Friday, February 23, 2007

The Maverick and Iraq, 1987

C-Span 3 is currently running video of a Senate debate in 1987 over the War Powers Act. The occasion was the beginning of a set of skirmishes which stretched into 1988, in which the US Navy fought the Iranian navy.

This made us active belligerents on the side of Iraq in fighting against Iran. You know, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, the worstest, awfulest, most horriblest dictator since Hitler and Stalin.

I just listened to Maverick McCain emphatically insisting that it would be terribly wrong for Congress to do anything at all to restrict the Reagan administration from being an active belligerent on Saddam Hussein's side.

The Maverick also pompously sneered that he hadn't heard very many Senators praising the great job our servicemen were doing, saying that whenever something goes wrong those serving are attacked by unnamed critics. The bold Maverick even said directly that soldiers hearing about a war powers debate in Congress would be demoralized and not be able to fight as well. (He didn't seem to worry about this six years later in 1993 when he was demanding that the Clinton administration immediately pull out of Somalia after the "Black Hawk Down" incident.)

Connecticut Senator Lowell Weicker, the Republican who Joe Lieberman ousted from the Senate, was arguing strenuously for the Congress to take formal action under the War Powers Act to set conditions for the conflict then under way. Did I mention that we were fighting on the side of the horrible awful dictator Saddam Hussein?

After the Maverick's speech, Weicker - a Republican - immediately tossed McCain's sleazy implication that Weicker and his supporters were hostile to American soldiers right back into the Maverick's face.

Weicker was actually a "moderate" Republican. He was more sensible on issues of war and peace than Lieberman. From his speeches I just heard, he also supported having the US be an active belligerent on the side of Saddam Hussein; he just wanted the War Powers Acts to be followed.

So far, I haven't heard any of these good Republicans say explicitly that the Reagan administration was an active belligerent on the side of Iraq. They make it sound like Iran had attacked American ships out of the blue.   (The Reagan administration was putting American flags on Kuwaiti oil tankers.)

Dan Quayle was also ranting in his usual manner that sounded like his just got through drinking aboutten cups of coffee. His argument was pretty spacy. He seemed to think that the War Powers  Act, which he opposed even having on the books, would require a Congressional action every time there was a mugging on the street somewhere. It was pretty ditsy.

What is a familiar sound is that three Republicans I've heard - the Maverick, Quayle, and John Warner - were adamant, just adamant that Congress should not attempt to assert its Constitutional power over war and the conduct of war. At least not when a Republican President is in office.

, , , , ,

No comments: