Taking Responsibility

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THE PLANK JANUARY 9, 2007

Taking Responsibility

Brad makes a convincing case in his post below that Congress could easily and constitutionally find ways to tinker with or alter Bush's Iraq policy. But one of Biden's points in his "Meet The Press" appearance on Sunday was compelling, even if not legally sound:

I think it is unconstitutional to say, "We're going to tell you you can go, but we're going to micromanage the war." When we wrote the Constitution, the intention was to give the commander in chief the authority how to use the forces, when you authorize them, to be able to use the forces.

Maybe it's just the spectacle of various Congressmen and Senators, like Gordon Smith yesterday, acknowledging that the war was bungled and then, without missing a beat, blaming the Iraqis for its failure. But it was nice to hear Senator Biden say that Congress did, after all, authorize the war and give Bush the power to carry it out. This doesn't mean the legislative branch should just sit idly by while Bush digs the country into an endlessely deep hole. But any acknowledgement that Congress has some responsibility here is refreshing at a time when the politically expedient line seems to be that the pathetic Iraqis can't recognize all they've been given.

--Isaac Chotiner

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