Time to De-Authorize

candles-resize.jpgWhile Bush and friends continue their sleight of hand tricks on Iraq policy (don’t look until September) and the presidential debates seem to only give bullhorns to a few MSM favored “frontrunners,” it’s important that we stay focused on the task of ending the occupation. September will come (and go) with more hype and maneuvers and equivocation but one candidate is asking for our help – now – Bill Richardson.

Gov. Richardson has launched a campaign to de-authorize the war before the summer recess:

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. 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. If Congress de-authorizes the war before the summer recess, our troops could be home in six months.

The time for waiting is over. People are dying every day. We cannot wait until this fall to start bringing our troops home. If Congress doesn’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.

Congress has a public mandate and the Constitutional authority to end this war. If you de-authorize, we could have our ALL troops home in six months.

It is time to stand up to Bush. No more waiting, no more compromises. De-authorize the Iraq war before you leave for summer break.

Now that’s a breath of fresh air … and it seems like the right strategy to me. It moves the discussion away from “funding for the troops” and to the heart of the matter – why are we in Iraq at all? Whether our reps and “front-runners” voted for or against authorization the first time around, here’s a chance for them all to stand up and say “No More!” (and for us to see how many do stand up!)

I haven’t picked a presidential candidate but this very clear approach from Gov Richardson sure has my attention, as has the recent work of Sen. Dodd. And I’m not ready to roll over and pick “lesser of … ” for my support this time around and certainly not this early. As netroots activists, I think it’s our job to encourage the best – not only those candidates the MSM has anointed but the ones showing real leadership on the issues that matter most to us.

Whether you have already chosen or are still waiting for Gore or are just undecided, you can still support this very solid call from Richardson by signing up in support of de-authorization here and putting a little FDL netroots muscle (in honor of the Sopranos’ finale) on the rest of the field and your own Senators and Congressional representatives.

The photo this week is of children lighting memorial candles along a street in a Baghdad neighborhood which has been repeatedly hit by US air strikes. For an important report on the “secret” air war in Iraq, don’t miss The Air War in Iraq Uncovered by Nick Turse over at TomDispatch.

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