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Obama Insists On Going Down In History As The President Who Tore The Country Apart Over A Misguided, Pointless War In Afghanistan

Posted by DownWithTyranny on July 27th, 2010

From our partners at DownWithTyranny!

So today’s the day we get a straight up-or-down vote on continuing the brutal, dysfunctional occupation of Afghanistan and the disastrous, pointless war there. The Senate stripped away the sweeteners– keeping the economy afloat– that gave reluctant Democrats cover to go along with it– and gave some Republicans cover to oppose it! The money the Senate removed for state governments to pay teachers and the money that would have gone to small family farms, many of them impoverished black farmers will make it all the harder to round up enough non-Blue Dogs to help Republicans pass this Frankenstein’s monster of a war funding bill. As we pointed out Sunday, the giant wikileak is making it harder for Obama to put enough lipstick on this pig for most Democrats to want to bed down with.

It comes up today on the suspension calendar, which means it needs a two-thirds majority to pass. That’s not going to happen. There’s no way the House leadership is going to round up 130 Democrats to declare openly that they are nothing but corrupt, filthy shills for the Military Industrial Complex. As David Swanson from WarIsACrime.org, “here’s where the hypocrisy hits the highway. On July 1st, 162 congress members voted to require a withdrawal plan and end date for the occupation of Afghanistan, and 100 voted to fund only withdrawal, no continuation of war, while 25 voted to simply stop dumping any money into this war. Now all of them must vote yes or no, probably on Tuesday, on whether to fund a major escalation of the war in Afghanistan. You won’t hear anyone mention it, but this $33 billion is to add 30,000 troops plus contractors to the war.”

Most of the debate this morning consisted of Republicans and sold-out conservative Democrats angry at the world babbling about not spending any money on anything but wars– just the worst kinds of crap representatives a democracy can vomit out– from Buck McKeon (R-CA), Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Harold Rogers (R-KY) to Norm Dicks (D-WA) and Ike Skelton (D-MO). A couple of breaths of fresh air came from Jim McGovern (D-MA) who flat out called the war “a disaster,” something most of these imbeciles refuse to admit, even the ones who know it. He pointed out that we’re allowing our soldiers to die while borrowing money, putting the country in hock to prop up a corrupt, barely legitimate government in Kabul. He railed against presidents getting blank checks from Congress. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH):

Wake Up America. WikiLeaks’ release of secret war documents gave us 92,000 reasons to end the wars. Pick one. Wake Up America. Main Street is falling apart. Businesses have closed. Bankruptcies abound. People are losing their jobs, losing their homes, losing their retirement security. The middle class is falling apart. Workers’ rights are not being protected. The government is out of money. There is not even money for childhood nutrition. “Wake up America. There is unlimited money for war. Money for a corrupt government in Afghanistan. When U.S. money is not going to the Karzai mob’s personal use, it goes to help the Taliban kill our troops. There is money for a corrupt government in Pakistan which helps the Taliban in Afghanistan kill our troops. Meanwhile, our troops are committing suicide in record numbers. Wake Up America. How can we solve the world’s problems if we can’t solve our own problems here at home?

Barbara Lee, who was the only member of Congress to oppose attacking Afghanistan in the first place, followed Kucinich. She spoke about ending the war by defunding it and reiterated what every Democrat should be saying– that no money should be spent on anything to with Afghanistan other than bringing our troops home safely. The chair then asked for a voice vote and claimed it passed with two-thirds, at which time Dave Obey called their bullshit and demanded a recorded vote. The leadership postponed that to see if they could actually find enough Democrats do vote with GOP warmongers.

At that point, staunch anti-war progressives Raul Grijalva, Barbara Lee Dennis Kucinich, Alan Grayson and others released this statement:

Once again, war is being paid for with a credit card while investments in our children’s future are tossed aside. These investments– $10 billion for teacher jobs, $1 billion for summer youth employment, $5 billion for Pell grants, $701 million for border security– were cut from the war funding bill coming to the House floor despite being fully paid for and not adding to the budget deficit. They have been jettisoned in favor of further borrowed war spending. Today’s bill doesn’t include anything to maintain first responder, police or firefighter positions despite the dramatic need for those jobs in every community in America. We believe this is fiscal insanity and a moral tragedy.

Consider the following: Despite widespread shortfalls in education funding around the country, the $10 billion that would have saved 140,000 teacher jobs across the nation– all of it offset– has been cut. The $37.12 billion in war funding, on the other hand, is not paid for. Every single penny adds directly to the national debt. This is not good for national security. This is continuing a failed policy at the exact wrong time.

The bill before the House denies our children the right to an education and takes away their future earning power. It also adds to the economic burden they will eventually have to bear. This is a moral outrage. We find it unacceptable that this Congress places a greater priority on foreign wars than urgent domestic needs. We have compounded our moral short-sightedness with utter fiscal irresponsibility.

After the dramatic revelations of this week, it is clearer than ever just how daunting a task our troops face in Afghanistan. We are trying to build a modern, democratic state in an area divided by tribal and ethnic identities that has successfully resisted foreign powers for centuries. We are fighting for one side in a civil war, killing civilians, building resentment toward the United States, and making it nearly impossible to gain the popular support that could make success possible.

As multiple reports have shown, pervasive corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan siphons resources so that even worthwhile projects are doomed to fail. This is not how we want to spend borrowed money. Our people at home are facing a difficult job market, lower funding for education, and a shattered Gulf economy that needs significant attention. We need to prioritize and make the right choices, not continue as before out of inertia or a lack of urgency. We urge the president to consider how this spending really improves the lives of Americans and how it can be spent in more productive ways.

So how could any Democrat vote to continue funding this mess?

Chellie Pingree (D-ME), who signed on to the letter above (as did Jared Polis, John Conyers, Donna Edwards and several other progressives), was on Hardball last night talking about the wikileaks and the pointless war in Afghanistan with Tweety. She did a great job:

UPDATE: What You Expected

Jim Holbert is a progressive Democrat running for Congress in Kentucky’s 5th congressional district. Unfortunately his opponent longtime warmonger Hal Rogers got to vote today instead. And Rogers voted for more war, more billions of much needed taxpayer dollars down the Central Asian sewer. Holbert’s comment: “De-fund it, bring the troops home, and there’s the end of it. This is going to happen sooner or later, the only questions are how many more lives will be lost and how much more debt we’ll run up.” Rogers voted against Kucinich’s War Powers resolution in regard to Pakistan– so did almost everyone else. It failed 38-372, 6 Republicans and 32 Democrats voting YES, with 4 abstentions. And then the supplemental a few minutes later. 102 Democrats and 12 Republicans voted against it. So it passed– more unjustifiable war in our names– 308-114. Let me take a quick look and see if any good Democrats voted for it. Hold on a sec… Yep, joining the Borens, Boyds, Barrows, Beans, Brights, Harmen and Shulers, we find a scattering of progressives, whose names we should keep in mind when they ask for campaign contributions: Bruce Braley (IA), Susan Davis (CA), Diana DeGette (CO), Martin Heinrich (NM), Tom Perriello (VA), Lucille Royball-Allard (CA), Chris Van Hollen (MD)… ugghhhh, too many to name. All the real good guys voted no though, people like Donna Edwards, Tammy Baldwin, Carol Shea-Porter, Jared Polis, Lloyd Doggett, Steve Filner… you know.

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