Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Wed

26

Sep

2007

Staying in Iraq - Heading into Iran
Wednesday, 26 September 2007 22:02
by David Swanson
Today the House voted more money for occupying Iraq, and the Senate voted to attack Iran.I. Will Progressives Cave on Iraq Again?
All but 14 members of the House today voted billions more for occupying Iraq. The vote was on a Continuing Resolution that will extend fiscal year 2007 spending at the same levels for 7 weeks into fiscal year 2008. The bill also condemned MoveOn.org for accusing General Petraeus of betraying us. The No votes were: Blumenauer, Clay, Ellison, Filner, Frank (MA), Hinchey, Kucinich, Lee, McDermott, Paul, Payne, Waters, Watson, Woolsey.

Also today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus released a press release and a statement that differs from the letter that so many citizens are working so hard to help the Progressive Caucus add congress members' signatures to (it's now at 83). The letter, addressed to Bush, says this:
"We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office..."
Apparently this letter carries no force, and most of the congress members who signed it were lying. But taking it at face value, the letter has (had?) certain weaknesses but also has a major strength: The deadline of January 2009 will mean a lot of dead bodies first; "protection" of troops means nothing if not ongoing fighting and killing; while some congress members say "redeploy" means withdrawal, for many it actually means redeploy; we have more mercenaries and other contractors in Iraq than troops and this does not mention them; and there's no clear statement here that the only way this will work will be for Congress to ultimately not send Bush any Iraq funding bills at all. Nonetheless, this is aimed in the right direction, and it takes a decisive stand NOT to vote for any funding of the occupation that does not get all troops out of Iraq by January 2009 or sooner.

The new statement says this:
"We will oppose any bills or amendments brought to the House floor henceforth that pertain specifically to bringing our troops and military contractors home, but do not include in their text a clear timeline and date certain for the redeployment of U.S. troops and military contractors from Iraq."
This new version adds contractors but deletes "all." No longer must it be all troops, but it must include (some) contractors. No longer is the deadline January 2009; it could be any deadline as long as there is one. It still says "redeploy" although it also says "bringing...home". But the major change is this one: the new statement SAYS NOTHING ABOUT OPPOSING BILLS TO FUND THE OCCUPATION. As long as such bills do not "pertain specifically to bringing our troops and military contractors home" (and what are the chances of that?) members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who have not signed the letter above are free, under this new policy position, to vote money for genocide.

 


Let's be clear with the 83 Congress Members who have signed the letter: a new position does not release you from existing commitments. If you have signed this letter, you cannot vote for a bill that funds the occupation without ending it, whether or not that bill pertains specifically to anything at all or doesn't. Most of the signers have already gone back on their word and need to hear from us right away.

The CPC staff tells me that the CPC is still fully behind the letter and making it the top priority to add more names, and views the new statement as completely in agreement with it. The new statement indicates, they say, that the CPC will oppose bills like the Tanner-Abercrombie-English bill, for example, unless it includes a definite timeline for "redeployment". I hope that's right. Remember, it was as recently as May 7, 2007, that the Progressive Caucus and the Out of Iraq Caucus SOLD IRAQI FAMILIES AND US TROOPS DOWN THE RIVER. The pressure on them from Speaker Nancy Pelosi looks to be just as intense this time as in May.

Pelosi was on CNN yesterday claiming that she has no power to end the occupation and blaming her lack of 60 votes in the Senate (or 67 to override a veto). CNN played along with her claim that she needs 60 Senate votes. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could if they wanted announce today that the House and Senate will no longer bring to a vote any bills to fund anything other than withdrawal. They have 83 colleagues already on board with that position, not to mention two thirds of the country. It would take 218 signatures on a discharge petition to force a bill to the floor of the House without Pelosi's approval. It is unlikely enough Democrats would oppose their party to fund Bush's war in that way. In the Senate, Reid alone could refuse to bring a bill to the floor, or another senator could put a secret hold on a bill. And, while not all bills can be filibustered (appropriations bills can be, budget reconciliation bills cannot), you can hardly claim you need 60 votes to get past a filibuster without admitting that with only 41 you could launch your own filibuster and that with 51 you could defeat any bill. Once you understand the goal as blocking bills rather than passing them, the number of allies you need shrinks dramatically.

Please sign the Peace Pledge and urge your Congress Member and both of your Senators to do so.
 
More from this author:
U.S. v. Bush (6682 Hits)
By David Swanson Now, we almost all agree that Bush and Cheney have done bad things. But have they actually committed crimes? If you know...
The Melbourne Minutes: New Downing Street Memos from Down Under (7761 Hits)
By David Swanson Over a year before the United States launched an endless war on Iraq in what President George W. Bush told Congress was...
Be All That You Can Be: Leave the Army (6400 Hits)
By David Swanson As long as there has been a U.S. military, people have been leaving it. That choice has never been more appropriate than...
Closer to Home (6161 Hits)
By David Swanson I did something worse than St. Augustine did when I was a kid. I must confess I broke into a house on the other side of...
Honesty in Iraq (5345 Hits)
By David Swanson The Minneapolis Star-Tribune recently published an editorial that said of Bush: "His pronouncements now bear no...
Related Articles:
Dear Dubya: The Iraq Solution! (9975 Hits)
Hey there Georgie Boy, long time no speak. From what I’ve been hearing, you’ve had a rough time as of late. As always, I’m here to help. So...
BREAKING NEWS: Eisenhower Carrier Group Sails for Iran Theater (23897 Hits)
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Eisenhower and its accompanying strike force of cruiser, destroyer and attack submarine slipped their moorings...
Nukes: Iran and North Korea are not the problem (13879 Hits)
by Mickey Z. Thanks to the nuclear aspirations of North Korea and Iran, there's no shortage of rhetoric along these lines: "We can't let...
Why Bush Smiles: Victory is at Hand in Iraq (12024 Hits)
Despite George W. Bush's ostentatious bucking up of the Iraqi government yesterday, it is very likely that there will indeed be an...
U.S. Service Academy Graduates Unite Against Illegal Iraq War (12298 Hits)
Atlantic Free Press Netherlands – (October 26, 2006) – The overwhelming response by alumni of United States service academies to the...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top