POSTED: 7 FEBRUARY 2007 - 8:30am HST

The people are sovereign, not the President

US Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin

by Elizabeth DiNovella on 31 January 2007 in The Progressive

“Since the President is adamant about pursuing his failed policies in Iraq, Congress has the duty to stand up and use its power to stop him. If Congress doesn’t stop this war, it’s not because it doesn’t have the power. It’s because it doesn’t have the will,” said Senator Russ Feingold.

In language reminiscent of Fighting Bob La Follette, Feingold on January 30 implored his colleagues to do their constitutional duty. Chairing a Senate Judiciary hearing on Congress’s powers in wartime, Feingold in his opening remarks spared no one.

“In the United States of America, the people are sovereign, not the President. It is Congress’ responsibility to challenge an Administration that persists in a war that is misguided and that the country opposes. We cannot simply wring our hands and complain about the Administration’s policy. We cannot just pass resolutions saying ‘your policy is mistaken.’ And we can’t sit idly by and tell ourselves that it’s the President’s job to fix the mess he made. It’s our job to fix the mess, and if we don’t do so we are abdicating our responsibilities.”

Only two other Democrats joined Feingold at the hearing, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Republican Alren Specter of Pennsylvania, the former chair of the Judiciary Committee, was also in attendance. According to The New York Times, Specter said a clash over Constitutional powers appears to be “imminent.” Specter also said at the hearing, “I would respectfully suggest to the President that he is not the sole decider. . . . The decider is a joint and shared responsibility.”

Feingold said he will introduce legislation today that would “prohibit the use of funds to continue the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq six months after enactment.”

But will other Democrats, especially those with desires to be Commander in Chief, act to stop the war?

“Those (Democrats) who are timid on this, who are they listening to?” Feingold told The Politico on January 26. “The people don’t want is to talk just about ending the escalation. They think this whole war is wrong.”

[Editor's Note: Write now to your Senators now to express your opinion on the debate of the escalatio of the War in Iraq (and its expansion to Iran). Below is a sample letter I recently wrote on this issue.

For those living in Hawaii - To write Inouye I had to go to his website and use an online form here Akaka can be reached directly at Include your address and zip code in any email to Akaka. He prioritizes communication from Hawaii.

Senator Daniel Inouye & Daniel Akaka:

Are you still voting to "support the troops"? The arguement for that spurious position goes like this - "We have to honor our dead troops by spending money to keep our troops in harms way, and then sending more of troops into the fray to make sure those already there more secure."

That's a self-destructive feedback loop. It won't sell anymore. Just remember, in 1975, after ten miserable years, it took congress cutting off funds to President Ford to actually end the War in Vietnam.

George Bush is going the wrong way. With the support forces necessary to backup the escalation of 21,500 additonal combat troops, we could be topping 200,000 American service members in Iraq. That's a mammoth war effort in support of a 1000 year olds tribal civil war.

Our delusional Commander in Chief is heading for his own Armagaddon. Don't take us with him.

It is time you and other Democrats, showed the courage Russ Feingold has shown on this issue. Make a move to extract America from what has become a lose-lose situation. We are now four years into the Iraqnam (or Vietraq) with no end in site...

Please cut off the funding of the Iraq War! Support our troops by funding efforts to bring them home safely. Our job is done. We freed the people of Iraq to do whatever they choose. Forget the PR was with the Republicans and their scheming and weasling.

I realize that the implications of us getting out of Iraq will be the loss of US influence in the Middle East; Loss of face; Weakening of our economy; and much, much more. But, that has already begun. It is the necessary result of a failed and disastrous set of policies. There will be a hangover - but the sooner we stop drinking the Kool-Aid, the better off we will be.

And as to Iran - that country has almost three times the population and four times the area of Iraq. Iran has an intact and technically sophisticated military with a stranglehold on the Gulf of Hormuz (where all the oil tankers leaving the Persian Gulf pass). There is little reason to believe that we can stop Iran from developing whatever nuclear technology they persue. We could not stop Pakistan, and that is the country where Osama Bin Lauden has his sanctuary.

Iran also has a powerful covert network of agents controlling organizations, like Hamas, that can make life difficult for US interests throughout the world. For a demonstration, just remember what happened in Lebanon last summer.

Iran is essentially an ally of the US. They helped us in Afganistan and, as Shia, have been an enemy of Sunni extremism from the start. Al Qaeda and Iran are not on the same side in the civil war in Iraq.

I think that getting into a simultaneous war with Afganistan, Iraq and Iran will bring America to its knees. As our representatives, it will be on your head if you don't stop Bush now! Stand up for us while there is time.

Juan Wilson

see also
Island Breath: End War Petition
Island Breath: The Cyclops has no Loincloth 1/2007
Island Breath: Get out of Iraq Now 1/2007
Island Breath: It a Civil War 2/2006
Island Breath: Iraq Conspiracy 2/2006
Island Breath: End Iraq War 1/2006
Island Breath: Tell Bush War is Over 8/2005
Island Breath: Bring Troops Home 7/2005