The Jackson Sun -
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