Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bush gets his money

I'm not really disappointed, or as angry as some antiwar activists are, that Congress gave President Bush an Iraq-Afghanistan funding bill without timetables. It was eventually going to happen so long as Bush threatened to veto, and since he had discovered his veto pen on the last war funding bill there was every reason to expect him to use it again. The Democrats weren't going to get a veto-proof majority in either house, and they didn't want to be vulnerable to the charge that they were leaving troops in the field high-and-dry. The time may come when Congress does cut off the funds, but I suspect that public opinion isn't ready for it yet.

Despite understandable disppointment at this particular outcome, I think progress was made. The Democrats remembered that they won the majority largely because of growing opposition to the war, and their positions became a bit more radical as the debate went on and they didn't seem to pay any political price for at least talking about earlier and earlier withdrawal and more and more conditions on the effort. And the funding is only through September, when another reevaluation will take place, probably at a time when the American public is even more ready for this absurd war to be over.

By September, more Republicans are going to be ready to have Iraq in the rearview mirror rather than in the heeadlights as the 2008 election approaches. I suspect Bush won't end the war before he leaves office, unless something unlikely, like a stable Iraqi government and a lessening of insurgency and sectarian attacks occurs. He could be responsible for decimating the Republican Party for a generation.

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