Thursday night offered just one more of those moments where one has to wonder at the incompetence of our leaders in Washington. Consider this response by Senator John Warner (R-Clueless) on the NewsHour:
MARGARET WARNER: Senator Warner, you said something to General Abizaid, which we did quote in our piece or show in our piece, but you said -- and let me see if I can read this -- that, basically if we see a civil war really erupt, that the administration may have to come back to Congress for a new authorization to maintain troops there. What were you -- is that what you mean? Do you think that's the case, that basically you all didn't sign up for staying on in a civil war?
SEN. JOHN WARNER: I was one of the co-authors of that resolution, and I went back here recently and re-examined it very carefully. And you go back to the Constitution. Our president has the authority as commander in chief of the Armed Forces to deploy them to the far-flung places in the world to protect our freedom here at home. That he has done.
And now the question is to Congress, only the Congress can declare war. Well, factually we haven't declared any situation to be war since World War II. So what we do from time to time is pass the resolutions.
Funny how he just accepts that. When you consider the long string of "police actions" and unofficial wars the US has engaged in over the decades -- Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait (and I'm sure I'm forgetting a dozen others) -- the batting average isn't very high. The first Persian Gulf "war" was perhaps the only qualified "victory" out of that list -- and if the cowardly Congress actually stood for something, they might have even declared war, such was that conflict's popularity.
Congress has been good at weaseling out of taking responsibility when it comes to sending our troops into combat. They were mice after 9/11.
But now we have not just a question of backbone and integrity, but also a question of competence. Consider what Sen. Warner say next:
So to an extent, Congress plays a role in supporting the president's authority in the Constitution to employ our forces. Now, the resolution in my judgment was drawn up at a time when none of us, from the president on down, could ever envision the seriousness of this situation now, in terms of sectarian violence, and -- and I underline -- just the possibility of a civil war.
In trying to appear strong and knowledgeable, the Republican Senator offers a proud declaration of ignorance and incompetence. Everybody I knew saw nothing but trouble coming from invading Iraq. We weren't buying the baloney coming from Bush and Cheney. It just didn't make sense. And Colin Powell's kangaroo court presentation to the UN just before the invasion started would not have stood up in your average Law & Order episode. (I'm convinced the writing staff would have sent that illogic back into rewrites.)
I'm wondering how Senator Warner managed to get into office and put himself forward as some kind of authority on international affairs. The man offers a boatload of crap analysis in this segment of the NewsHour Thursday night. Why should we believe him -- or the President or Cheney or Rice or Rumsfeld or any of these wishful-thinking nincompoops -- when their bubble-world lives prevented them from hearing what we all were shouting during the drum-beat run-up to invading Iraq (rather than truly going after al-Qaeda)?
Stupid is as stupid does. Arrogant is as arrogant does. That nasty combination comes in spades in our government leadership. And long after they're gone, enjoying their fattened pensions and pork-guaranteed jobs in "the private sector," we'll be paying the price.
And so will our children.
And their children's children.
This is the worst government America has had ever. I remember when the whole world was with us after 9/11. Look at things now. We stand against most of the world. And everywhere we've tried to "do something," it's turned to shit. We have Bush, Cheney and the Republican Congress to thank for all of it.