In his veto statement Tuesday night President Bush gave two reasons why he vetoed the war funding bill. Bush said, “Here is why the bill Congress passed is unacceptable. First, the bill would mandate a rigid and artificial deadline for American troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq. That withdrawal could start as early as July 1st. And it would have to start no later than October 1st, regardless of the situation on the ground. It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength — and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq.”

“Second, the bill would impose impossible conditions on our commanders in combat. After forcing most of our troops to withdraw, the bill would dictate the terms on which the remaining commanders and troops could engage the enemy. That means American commanders in the middle of a combat zone would have to take fighting directions from politicians 6,000 miles away in Washington, D.C. This is a prescription for chaos and confusion, and we must not impose it on our troops,” the president said. I don’t think any president, or American, for that matter, should be comfortable with the Congress dictating specific terms and numbers of how troops are used. Constitutionally speaking, this isn’t their job, and, while I agree with the goal of the Democratic controlled Congress, I think that they are going about it the wrong way.

In response to the president Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said, “The President may be content with keeping our troops mired in the middle of an open-ended civil war, but we are not; and neither are most Americans. A bipartisan majority of Congress sent the President a bill to fully fund our troops and change the mission in Iraq. The president refused to sign it.  That is his right, but now he has an obligation to explain his plan to responsibly end this war. In the coming days we will continue to reach out to the President. And we hope Congressional Republicans who have remained silent through this debate will work with us as well. But if the President thinks that by vetoing this bill, he will stop us from working to change the direction of this war, he is mistaken.”

The problem is that Congress surrendered its power to President Bush, when they authorized the use of force in Iraq. They can’t go back and change that vote, but they do still control the purse strings. If Democrats want to end this war, then they need to cut off funding. Not only do the Democrats not have the guts to do this, but you can count on 2008 Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to vote for the next funding bill. House Democrats have already said that they plan on passing a bill in the next two weeks, and the final bill, which the president will sign, will be sent to him before Congress leaves for Memorial Day. The Democrats will continue to fight on, but until either some Republicans join them in their cause, or they do what they need to do, and cut off funding, the troops won’t be home anytime soon.

President Bush’s veto statement

Sen. Reid statement on the veto

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at
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