If Bush and Cheney refuse to begin a withdrawal program, then Congress needs to act, decisively, on two fronts.
The first is to inform the president that under the Constitution, Congress has the sole power to declare war, and this Congress will no longer pay for Bush’s military adventure in Iraq. Congress should set a deadline for troop withdrawal and announce that funds for the war will be cut off on that date.
But there’s a larger problem here. Bush and Cheney have lied to the American people, taken us into war on the basis of fraudulent information, perpetrated an unjust and unjustifiable war and violated their oaths of office. Back in January, we called on Congress to begin debating articles of impeachment; the GOP-controlled House wasn’t about to do that. But things are different now. The voters have made it very clear that they don’t like the president’s war, and the Democrats have a clear mandate for change.
Impeachment is serious business, but Bush has left us no alternative. We can’t simply allow the war to continue as it has been, year after bloody year, until Bush’s term expires.
The only thing holding up impeachment hearings is the word of the incoming speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who said during the campaign that that option was “not on the table.” Well, it ought to be on the table now. Pelosi should publicly inform Democratic leaders in the House who support impeachment know that she won’t block an impeachment effort. And her constituents in San Francisco need to keep the pressure on her to allow Congress to move forward on its most important responsibility in decades.
This isn’t going to be easy. It will take a re-energized peace movement and a huge new national mobilization. But the stakes are too high to wait. It’s time to start, today.