If suggestions from Democrats in Congress to cut funding for U.S. military troops in Iraq actually are enacted, the result would be a collapse of the American mission to eliminate terrorism and support a stable Iraqi government, according to the White House.
The comment came in response to a question from Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House.
He asked, “If you could clarify, possibly again, if the majority of the Congress votes to stop the funding for the additional U.S. troops, what does the president believe will be the results?”
“If the funding is cut?” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. “An inability to carry out the mission on the ground.”
Senate Democrats have confirmed plans to try to revoke the 2002 resolution by Congress that authorized the war in Iraq, and instead would try to limit U.S. troops’ actions, a plan the White House said it would oppose.
Fratto said the Democrats’ position was on “shifting sands,” and it was “hard to say exactly what their position is.”
Even Lee Hamilton, a Democrat who co-chaired the Iraq Study Group, said there are “formidable challenges” in trying to hold Democrats to a single position on the issue.
While Congress holds the decision-making authority on the budget of U.S. troops in Iraq, the president has the constitutional authority as commander in chief to determine strategy, the White House said.
Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she believes a plan to require the Defense Department to follow training and readiness standards for troops heading to the war zone could be the next challenge to the president.
And Fratto confirmed that pulling troops out suddenly would produce chaos.
Sen. Joe Lieberman
As WND reported earlier this week, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut reported that if Democrats pursue a hard-line policy of opposition to funding the war in Iraq, he might change his mind about affiliating with Democrats.
“I have no desire to change parties,” Lieberman had told the Politico. “If that ever happens, it is because I feel the majority of Democrats have gone in a direction that I don’t feel comfortable with.”
The Politico asked whether that hasn’t already happened, as Democrats have focused their energies on passing a non-binding resolution condemning President Bush’s plan to deploy an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.
“We will see how that plays out in the coming months,” he said, referring specifically to how the party handles war funding.
Lieberman technically was elected as an independent, after losing the Democratic primary. But he aligned himself with the Democrats. If he changed to a Republican, it would shift the balance of power in U.S. Senate, giving the GOP 50, and the Democrats 50, with Vice President Dick Cheney the tiebreaker.
The Political Insider reports, however, if Lieberman were to caucus with the Republicans, the GOP would still not take full control of the Senate because of a little-known organizing resolution passed in January.
WND also asked about the bickering that has been going on between some of the Democratic candidates for president in 2008. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., have watched as their supporters have had words lately
“Considering the widespread news reports of the absolute political bloodbath between the Democrat senators from New York and from Illinois, how can we interpret a refusal by you to comment as anything other than the President’s delight at this decisively demonstrative Democrat development?” Kinsolving asked.
“That is a carefully crafted question. I will leave my non-comment for your interpretation,” Fratto said. “The president said that he wasn’t going to become the pundit-in-chief. And so I think I will avoid becoming the deputy assistant to the non-pundit-in-chief.”
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