Friday, May 1, 2009

The similar dynamics of any presidential administration: We need a free hand

Ironically, this story from USAToday could have been written about virtually any presidential administration in the past three decades, including Dubya's:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is opposing attempts by House Democrats to attach strings to billions of dollars in new aid to Pakistan, even as some lawmakers question why American taxpayers should turn over large sums to a government that has shown reluctance to take on Islamist extremists.

As part of the strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan he unveiled last month, President Obama requested that Congress approve billions in additional military and civilian assistance for the volatile U.S. ally.

The House's Pakistan aid bill would condition the military money on the president certifying that Pakistan's intelligence agencies are not supporting terrorist groups and have closed terrorist camps in tribal areas.

That bill, which would allow the president to waive the requirement in the interest of national security, is from Rep. Howard Berman, the California Democrat who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The administration views Berman's approach as "too inflexible," Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. It "would severely constrain the executive branch."

Let's see: a bill with a provision that the President can unilaterally waive is ... too inflexible.

In other words: Give us the money, shut up, and let us run the war without any Congressional oversight.

Gee. Where have we heard that line before?


Townie 76 said...


You raise an interesting point and which may surprise you that I agree, we need more oversight by both the House and Senate on how money, as in this case, money for Pakistan is spent.

Unfortunately, as we have seen, the war profiteers have been successful in our endeavors in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately some have worn the uniform of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. As you can imagine I have little sympathy for their actions and believe that any punishment they receive is too little.

The model for this oversight should be the Truman Committee from World War II. Then Senator, Harry Truman, truly difference. It requires Congress to be mindful of the difficult mission the military faces in executing these missions, but providing the necessary oversight to ensure that the taxpayers money is spent well.

Delaware Watch said...

Great post, Steve.