While some in the media are holding out hope that the White House will sit down like adults and work with the congressional conference committee to agree on language that Bush will actually sign, it must be said that this is deluded and wishful thinking. Because Bush wants to veto this bill -- for several political reasons.
Archive of Articles for March, 2007
Because it's hard to reconcile federal law which states that if you are a certain race (Native American) you are allowed to use an illegal drug (peyote) with your religious ceremony, the practice of many Christian sects which use a legal drug (wine) as a sacrament, and the fact that Rastafarians can be arrested for being caught using their illegal sacrament (ganja). Legally, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
But then common sense has never been a strong point of the Drug War.
So forgive me for wanting to change the channel when I hear DiFi (as she is familiarly know to her California constituents) waxing indignant over Gonzales' actions on television news. I would much prefer to hear a more consistent and believable Democratic Senator. Like Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (D-VT), for example.
Now consider the following:
* The French monarchy had Justinian law, which clearly stated: "Rex solutus est a legibus" ("The King is released from the laws"). George Bush had legal advisors John Yoo and Alberto Gonzales insisting on the concept of a "unitary executive" (basically, "the executive, especially in times of war, is absolute and must not defer to the other branches of government").
The first part of the legislation is a brilliant idea championed by Jack Murtha. It is a masterful bit of legislative jiujitsu that turns the tables on Republicans (which is why they've been so terrified of it, and why right-wing pundits have been personally attacking Murtha ever since he came up with the idea). Murtha's idea is to tie Bush's hands by requiring any soldiers deployed to Iraq to be (1) fully trained, (2) fully equipped, and (3) have had the adequate rest time off the battlefield which Pentagon regulations require. You can see why Republicans are terrified of the prospect of voting against such an idea -- how can you say you "support the troops" if you vote against any of these common-sense ideas which actually do support the troops instead of just paying lip service to the idea? But since the Republicans have been making such a stink, Pelosi has seemingly softened the language a bit, by adding a loophole whereby Bush could send untrained, unequipped and unrested soldiers into Iraq by personally signing off a waiver for them to go, no matter what the Pentagon said. Although the mainstream media is painting this as somehow "backing down" from Murtha's original stance, it is also a brilliant way to paint Bush into a corner. If troops were demonstrably not ready to go, and Bush signed off on them anyway, then he will be the one to pay the political price with the military families and the public at large.
While the article does not conclusively prove that the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Veterans Administration (VA) are intentionally doing so in order to save money, it does raise many disturbing questions. Questions that should be addressed by congressional committees, and by the new blue-ribbon commission (headed by Bob Dole and Donna Shalala) charged with investigating the state of veterans' health care.