Rich Galen

Article II; Section 2. The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.

On or about November 1, 2003 the bus on which I was riding pulled into the parking lot outside the Palace in the Green Zone in Baghdad. I was beginning what was to be an eight-week assignment. I wondered how long it would be until I was sitting on a boulevard in downtown Baghdad drinking afternoon tea. I was certain it would happen before I left.

I was in Iraq for six months and I never drank tea on a boulevard in downtown Baghdad. If I had stayed for an additional three years I would still never have had that cup of tea.

I don't know what the President is going to say tonight, but I do know this: Iraq is a major battleground in the worldwide war on terror. So is Iran and North Korea and Somalia.

I also know that Article II, Section 2 says the President is the commander-in-chief. Article II, Section 2 is also that part of the Constitution which contains the "advise and consent" language: He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States

Note, however, the language clearly stipulates which Presidential powers require the advice and consent of the US Senate. Sending more troops to Iraq is not among them.

Neither Nancy Pelosi, nor Harry Reid, nor Joe Biden nor any other member of the House or Senate nor anyone running for US President from either party has the right to deny the President the power granted to him as commander-in-chief.

The Congress can, of course, withhold funding for military adventures. In the 1960s, when the country was opposed to the Vietnam war and was also opposed to the soldiers who fought there, that might have worked.

In 2007, in spite of the country being opposed to the war in Iraq, it is most assuredly not opposed to the men and women who have volunteered to serve in uniform and, by extension, fight for our safety in Iraq and Afghanistan and anywhere else they are ordered to go.

Denying services members the funds necessary for them to do their jobs will not be a path to re-election in most Congressional Districts in America in 2008. House Members - especially freshmen Members - understand this.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.