Politics and Policy:

    Today is a bittersweet day. Congress today gave their unconditional support Bush’s proposed unilateral war against Iraq. As Congressman Byrd has said more eloquently than I can, the power to declare war belongs to Congress alone. It was not right for Congress to give up this power to Bush in a blank check for future agression.

    But, in the midst of this horrible day, I can not focus on the evil. Partly because maintaining a heart of hatred just allows the warmongers to win, but also because I think there is good in this day too.

    First, while the majority decided to follow through with the administration’s war plan, a sizeable minority choose to stand up against this move. In honor of those brave men and women, I want to provide these links to the roll call vote:

  • Wash Post: House Roll Call – Iraq Resolution
  • Wash Post: House Roll Call – Iraq Resolution
  • Also here is a more in-depth story on the vote — Wash Post: Congress passes Iraq resolution — Overwhelming Approval Gives Bush Authority to Attack Unilaterally
      . . . Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) voted no after learning in a military briefing this week that U.S. soldiers do not have adequate protection against biological weapons. “As a veteran, that’s what hit me the hardest,” Baca said. “Would you send someone, knowing they’re going to be killed?” . . .

      Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said: “The power to declare war is the most solemn responsibility given to Congress by the Constitution. We must not delegate that responsibility to the president in advance.”

      But in a poignant reminder of the deep divisions inside the Democratic Party, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) broke with his father and sided with the president. . .

      Minority House members were nearly unanimous in opposing Bush’s resolution. Every Hispanic Democrat voting yesterday voted against the resolution, as did all but four of 31 African American Democrats who voted.

      Among the dozen most vulnerable Democrats in next month’s elections, just two — Reps. James Maloney (Conn.) and Julia Carson (Ind.) — opposed the measure. In the Senate, Paul D. Wellstone (D-Minn.) was alone among incumbents facing tough reelections who voted against it.

  • More commentary on this vote will come later.