights ..”.
    Well OK fellow Americans, the day has arrived. Tag the Repubs are it. Let’s see if they really pay the cumuppence to their left-wing foot soilders who feverishly worked for them. Let’s see how they handle; Iraq, Afganistan, Syria, Iran, and Isreal/Palestine. Let’s see whether they flinch at the next terror attck. Let’s just see if multi-lateral discussions with OUR enemies is truely the rightous path to peace.
    Personally, I doubt it. Let’s see.


  2. Carroll says:

    I hope the dems realize they willed turn on just as fast in 2008 if they don’t light some fires.
    Please spare me Harry Reid and his nonpartisanship crapola…he makes me sick. If they try to use nonpartisanship as an excuse to not to bring the guilty to account they might as well dissolve their party, they will never rise again.


  3. daCascadian says:
    Karma Hunters on the loose and have plenty of support, top to bottom across all demographics.
    “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.” – Otto von Bisma


  4. Caitlyn says:

    I’ll be happy to start the democratic house with openness – hearings on the war, hearings on corruption, hearings on budget issues. The incoming democrats don’t have to have answers the first day – and things will be better if they inform the population at the same time they inform themselves and give policy options a public airing. When the Baker-Hamilton recommendations come out, give them high profile hearings, and open them to people who feel that ideas were left out as well. After information and ideas are aired, then worry about pressing forward for particular policies.


  5. Dan Kervick says:

    You say: “But if the Senate fails to turn to Democrats, which I hope it does not, then George Bush will remain the “accountable party” for decisions during the two years.”
    I’m afraid it won’t work out this way. I have already posted on this topic at Matthew Yglesias’s site and at Democracy Arsenal, so I’ll be brief: starting as soon as the new Congress is sworn in, the clock starts on a divided government, whether the Senate is Democratic or Republican. The voters are totally pissed off about Iraq and have sent a new government with a Democratic House to Washington to pick up the ball Bush has dropped. They expect results, whether we think those expectations are reasonable or not. If the new Congress does not succeed in turning things in a positive direction, *both* parties will be blamed in 2008 – including the House Democrats who will be seen as the new “do-nothing Congress.”


  6. Punchy says:

    I may be the most pessimistic, cynical person in America, but I foresee many of these subpoenas issued by the House go unheeded/ignored. Specifically, any that involve Bush, Cheney, or Rumsfeld. I can see them incredibly invoking “Article 2”, or the AUMF, and pushing the constitutional crisis, to which the SC will be forced to chose partisan politics or the Constitution. And that’s a toss-up with these guys.


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