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Which Members Of Congress Want Peace? No, I Mean REALLY Want Peace

Posted by DownWithTyranny on March 6th, 2010

From our partners at DownWithTyranny!


I’ve been astounded at the number of otherwise thoroughly progressive Democratic candidates who seem to be telling me something to the effect of “well, I do want peace and Bush and Cheney were assholes and Iraq was terrible but let’s leave it to Obama to figure out how to get us out of Afghanistan.” Fortunately, not all Democrats running for Congress have that mentality. It’s refreshing to hear House candidates Marcy Winograd (D-CA), Regina Thomas (D-FL) and Bill Hedrick (D-CA) and Senate contenders Jennifer Brunner (D-OH) and Elaine Marshall (D-NC) as eager to hold Obama’s feet to the fire as they would be Bush’s and Cheney’s; maybe not as eager but definitely as willing.

And as I’ve mentioned many times before, there were 32 courageous Democrats who voted against Obama’s shameful supplemental war appropriations bill last June. Yesterday one of those courageous Democrats, Cleveland’s Dennis Kucinich, introduced H.Con.Res. 248, a privileged resolution that will require the House of Representatives to debate whether to continue the war in Afghanistan. Next Wednesday, March 11th will probably be the day this is debated. So far there are 16 co-sponsores: John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI); Ron Paul (R-TX); José Serrano (D-NY); Bob Filner (D-CA); Lynn Woolsey (D-CA); Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC); Danny Davis (D-IL); Barbara Lee (D-CA); Michael Capuano (D-MA); Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ); Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); Timothy Johnson (R-IL); Yvette Clarke (D-NY); Eric Massa (D-NY); Alan Grayson (D-FL); and Chellie Pingree (D-ME).

This is what Dennis said yesterday on the House floor when he introduced the resolution:

“There is a new way to fight war in Afghanistan. U.S. Commanders are publicly telling the Taliban when we are coming and where we are going to wage war. This while Karzai tries to cut a deal with the Taliban!
 
“Meanwhile a large offensive is being mounted– an assault on Kandahar.  The U.S. is going to have 100,000 troops ready for a big battle by autumn and logistical problems abound.  Here is a quote from the February 20th National Journal, “So, despite the immense effort to push out supplies, the front-line fighters sometimes don’t even have the minimum they need. ‘We had guys out there at outposts in my area of operations starving because we couldn’t get resupply in to them,’” said one Major. 
 
“What is this all about? To strengthen corrupt central government officials building villas in Dubai? I am introducing a privileged resolution to get us out of Afghanistan and I urge your support,” Kucinich added.

And, as I said, not all Democratic candidates for Congress have been snowed by Obama and the Pentagon. President Obama needs to start thinking about what he’s going to do when this sort of thing starts happening– as it inevitably will– here in the U.S. Marcy Winograd is running against one of the worst of the corporate war-mongers, Jane Harman. Marcy has never wavered, regardless of which party controlled the White House:

I support Congressman Kucinich’s resolution to force debate on the war and carnage in Afghanistan. Why are we still there? To prop up a permanent war economy here? Now is the time to transition to a new Green economy, to forsake weapons manufacturing for infrastructure repair in America. In order to realign our priorities, to make security at home a top concern, we need our congress to lead the way out of Afghanistan. When elected, I am prepared to do that.

As Robert Naiman wrote yesterday at Just Foreign Policy, “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.”

Ideally, from the point of view of the Pentagon, Congress would fork over that money right away, before the coming Kandahar offensive that the $33 billion is supposed to pay for, because you can expect a lot of bad news out of Afghanistan in the form of deaths of U.S. soldiers and Afghan civilians once the Kandahar offensive starts, and it would sure be awkward if all that bad news reached Washington while the $33 billion was hanging fire.

So it’s a great thing that Rep. Kucinich and his 16 allies are forcing Congress to debate the issue, and it would be even better if more Members of Congress would be urged by their constituents to support Kucinich’s resolution. That would be a signal to the House leadership that continuation of the open-ended war and occupation is controversial in the House, and the House leadership should not try to ram through $33 billion more for the war on a fast-track without ample opportunity for debate and amendment.

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