COMMENTS: Food for Fido Outweighs Funds for Fighting

A Constitutional showdown over the War in Iraq has been shaping up ever since Democrats gained control of Congress with a commitment to pull troops out and President George Bush responded with a decision to send more troops in. That clash inched one step closer: the House of Representatives voted to pay $100bn-or-so more for the war only on condition that the pullout begin; and the President pledged to veto any bill with those strings attached. Both ABC and NBC led with the vote--but amazingly it did not qualify as Story of the Day. In a shocking example of warped priorities the networks collectively spent more time on the discovery of rat poison in pet food.

All three networks covered the House-Bush showdown from Capitol Hill. CBS' Sharyl Attkisson called the 218-212 vote "the slimmest of margins," achieved only by $13bn in extraneous spending "that have nothing to do with the War on Terror." Attkisson's turn of phrase is a trifle tendentious, since a minority of Democrats argues that the War in Iraq has nothing to do with the War on Terror, either.

ABC's Jake Tapper (subscription required) called Bush's mood "blistering" as he promised to veto the bill. Tapper explained the Democrats' defense against the President's charges that they are interfering with his conduct of the war: "They are not micromanaging the war…they are trying to end the war." Yet NBC's Chip Reid called the Democrats' chances of forcing a troop withdrawal "slim" since they have "nothing close" to the votes required to override the President's veto.

But if he does veto, how will the military get the money it needs? ABC's Pentagon correspondent Jonathan Karl (no link) warned that there is a three-week deadline to resolve the stand-off. After that the Defense Department would have to pay its bills by juggling its books, diverting funds from equipment repair and troop training.


You must be logged in to this website to leave a comment. Please click here to log in so you can participate in the discussion.