Pass bill that would bring accountability to the war

Posted on October 10, 2007

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander has done the right thing for his constituents. He is a lead sponsor on legislation that seeks to bring a measure of accountability back to the war in Iraq. This is an important bill that deserves to become law. Alexander, along with Sen. Ken Salazar, a Colorado Democrat, and several others, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., is sponsoring legislation that would require the administration to report to Congress on the status of plans for the redeployment of our troops. The bill would require the Department of Defense to provide its first report within 60 days, and updates every 90 days after that. The House version of the bill, sponsored by John Tanner, D-Tenn., was passed by a vote of 377-46. This isn't, as some might suspect, an underhanded attempt by Congress to micromanage the war in Iraq. It is, however, an attempt to bring back some of the balance of power that has been lost since the attacks of 9/11. It is an attempt by Congress to exercise its constitutional obligation to act as a check on the executive branch. This isn't a partisan issue. Our military men and women aren't fighting for one party or the other. They are fighting for their country. The least we can do for those who have sacrificed so much is to present them with a unified front from lawmakers to ensure adequate oversight of the war effort. Providing that oversight is really what this legislation is all about. Up until now, what we've had is a White House and a Defense Department that have acted pretty much on their own. Sure, they've at least paid lip service to the idea of accountability, but that accountability has largely been missing. This bill is enjoying broad bipartisan support that includes prominent members of both parties. We hope that support translates into votes when the time comes. This is important legislation that deserves to become law.