I am sure you've have heard it. Any mention of placing conditions , or restrictions on the supplemental funding for the war brings forth immediate cries of "micromanagement" from the Iraq War Supporters. Is this really true, or is it just one more Big Lie?
Come below the fold where we'll deconstruct this one and perhaps find some Truth....
Let's start off by defining micromanagement. Dictionary.com gives us this:
mi·cro·man·age : –verb (used with object), -aged, -ag·ing.
to manage or control with excessive attention to minor details.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v
1.1)Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
House Republican Leader John Boehner had this to say about a recent plan by John Murtha to place restrictions on the use of funds in the upcoming Iraq supplemental funding bill:
Not to be outdone, Condoleezza Rice said:
“His aim, he made clear, is not to improve readiness but to ‘stop the
surge.’ So why not straightforwardly strip the money out of the appropriations
bill -- an action Congress is clearly empowered to take -- rather than try to
micromanage the Army in a way that may be unconstitutional? Because, Mr. Murtha said, it will deflect accusations that he is trying to do what he is trying to
proposals being drafted by Senate Democrats to limit the war amounted to "the worst of micromanagement of military affairs."Even Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Lateline program is getting in on the act. They quote :
Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Lateline, in the same story, also had this:
ROY BLUNT, REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: It's hard to imagine a group less capable of making tactical decisions about specific troop deployments than 535 members of Congress.
NANCY PELOSI, DEMOCRAT HOUSE SPEAKER: No more blank cheques for President Bush on Iraq. Our taxpayer dollars must go to protect our troops, to keep our promises to our veterans and to provide for the safety of the American people. In light of the facts, President Bush's escalation proposal will not make America safer.and this:
TOM LANTOS, DEMOCRAT CONGRESSMAN: We are not fighting terrorism in Iraq. We are attempting to referee a religiously based civil war, which saps our strength and destroys our fabric as a society.So what is all this talk really about? Does Congress in fact have the power to set policies that control how the military operates? Has it been done before?
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution:
The Congress shall have Power to ...provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States...
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union...To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States
So it would appear that Congress does indeed have the power to govern the military. In fact, Congress has done just that from the inception of the republic. There is 5 USC CHAPTER 99 - DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE NATIONAL SECURITY PERSONNEL System passed in January 2005 (For those of you not paying attention, this was in the Republican controlled Congress). Then there is 10 USC TITLE 10 - ARMED FORCES. This entire title of the code is devoted to the governance of the armed forces of the United States. It covers everything from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
So Congress has indeed exercised its powers under the Constitution
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;They have done it under Democratic and Republican controlled Congresses. They have done it before there were Democrats and Republicans. And they should continue to do so now.
So, when you hear your Republican friends talking about Congress micromanaging the Iraq war, just point them to Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. If that doesn't work, direct their attention to 10 USC TITLE 10 - ARMED FORCES. If none of that works, you know you've got the type of Republican who voted for Allan Keyes for the Illinois Senate seat now held by Barak Obama.