Congress Must Demand to Know the White House's Estimated Body Count for Bush's Double-Down Scheme in Iraq...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2007, 11:54pm PT  

All of the Sunday news shows today were abuzz with talk of Bush's reported troop "surge" plan for Iraq.

The general theme was that, as Commander-in-Chief, Bush could do whatever he wanted in regard to troop levels and the only thing Congress could do about it was to use their control of the purse strings by voting to stop funding the war. In other words, they could take what increasingly appears to be the White House dare.

Never mind that briar patch --- and the fact that Congress could instead gracefully vote to end funding for the war as of a date fixed long into the future. For example, no more funding as of next year. In that way, there would be plenty of time to begin a withdrawal, and the Dems wouldn't end up falling into the Bush dead-enders' disingenuous trap, set to show the Democrats as hoping to see our poor troops stranded in a foreign country with no food, water, bullets, or way to get home.

But aside from cutting off funding for the war, now or in the future, there is another option for the moment in answer to Bush's predicted call for a "surge"; demand that the White House release their estimates of the number of casualties we will incur during such a "surge."

Now, I'm no military expert (and I'd be delighted to hear, via comments or email, from anyone who is and can speak to this issue), but it seems to me that any plan to increase troop strength would come with some sort of general estimate from the Pentagon as to the cost in increased, or decreased, causalities for our troops.

Congress must call on the White House to go on record with that estimate!

If there is estimated to be an increase in casualties, okay, let's hear it. The country needs to know exactly how much blood of other people's children that Bush is willing to throw down in his Hail-Mary gamble for "victory."

If there is estimated to be a decrease, fine, let's hear it. At least there will now be a paper trail metric of what the official predictions for such things were. If Bush ends up moving ahead with his double-down plan, we'll be able to clearly judge his Administration's "success" against that metric in the future if the "surge" happens despite all other efforts --- and reason --- to keep it from happening.

Finally, if no such estimate has been made by the White House (or, more aptly, the Pentagon, presumably) in planning for such a radical change in policy, then the Administration would simply be seen as wholly delinquent in their duties. That alone should be enough for Congress to be able to roundly vote in favor of a resolution condemning the plan. In the bargain, it will help make the case to the American people, loudly and clearly --- as if it has not been made already --- that this Administration has no damned business running the foreign policy of this country while using the men and women of our armed forces as chess pieces in their desperate attempt to save their own disastrous political and historical legacy.

Your thoughts?