01/22/2007 08:28 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Eyes on the Prize: Kennedy States That Congress May Have to Cut off Funding for the War

By Mark Weisbrot and Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy
Monday, January 22, 2007

"[I]f we have a president that is going to effectively defy the American people, going to defy the generals, defy the majority of the Congress of the United States, Republicans and Democrats, then we, I think, have a responsibility to, to end the funding for that - for the war."

That was Senator Ted Kennedy on Meet the Press, Sunday January 21. As we have noted previously, the media makes it difficult for Congress to play its constitutional role by reporting as though a cut off in funding would be leaving our troops to die in the desert. Kennedy alluded to this media abuse without naming the media:

"[L]et me just mention this, because it's been so abused, the statements about what - what would happen. We would have an orderly departure. We would set a time and have an orderly departure. We would make sure that our troops had the armor and had the bullets, not like the administration has when we went in, when we didn't have the armor, we didn't have the bullets, we didn't have the up-armored humvees. I hope it doesn't come to that, but we have to be prepared to do it."

Kennedy did not call for a cut off of funding for the war but merely reminded the public of Congress' "constitutional duty" and "power" - both of which Kennedy emphasized - to do this if necessary. This is important because although progressive Members of Congress such as Dennis Kucinich have called for Congress to end funding now, but having a prominent Senator like Kennedy - the second longest-serving in the Senate - make this point is important, and worth publicizing and defending.

Any number of measures that bring the Congress closer to this goal - Biden and Hagel's Senate resolution, for example - can also play an important role, but President Bush will likely continue to wage this war until a funding cut off is either voted upon or imminent, or at least becomes a credible threat because Members of Congress indicate that they are willing to take this step if necessary to compel the President's compliance with the will of the American people.

Meanwhile, ran a TV ad criticizing McCain as the father of Bush's escalation plan. A smart move on their part: McCain, the Republican front-runner for the 2008 presidential race, has long carried more than his share of support from independent and even liberal voters. He is, however, a dangerous neoconservative, and his stubborn defense of the Iraq war and its escalation are worthy of special mention.


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