Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Someone please explain

Will one of my readers please explain to me (and I ask this question with all sincerity) how not passing any sort of funding at all for the continuation of the Iraq war would be materially bad for anti-war progressives?

I'm not concerned with the propaganda value of such an action. The last time right-wing pro-war propaganda had anything to do with any actual facts was... well, never.

So let's assume that one way or another, the progressive minority in Congress could somehow successfully block any and all supplemental funding for the Iraq war. How would this be bad? The equation seems simple: No money, no war. Am I missing something?


  1. Money for a war also includes any moneys that would be used for withdrawal. So, even if the Congress had the power to dictate the deployment of the armed forces (which, if it got off its ass and actually tried exercising the goddamn War Powers Act, it might in this instance), it would still need to appropriate funding.

  2. According to your cost counter, it takes the U.S. military 12 seconds to spend what I make in a year, pre-tax.

  3. I don't buy it. The Pentagon has to have enough change in the cushions to transport the troops home even if no additional supplemental financing is passed.

  4. One would think so, but that's unfortunately not how governmental budgeting rules work. Because of accounting standards, you have to use money for what it's earmarked for. If you don't use it, it gets sent back, not diverted to other funds. Of course, 40% of the Pentagon budget is "black": given in lump sum for unspecified projects (DARPA, Special Forces, Defense Intelligence Agency, etc.). But it's technically illegal to shift funds from one project to another. That's why they've been hiding the costs of the war with supplemental appropriations.

    Essentially, the system has never been fixed from when Teddy Roosevelt bullied Congress into giving him more funds for the Navy. He sent THE WHOLE NAVY halfway around the world and said, "Give me my money, bitches, or the Navy stays in the Philippines forever." You'd think Congress would have done something about it, but they didn't.

    "Soldiers Killed by Red Tape" makes for a rather more ignominious end to the whole debacle.

  5. All right, I'll buy a piece of it. But still: Keep the fully-funded withdrawal on the table, ready to pass quickly, and hold the line on anything else.

    I've heard the war is fully funded until September-ish, no? There's no need to pass anything in a hurry.


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