Bush Offers Nutty Excuse For Bill Veto


Posted: April 09, 2007

OF ALL THE reasons President Bush could have given for vetoing legislation heading to his desk that will fund troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, he chose . . . peanuts.

No, that's no late April Fool's joke. In a recent radio address, the president said, "I like peanuts as much as the next guy, but I believe the security of our troops should come before the security of our peanut crop."

What the president was referring to was an earmark attached to an emergency war-spending bill in the House of Representatives that would also give money to Georgia farmers to protect their peanut crop.

We certainly would prefer that legislators leave their pork projects out of this legislation and every other important bill, and bring them up in the proper manner (attaching it to an agriculture bill, after hearings, would be more fitting).

A move like this makes Congress' promise to tackle serious earmark reform look dubious, to say the least.

Still, in his rationale for the veto, the president is creating a false choice that doesn't hold water.

The legislation he'll be presented with provides every dime he requested for the troops, and adds even more to provide more heavily armored trucks, to fix Walter Reed, and to research traumatic brain injuries that many troops have suffered.

The peanut money is completely separate, and doesn't cut into funding for the troops in the slightest.

What the president is really afraid of is that the legislation will require that he verify that his administration and the Iraqis are meeting certain benchmarks that set us on a path that will allow us to get out of the Iraqi civil war by 2008.

These are the same benchmarks for success that the nonpartisan Iraq Study Group - appointed by the president - said we could and should reasonably meet so our troops could largely be home by then.

The only reason for the president to oppose this kind of accountability is that he is doubtful that his plan for Iraq could meet those common-sense benchmarks, or he has no intention of meeting them. Whatever the case, it demonstrates a lack of faith in his own policy.

Of course, the president cannot say that. All he's left with then is, literally, peanuts.

Mr. President, don't play us for fools.

Don't veto funding for the troops because Congress is finally demanding some accountability from you on the war in Iraq. *

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