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Originally published April 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 30, 2007 at 2:00 AM

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Rhonda Chriss Lokeman / Syndicated columnist

Congress supports the troops by standing up to Bush

The Decider dared Congress to defy him by sending to the White House a bill they knew he wouldn't sign. They did it anyway.

The Decider dared Congress to defy him by sending to the White House a bill they knew he wouldn't sign. They did it anyway.

They did so knowing that they had been lied to for years and bullied by a "war president" with no foreign policy experience beyond the Rio Grande.

More than 3,000 dead U.S. troops and untold civilian deaths later in Iraq, U.S. lawmakers last week came to their senses. Congress reclaimed its honor by remembering its constitutional imperative.

The House, led by a strong woman, chose not to lose America to imperial presidency. Senate and House lawmakers voted to put the Iraqi government on notice without de-funding our troops.

Their votes support our troops by making the administration accountable. This isn't micromanagement, as the Bushvolk maligned. It is input by the branch of government this president needed to begin the war but discounted once it had begun.

Lawmakers can't get a straight answer from the executive branch, which includes a vice president who still says Iraq had WMD, something debunked recently by Defense Department reports.

If intelligence was manipulated to start this war, lawmakers are within their right to call Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others to testify and address their concerns.

Faced with staying the course of death and delusion, lawmakers did Americans a favor by announcing a limit to their patience and to how long they would put up with the politics of intimidation. They want the first troops withdrawn by Oct. 1.

There have been too many hoaxes, too many wasted funds, too much bloodshed, too many overstretched resources and too many civil liberties and human rights violated in a war that has divided our nation and failed to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.

It took a Democratic majority for lawmakers to recognize where our country was headed and to admit it wasn't any place good. With the power of the purse, lawmakers took a gutsy stand.

That made The Decider spitting mad, especially because he had sent his top general to plead his case on the Hill and it didn't help.

The Bushvolk have a name for what the Democrats are up to: "Cut and run." The jeer gives the uninformed electorate some raw meat and the broadcast punditocracy more grist for their mill.

Because Democrats have never had a good counterpunch to some Republicans' sucker punches, they often have taken "cut and run" on the chin. Too bad, because also last week they were handed the ultimate comeback in an unscripted hearing on Capitol Hill.

Put it this way: If the Democrats are all "cut and run," then the Bushvolk "lied and people died." Trust is the issue, not the war.

Last week, Pfc. Jessica Lynch testified before a House government oversight committee about the lie of her rescue in Iraq early in the war. She testified along with Kevin Tillman, Army Ranger and brother of Cpl. Pat Tillman. Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire, but for weeks the truth of his death in Afghanistan was kept from his family.

After two Army inquiries, the Tillmans still await the whole truth. So does Spec. Bryan O'Neal, who testified that he didn't write the statement attributed to him that Tillman was "engaging the enemy" when he died. Tillman received a posthumous Silver Star.

Lynch said the government, aided by incurious media, told about "the little girl Rambo from the hills who went down fighting." She said she never fired a shot before she was struck by enemy fire.

"I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were, in fact, legendary," she said.

Congress has a moral obligation to bring home troops trapped in a maze of disinformation and duty.

Rhonda Chriss Lokeman is a columnist for the Kansas City Star. E-mail her at

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