Bush's War in Iraq

Congress set to dial back Presidential war powers

Should have been done a long time ago:

The Democratic-led House, with the backing of President Joe Biden, is expected to approve legislation to repeal the 2002 authorization for use of military force in Iraq, a step supporters say is necessary to constrain presidential war powers even though it is unlikely to affect U.S. military operations around the world.

A vote on Thursday would come one day after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he intends to bring repeal legislation to the Senate floor this year. “The Iraq War has been over for nearly a decade,” Schumer said. “The authorization passed in 2002 is no longer necessary in 2021.”

Actually, the Iraq War was over shortly after it started, at least it should have been. What happened after that was occupation and insurgency, coupled with sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni elements, all of which was predictable. The 2002 Authorization should never have passed in the first place, but the anger over 9/11 was still fresh, and we didn't have our pound of flesh yet in Afghanistan. All that being said, if you want to sell something to a split Senate, sometimes you need to hold your tongue:

The recurring nightmare known as Aldona Wos

Wriggling her way into Neocon national security circles:

For his part, Woolsey all but accused President Obama of appeasement, referencing recent tensions between the United States and Russia in the Baltic Sea. “And I guess I would have to be candid in saying — in having a sense that we’re being led by Neville Chamberlain,” Woolsey said, referring to prime minister of Great Britain in the late 1930s.

Wos gives the impression she wouldn’t mind another high-profile appointment in the federal government. “We’ll have to do our homework and see how between all this intellectual power in the room — see how we in our professional capacities can move this along,” she said, after listening to a sobering warning from Woolsey and Lenczowski about the danger of North Korea exploding a nuclear weapon in space and dismantling the US power grid.

On the plus side, if Queen Aldona does become part of a rejuvenated Neocon movement, odds are she'll fu(# it up just like she did NC DHHS. Or blow all their money outsourcing contracts to management "advisors" whose only possible contribution would be to tell her to *not* outsource any more contracts. This might actually be a good thing, I'll have to think about it.

VA being crunched by numbers

The true costs of multiple wars are piling up:

The number of veterans on waiting lists of one month or more is now 50 percent higher than it was during the height of last year’s problems, department officials say. The department is also facing a nearly $3 billion budget shortfall, which could affect care for many veterans.

Since the waiting-list scandal broke last year, the department has broadly expanded access to care. Its doctors and nurses have handled 2.7 million more appointments than in any previous year, while authorizing 900,000 additional patients to see outside physicians. In all, agency officials say, they have increased capacity by more than seven million patient visits per year — double what they originally thought they needed to fix shortcomings.

But it still wasn't enough, because politicians in Washington still haven't grasped the fact that 2 of the 3 longest wars in our country's history were fought in this (the 21st) century. Even asking the VA to "project" how much money they will need next year, the year after, etc., is an exercise in futility. And as long as Republicans play their budget-cutting game and push privatization schemes, the VA will continue to struggle to keep up with the demand:

"It's Happening Now"

Karen Kwiatkowski (a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force) says that American troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan are changing the way we view those conflicts and the way we view the administration that sent them in the first place.

We still won’t see this level of honesty in all the major national papers, but we no longer have to rely solely on the independent or international news for the truth. Talk to the reservists and guardsmen and active soldiers and marines who have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan, on leave and between tours. Hear their words across your kitchen table and your local bar, listen to their pillow talk and their advice to their children, nieces and nephews.

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