Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I want my, I want my, I want my NIE

Back when I was in school, if I didn’t turn in my work, I didn’t get to pass. The idea that any member of Congress would brook the Bush Administration moving forward with the escalation of their Iraq debacle without first demanding to see the long-delayed update of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is almost as unforgivable as the purely political delay of the NIE itself.

The latest excuse proffered by the intelligence community for the report’s delay is that they were all too busy “dealing with the many demands placed upon it by the Bush Administration to help prepare the new military strategy on Iraq.”

You were too busy crafting the new “strategy” to first evaluate the old one? Might as well have just said, “my dog ate it.”

I think there needs to be one more demand placed on the National Intelligence Center and their bosses in the White House: no NIE, no cash for your escalation.

While the House Republican leadership—John Boehner and Roy Blunt—like to pretend they have now discovered the idea of congressional oversight by offering some sort of select committee to kibitz about the escalation after the fact, and so-called centrists in the Senate look to split hairs in order to split votes on a non-binding anti-escalation “sense of the Senate” resolution, might there be a few of our elected representatives that would offer real oversight to express what should be the binding sense of over two-thirds of the American people?

Without a current estimate of the situation as it now stands, there is no way for Congress to perform its constitutionally mandated duties, no way for it to advise and consent, no way for it to effectively manage the purse strings, no way for it to fully evaluate the New Way
Forward ™; so it is up to Congressional leaders to draw the line.

For those of you in the back of the classroom, let me repeat: No NIE, no money for escalation.

How hard is that, guys and gals?


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