Time Is On My Side
Imagine the simple case of a lawsuit against a major company. The company has caused a severe illness and the victim has at most three years to live. If the victim is right the company should simply pay the victim for the damages done. If the company uses every legal tactic available to delay the case the victim will never see justice and know if his or her family has been taken care of. After the victim dies the family may realize that the final three years of the victim’s life were consumed by this lawsuit and they might just drop the case because of the extreme emotional toll it has taken on the family. If they do the company has succeeded in wearing down the victim’s family. Even if they don’t drop the suit the company might be willing to settle out of court and family might be relieved to have the case behind them. Even if the family wins the company will avoid paying any retribution throughout the appeals process. If the family looses they will be likely not to pursue any appeals because of the emotional stress. Time is on the company’s side.
Time is taken into account is the US constitution where it tells us that a person has a right to due process and a speedy trial. But, speed is not always if the favor of a person being accused of a crime, especially if they are out on bail and a key witness is on his deathbed. There are many ways in which something looks completely fair until one takes time into consideration.
Politics is the same way. The effect of laws are often time dependent. Sometimes laws have dates where they expire. Failing to renew such a law leads to the expiration of a law. In other words the effect of time has an additional pressure on those who are in favor of the law.
In 1994 the Republicans had just won a majority in the House of Representatives on the “small government” issue. And, in an effort to make their voice heard they refused to pass a supplemental bill to continue the operation of the government when it ran out of money. Now, if the majority of Americans truly hated the spending of tax dollars on everything, then this would have proven that point and a majority of Americans would be delighted by the shutdown of the government. History did show that Americans actually like the things that government does for them. They just don’t like the things that the government does for others. So, the point is that the shutdown of the government pointed out to the Americans that some functions of the government are appreciated by a majority of Americans. And, the shutdown of the government backfired for the newly elected Republicans.
The failure of Republicans was short lived and it proved to be a learning lesson that the Republicans built on as they were able to maintain control of congress for twelve more years. The point isn’t that they were able to create new legislation to make things better, because they couldn’t. They didn’t have the power to override a presidential veto. But, they were able to make use of the clock and make sure that the money wouldn’t be there for any government programs. This sent a message to President Bill Clinton that he should be careful about what laws he vetoes, because time was on their side.
Well, we are back to the future on another key issue. This time the issue is the Iraq War. The popular opinion is that we made a mistake going into Iraq and we should find a way out as soon as possible. This popular opinion contrasts the opinion of George W Bush, that we leave our troops in Iraq until the terrorists give up and go home. Seeing that we are trying to keep peace in a civil war where the two sides of the civil war hate each other, but they hate us being there even more and they are already home, it doesn’t look like George W Bush’s plan has any chance of happening.
But, who’s side is time on? If we continue on with the status quo who will time benefit? It looks like time just might be on the side of Iran, the insurgents and the terrorists. In fact, if the terrorists were smart they might just stay quiet for some extended period of time and quietly build a cache of weapons until the Americans come to the conclusion that the situation is under control. Once the last American leaves Iraqi soil they could jump out from their hiding spots and exacerbate the situation into the civil war from Hell. That is if that really is their objective.
However, I don’t believe that the terrorist really want an Iraqi civil war as badly as they want a training ground for their soldiers. Iraq is the perfect training ground and the Americans are the perfect targets for building support for their cause in the Arab World. The mayhem in Iraq is the perfect foil for Iran, who is the biggest winner in this conflict so far. The longer we stay in Iraq the stronger that the terrorists, Iranians and insurgents become, because time is on their side.
So, what can we do about it? Well, the US Congress made the first attempt at trying to end the war in Iraq. And, of course George W Bush intends to veto the bill. But, what happens after his veto? Does anyone really think that the US Congress will suddenly be frightened into writing a bill that the president wants? If George W Bush vetoes every bill that Congress passes and he doesn’t like then what will happen? Who has time on their side?
If George W Bush doesn’t get his bill, there will not be any money for the troops. The President will not be able to keep the troops in Iraq without any money. So, theoretically if the Democrats in congress hold the line the president can not win this fight. He has a choice between accepting the law saying that he will withdraw the troops by next September, or vetoing the money for the troops that are there right now. Time is on the side of the Democrats. Will the Democrats continue to stay the course and force the hand of the President? That is the real question. The president has a choice between having his funding run out or accepting a timeline for withdrawal.
But, George W Bush has one thing that could change the course of the Congress, and that is American public opinion. The American people want to support the troops. But, how each person sees supporting the troops differs wildly. Many people believe that getting our troops home as soon as possible is a method to support our troops. Others believe that giving our troops a bottomless well of resources is the way in which we support our troops. George W Bush is counting on those people to rally forth and change the opinion of the Congress. If the Democrats hold together and fail to create a new bill that George W Bush will sign, then how will the American public view the standoff between these two branches of government? I am sure that the pollsters are out there trying to find out right now. The opinion of the American people will determine the outcome of this battle, but the fact is that the Democrats truly have time on their side, and in my opinion that’s a good thing.
Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."
Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit