Tuesday, May 31, 2005

"Time to Revive Debate Over Iraq"

"The remarkable thing is that there has been so little debate of late. Congress recently approved another $80-plus billion emergency appropriations bill dominated by spending for the war in Iraq. It took months to get through Congress, but the delay was all about unrelated spending and other provisions freighted on to the bill. The war itself and the strategy for pursuing it were treated as if they were beyond discussion. One amendment asking for a plan for withdrawal was quickly dismissed (and received just 128 votes out of 435).

Compare this to the fracas over the first emergency spending bill for Iraq, which got through Congress in the waning months of 2003. Its $88.5-billion price tag, coming atop the initial costs of the war, brought disbelief and protest from Congress and the country.

An obscure New England governor named Howard Dean seized on that mood, becoming not only the leading anti-war candidate for president but also the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. He forced several of his rivals -- including John Kerry -- to shift gears and vote against the appropriation."-Ron Elving, NPR's Senior Political Editor, awaking from a deep sleep on the NPR website.

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