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April 28, 2006

2.5 Billion Impeachable Offenses

The Congressional Research Service has issued a report on U.S. spending on the Iraq, saying it will soon reach $320 billion. As a Washington Post story notes, this includes "$2.5 billion diverted from other spending authorizations in 2001 and 2002 to prepare for the invasion."

$2.5 billion. That's even more than the $700 million Bob Woodward reported in Plan of Attack:

On July 17 [2002], [Tommy] Franks updated Rumfeld on the preparatory tasks in the region. He carefully listed the cost of each and the risk to the mission if they didn't proceed along the timeline which set completion by December 1. Total cost: about $700 million.

The big-muscle movement was for airfields and fuel infrastructure in Kuwait where a massive covert public works program had already been launched...

Some of the funding would come from the supplemental appropriations bill then being worked out in Congress for the Afghanistan war and the general war on terrorism. The rest would come from old appropriations.

By the end of July, Bush had approved some 30 projects that would eventually cost $700 million. He discussed it with Nicholas E. Calio, the head of White House congressional relations. Congress, which is supposed to control the purse strings, had no real knowledge or involvement, had not even been notified that the Pentagon wanted to reprogram money.

Now, here's Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution:

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.

So, back in olden times when we still cared what the Constitution said, Bush could clearly be impeached for this. Thank goodness those days are behind us. Kudos also to the Washington Post for demonstrating this by putting it in the second-to-last paragraph in an A16 story.

BONUS: Bush administration lawyers like John Yoo argue that the president can wage wars at his own discretion, despite the plain language in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution giving Congress the power to "declare war." Yoo makes this claim:

Congress could express its opposition to executive war decisions only by exercising its powers over funding and impeachment.

But it turns out Congress doesn't even control the funding of war. So you heard it from John Yoo himself: the only way to stop the war is by impeaching Bush.

Posted at April 28, 2006 02:51 PM | TrackBack


Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 28, 2006 08:10 PM

When it comes time to hang the bastard, could you all please keep me in mind as I always wanted to trip the trap door to that cretin.

Posted by: Sky-Ho at April 28, 2006 08:37 PM

Jonathan, I love this line of thinking. There was one lone voice, back in 2003, who was arguing fiercely that the whole invasion signaled a democratic crisis in THIS democracy, since it showed that the executive had shaken off all bounds. Saskia Sassen, who teaches at the University of Chicago, wrote a great, neglected piece you can find here:

The upshot is -- the combination of a volunteer army and a runaway executive means that the president basically has a taxpayer supported mercenary force, to do with what he wants. Which is where anti-recruiters might want to eventually go. Squeeze the military's manpower until there is a wholesale constitutional reform of foreign policymaking. One of the most frightening neo-con proposals I've read was by Max Boot, who wants to grant citizenship to Mexicans who volunteer for the military -- thus supplying the executive with, literally, a foreign force that they can apply where they want to.

Posted by: rogergathman at April 28, 2006 08:55 PM

some of your posts get a bucket of comments, and others are like this-- I suspect it's less an assessment of the quality of the thoughts expressed than it is an expression of the futility many people on the left have come to feel in resisting war after neocon war.

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at April 29, 2006 04:20 PM

Yep, I believe I'll look for a way to quit paying these people. I'm way over due.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 29, 2006 06:47 PM