Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More Republican Hypocrisy

Some days, if it weren't for the Intertubes, I'd despair of anyone would remember enough to hold anyone to account. One of the things that keeps people from being hypocrites is not being able to get away with it. We need a record, a memory and a willingness to call people on stuff. The MSM is pathologically ineffectual as I have lamented too often in this space, so the serial offenders just keep doing it.

I wrote earlier about how the Republicans were so keen to "Cut & Run" when Clinton was President but not so much since Boy George was given the helm. Glenn Greenwald demonstrates, yet again, their complete hypocrisy, with regard to the advisability of "Cutting & Running" and the authority of Congress to restrict the President's power to deploy troops. There is no principle involved here, this is just partisan hypocrisy.

Glenn quotes multiple statements from Republicans, including that pathetic weasel Saint John McCain, insisting that Congress had the authority to force Clinton to pull the troops out of Somolia. These same people consider such claims now to be tantamount to treason.

Sen. John McCain - October 19,1993:
And if we do not do that and other Americans die, other Americans are wounded, other Americans are captured because we stay too long--longer than necessary--then I would say that the responsibilities for that lie with the Congress of the United States who did not exercise their authority under the Constitution of the United States and mandate that they be brought home quickly and safely as possible. . . .
I can tell you what will erode our prestige. I can tell you what will hurt our viability as the world's superpower, and that is if we enmesh ourselves in a drawn-out situation which entails the loss of American lives, more debacles like the one we saw with the failed mission to capture Aideed's lieutenants, using American forces, and that then will be what hurts our prestige.
In fact, one of the very few politicians who has been consistent in his views on this question is -- unsurprisingly -- Russ Feingold, who argued then what he argues now: namely, that the Constitution vests war-making power in the Congress and that Congress can (and, in both cases, should) restrict the President's use of military force


When Bill Clinton was President, most of the country's leading Republicans did not seem to have any problem at all with Congressional "interference" in the President's decisions to deploy troops (really to maintain troop deployments, since President Bush 41 first deployed in Somalia). There wasn't any talk back then (at least from them) about the burden of "535 Commanders-in-Chief" or "Congressional incursions" into the President's constitutional warmaking authority. They debated restrictions that ought to be legislatively imposed on President Clinton's military deployments and then imposed them.

And Sen. McCain in particular made arguments in favor of Congressionally-mandated withdraw that are patently applicable to Iraq today. And he specifically argued with regard to forcible troop withdrawal that "responsibilities for that lie with the Congress of the United States." The Constitution hasn't changed since 1993, so I wonder what has prompted such a fundamental shift in Republican views on the proper role of Congressional war powers.


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