In an era in which mainstream American Jewish organizations have been hijacked by right-wing partisans, and in which the most visible American Jewish politician holds views that are out of line with those of the vast majority of American Jews (not to mention most Americans), it’s time the community saluted Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, a politician whose convictions are actually consistent with some of the greatest values held by American Jews.
Despite the usual Administration attacks charging that stopping this war means betraying our troops, Senator Feingold has courageously taken steps to block funding for a troop increase — or, to put it another way, to take the keys away from the drunk determined to drive our nation’s security off a cliff.
This is what Senator Feingold said today at a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing he is leading on “Exercising Congress’s Constitutional Power to End a War”:
In the United States of America, the people are sovereign, not the President. It is Congress’s responsibility to challenge an administration that persists in a war that is misguided and that the country opposes. We cannot simply wring our hands and complain about the Administration’s policy. We cannot just pass resolutions saying “your policy is mistaken.” And we can’t stand idly by and tell ourselves that it’s the President’s job to fix the mess he made. It’s our job to fix the mess, and if we don’t do so we are abdicating our responsibilities.
Tomorrow, I will introduce legislation that will prohibit the use of funds to continue the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq six months after enactment. By prohibiting funds after a specific deadline, Congress can force the President to bring our forces out of Iraq and out of harm’s way.
This legislation will allow the President adequate time to redeploy our troops safely from Iraq, and it will make specific exceptions for a limited number of U.S. troops who must remain in Iraq to conduct targeted counter-terrorism and training missions and protect U.S. personnel. It will not hurt our troops in any way — they will continue receiving their equipment, training and salaries. It will simply prevent the President from continuing to deploy them to Iraq. By passing this bill, we can finally focus on repairing our military and countering the full range of threats that we face around the world.