Michael Ratner Speaks Up

To the Editor:
>
>The assertion that the Democrats cannot overcome a presidential veto
>does not excuse their failure to set withdrawal dates. All financing
>for the war originates in the House; if the Democrats had tied
>financing of the war to a withdrawal timetable, a presidential veto
>would mean that the president had no money to fight the war.
>
>The House Democrats had the power to cut off or restrict financing;
>they failed to exercise it. The setting of benchmarks for the Iraqi
>government in the proposed bill is meaningless. The determination of
>whether Iraq meets those benchmarks is up to the president. Does anyone
>doubt what his determination will be?
>
>I have seen this before. Year after year in the 1980s, Congress
>mandated that the government of El Salvador meet certain human rights
>requirements and left the determination to the president. Year after
>year, despite no real improvement in human rights, the president
>dutifully certified the contrary, and the aid to El Salvador continued.
>
>Sadly, if the Democrats continue on their current course, the war will
>be with us for a very long time.
>
>Michael Ratner
>New York, May 23, 2007

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