By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
Congress has become a silent partner in the killing that has been going on in Iraq, unabated.
Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans want to stop the war now, they have succumbed to the pressure of the Bush Administration.
Itâ€™s time every single member of the Democrat-controlled Congress realized that: 1) the Bush Administration will not end this war until they are forced to, and 2) it is wrong to wait until September or October to stop the killing.
Congress has the power to stand up to Bush and end this war right now–before the summer break.
Congress can pass a resolution de-authorizing the Iraq war TODAY and call on the President to redeploy ALL of our troops in six months.
Article 1 of the US Constitution gives the Congress, not the President, the right to declare war. And the War Powers Act specifies that the President may not continue a war without Congressional authorization. In 2002, Congress passed a resolution authorizing the Iraq war because the administration claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda.
Saddam is dead. There never were any WMDs or ties to Al Qaeda. Therefore the basis for the 2002 war authorization is gone.
If Congress passes a resolution de-authorizing the war, the President has no legal authority to continue.
De-authorization cannot be vetoed, and it would legally require Bush to begin bringing the troops home. If the President stalled on redeployment, Congress could pass funding legislation requiring him to withdraw.
Congress lost an opportunity last month when it caved before the administration and passed an Iraq war spending bill without a timetable for withdrawal. But it is not too late. If Congress de-authorizes the war before the summer recess, our troops could be home in six months.
The American people elected Democrats last November to end Bushâ€™s war. It is time for Congress to do what it was elected to do. It is time to stop deferring to a stubborn president who persists in a failed policy.
Some Democrats say â€œwait.â€ Wait for the fifth anniversary of the original war authorization, wait for General Petraeusâ€™s report on the effects of the escalation, wait for George Bush to see the light.
Well, the time for waiting is over. People are dying every day. If Congress doesnâ€™t act before they leave for the summer, the only thing that will change between now and the end of the year is the body count.
We can use the leverage of our complete withdrawal to bring the warring factions to the negotiating table. Our continued presence in Iraq enables the factions to delay the necessary compromises and fuels the insurgency by feeding the belief held by most Iraqis that the US is in Iraq to occupy that country indefinitely and to plunder their oil.
That is why we must remove ALL the troops as soon as possible.
Mr. Bush is acting like a war lord interested in securing oil an flow for big oil companies, rather than caring for the safety of those whom he sent to fight an invisible enemy for an undefinable purpose.
Let us bring the troops home right now–Congress, please do what we elected you to do.