Friday, June 24, 2011

Costly military action gives Republicans the vapors

From the Los Angeles Times:
House Republicans charged forward Wednesday with a plan to try to scale back U.S. military engagement in Libya, a move intended as a rebuke of President Obama's handling of the mission.

GOP members agreed in a private meeting to hold a vote on a bill that would cut off funding for "hostilities" in Libya, while continuing to support noncombat activities by the NATO-led operation, including intelligence-gathering and support.

The measure, which is not expected to pass the Senate, could come up for a House vote as early as Friday.

The focus on hostilities is a pointed rebuff of Obama, who has chosen not to seek congressional authorization for the mission under the War Powers Act. The White House has argued that the U.S. involvement does not meet the legal definition of hostilities, as described in the act.

Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed frustration with the president's decision, saying it sets a dangerous precedent for expanding executive power and undermining Congress. That frustration is most concentrated, however, in the Republican-led House, where skepticism of the president is intense and concern over the financial effects of international interventions is a hot topic.

House Republicans were quick to voice frustration Wednesday. Some complained that the U.S. had no clear mission or endgame in the conflict, and worried that it could escalate quickly. Others cited monetary concerns: More than $700 million has been spent so far to support the mission.
Really, while I get the concern that the situation in Libya may necessitate Congressional approval, weren't some of these Republicans the same ones who were questioning the patriotism of various Democrats when the latter opined negatively about how Bush's people were executing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the need for going into Iraq in the first place?

And whisky tango foxtrot, when did the Republicans — who until 2009 were utterly unfazed by the financial disaster that was is the Iraq War — get so upset over a mere $700 million? (Come to think of it, SCHIP funding to give medical insurance to kids was too expensive when it would have been a tiny sliver of the Iraq War budget, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.)

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