Washington Post and Afghan War Critics

Sometimes the words journalists choose are revealing. Take the lead of a story in the Washington Post today (3/9/10) about congressional debate on the Afghanistan War:

Liberals in the House, who have spent much of the past year complaining that other congressional Democrats and the White House are insufficiently progressive, will get a chance this week to vent about one of their biggest concerns: the war in Afghanistan.

To say that lawmakers are “venting” is a short way of saying that they’re wastingtime with pointless complaining.

And what are they whining about, anyway?Nothing special–just whether or not the war complies with the law.

The resolution will invoke the 1973 War Powers Act, which Congress passed in protest of the escalation of the Vietnam War by a series of presidents without formal congressional authorization. It requires congressional approval for a president to put troops in a military conflict for more than 90 days. Congress passed a resolution authorizing military force in Afghanistan in 2001, after the Sept. 11 attacks, and some congressional scholars doubt Congress can invoke the act now to force changes to President Obama’s war policy.

As Robert Naiman wrote: “The Pentagon doesn’t want Congress to debate Afghanistan. The Pentagon wants Congress to fork over $33 billion more to pay for the current military escalation, no questions asked, no restrictions imposed for a withdrawal timetable or an exit strategy.”

The media don’t seem to want to have a debate over Afghanistan either.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.