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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Pulling punches

    It’s a rare day that we find ourselves agreeing with House Minority Leader John Boehner, but the gravel-voiced Ohio Republican was right to denounce the Democrats’ Iraq nonbinding war resolution as “”shadowboxing.”” And if the most recent news reports are to be believed, the Democrats’ plans for the future of Iraq are even more worrisome.

    You can be forgiven if you haven’t heard much about the resolution that passed the U.S. House of Representatives Friday – it was a nonbinding resolution, or the equivalent of saying, “”Do what we say, but never mind if you don’t.”” It was, in not so many words, a resolution without resolve.

    Even so, while outraged Republicans were making the rounds on the cable news networks, House Democrats had already moved on, quietly forming a plan to block the administration’s ability to manage the war in Iraq.

    Foremost among the Democratic conspirators is Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., a powerful member of the House Appropriations Committee who hopes to limit the administration’s ability to send troops to Iraq.

    “”What we’re looking at is making sure that the troops have the equipment they need, make sure they have the training they need, make sure they’re home at least a year before they’re redeployed,”” Murtha told National Public Radio Wednesday. “”We want to limit sending troops back before they’ve had the appropriate training and equipment.””

    Murtha’s plan will surely come as a relief to military families, many of whom are surely overburdened as their fathers, mothers, sisters and spouses are deployed (and redeployed) for lengthy tours to Iraq. And requiring the Pentagon to fully equip and train troops before they’re sent to the streets of Baghdad would seem a common-sense approach.

    But while Murtha’s plan might seem innocuous enough, its implications have grave logistical and constitutional implications.

    What Murtha fails to mention is that his plan will effectively hamstring the administration’s ability to conduct the war, leaving little room for the president to refresh or reinforce the troops already in Iraq. While this might indirectly accomplish the Democrats’ goal of de-escalating the conflict in Iraq, it only increases the strain on battle-weary troops in need of reinforcements.

    Murtha’s suggestions also raise troubling constitutional questions. While Congress is certainly authorized to fund the war, no constitutional provision authorizes it to micromanage how troops are trained and deployed.

    Thus, to accept Murtha’s proposals would represent a dangerous perversion of a long-established constitutional principle – that the president (and only the president) bears the sole responsibility of deciding how to exercise military power.

    What’s more, it would set a precedent that could not easily be ignored by future presidents. Indeed, the Democrats who are so swiftly aligning themselves with Murtha’s plan would do well to consider a reversal of fortune. Would they be so quick to endorse this congressional overreach if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama were facing off against a Republican Congress?

    Murtha’s plan is, at the very least, astute political maneuvering, allowing the Democrats to force the administration to draw down troop levels under the guise of protecting America’s soldiers. It’s also likely that Murtha sees his policy as a boon to American troops.

    Whatever the motivation, though, pulling political punches will surely not save American lives.

    Opinions Board

    Editorials are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Damion LeeNatali, Stan Molever, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stone.

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