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Afghanistan And Libya Have Something In Common– More Death, Destruction And Wasted Tax Dollars

Posted by DownWithTyranny on March 18th, 2011

From our partners at DownWithTyranny!

Rep. Karen Bass did the right thing yesterday

Yesterday Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) pointed out during the debate over NPR that public radio is twice as popular as the American occupation of Afghanistan. That didn’t stop Republicans from ramming through a resolution to defund NPR– or one to keep the war going. Dennis Kucinich’s resolution to safely remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of year had a dozen cosponsors: Mike Capuano (D-MA), John Conyers (D-MI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Bob Filner (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). In the end, 8 Republicans and 85 Democrats voted to end the occupation. 222 Republicans and 99 Democrats voted for endless war. It failed 93-321.

No Democrats who voted against the resolution will be eligible for a Blue America endorsement in 2012. One of the Republicans eager to continue the war, Dave Reichert in the Seattle suburbs, voted against the wishes of his district. The Democrat– and Blue America endorsee– who almost beat him in 2008 was Darcy Burner. I’m hoping she runs again next year and I asked her how she was thinking about the war during the vote yesterday. She told me “Our strategy in Afghanistan isn’t working. It’s way past time we ended the war. Congressional Republicans claim we’re so broke that we can’t afford to educate our kids, repair our roads, keep cops and firefighters on the job, or invest in clean energy. But then they turn around and vote to keep spending $118 billion per year on our military presence in Afghanistan– more than the cost of all of the catastrophic cuts they’ve proposed combined Our military succeeded in driving al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan. We won. Now let’s come home.”

I also spoke to two pro-peace stalwarts in Florida who Blue America will always be behind, neither of whom had a chance to vote yesterday. Last year Alan Grayson introduced a bill similar to the one Kucinich introduced. I spoke with him on the phone minutes after the vote yesterday and this is what he told me:

We are cutting funds for schools, police departments, fire departments, health clinics, sanitation, water and sewer services, highway departments and public transportation, but it seems like there is always money for war. In the right wing’s New America, you can forget about health, safety, jobs, benefits, reading, writing, and getting from point A to point B. But thanks to our spending almost $1 trillion a year on the military, at least you won’t have to worry about a Soviet invasion.

Nick Ruiz is running for the House seat next door to Alan’s and currently occupied by right-wing rubber stamp Sandy Adams. She voted for more war. He wouldn’t have. “When industrial scale war operations become the number one special interest of the United States government, as evinced by the fact that we spend approximately half of all the revenue we take in on military activities– it comes as no surprise at all, that despite the valiant efforts of Rep. Dennis Kucinich and others to end U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, they are simply outnumbered, and in this case, outgunned by the radical Republican Right. With order takers like Rep. Sandy Adams all over America ready to execute the agenda of the Republican brass at beckon call– Democrats had better buck up, or the war years shall never end.”

If you’d like to hep Nick’s campaign, you can do it here… or perhaps you want endless war in Afghanistan.

A personal note here. Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign– and an old friend and ally– introduced me to California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass on the night she announced her run for the House seat that Diane Watson was retiring from– the House seat in my own Los Angeles district. Karen has been on the right side of all the tough issues in this state. But after chatting with her about education policy I asked her about Afghanistan. She is against war and went off on Bush. I think I stunned her by reminding her that the occupation of Afghanistan is an Obama problem now, not a Bush problem and I asked her if she would be willing to vote to defund that occupation despite Obama wanting it to continue. She seemed to look at me like I was from another planet. I don’t think the idea had ever crossed her mind. Later when she addressed the whole group of people at Rick’s house she pointed to me– not in an entirely friendly way– and said I wanted her to oppose the president.

Today, I’m proud to say, she did. It was her first war vote and she came through with flying colors, in effect, taking Alan Grayson’s place on the line, voting the way he would have voted. I was so glad the Member of Congress representing my neighborhood really did represent my neighborhood, a neighborhood as adamantly opposed to Obama’s failed occupation of Afghanistan as it was opposed to Bush’s failed war there. Two California Republicans– John Campbell and Dana Rohrabacher– also voted to end the occupation. And so did 20 California Democrats besides Karen Bass– Judy Chu, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Bob Filner, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, George Miller, Grace Napolitano, Laura Richardson, Linda Sánchez, Loretta Sanchez, Jackie Speier, Pete Stark, Mike Thompson, Maxine Waters, Henry Waxman and Lynn Woolsey.

Except for Mike Capuano (MA), Democrats likely to be seeking higher office next year– Shelley Berkley (NV), Joe Donnelly (IN), Martin Heinrich (NM), and Chris Murphy (CT)– all voted against Kucinich’s resolution.

And is another war looming? An hour after the House voted to continue the occupation of Afghanistan into the knowable future, the UN Security Council voted unanimously– with 5 abstentions (Russia, China, Germany, Brazil and India)– for a probably pointless No Fly Zone over All Measures Necessary Against Libya. Voting for the No Fly Zone were the U.S., U.K., France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal and South Africa.

The measure allows not only a no-fly zone but effectively any measures short of a ground invasion to halt attacks that might result in civilian fatalities. It comes as Colonel Qaddafi warned residents of Benghazi, Libya, the rebel capital, that an attack was imminent and promised lenient treatment for those who offered no resistance.

…The United States, originally leery of any military involvement in Libya, became a strong proponent of the resolution, particularly after the Arab League approved a no-fly zone, something that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called a “game changer.”

With the recent advances made by pro-Qaddafi forces in the east, there was a growing consensus in the Obama administration that imposing a no-fly zone by itself would no longer make much of a difference and that there was a need for  more aggressive airstrikes that would make targets of Colonel Qaddafi’s tanks and heavy artillery– an option sometimes referred to as a no-drive zone. The United States or its allies might also send military personnel to advise and train the rebels, an official said.

In the most strident verbal attack on Colonel Qaddafi to date by an American official, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that the Western powers had little choice but to provide critical military backing for the rebels. “We want to support the opposition who are standing against the dictator,” she told an applauding audience in Tunisia on Thursday. “This is a man who has no conscience and will threaten anyone in his way.”

She added that Colonel Qaddafi would do “terrible things” to Libya and its neighbors.“It’s just in his nature. There are some creatures that are like that.”

The Qaddafi government responded to the potential United Nations action with threats.

“Any foreign military act against Libya will expose all air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea to danger and civilian and military facilities will become targets of Libya’s counter-attack,” it said in a statement carried on Libyan television and the official news agency, JANA, Reuters reported. “The Mediterranean basin will face danger not just in the short-term, but also in the long-term.”

There were reports on Thursday that warplanes were already bombarding the outskirts of Benghazi for a second day, opening shots, perhaps, in the battle. And after days of batterings at the hands of Qaddafi loyalists, the opposition forces welcomed the promise of Western assistance.

Is a U.S. president allowed to commit troops and stuff without a declaration of war? I thought that was impeachable when Bush did it. What’s the difference?

Tallahassee Teabaggers Demanding Rubio Oppose Unconstitutional U.S. Attack On Libya

Sure, most of the teabaggers are clueless reactionary imbeciles and racists. This group in Tallahassee certainly fits that bill. But they are also demanding their boy Marco Rubio follow Ron Paul down a path against unconstitutional wars against small nations not attacking us, in this case, Libya. Regardless of warmongers Lieberman, McCain and Kerry, most Americans, not just crazed teabaggers, oppose attacking Libya. Will Rubio follow McCain and Lieberman– or stick with the teabaggers who got him into office. Watch Ron Paul on the House floor yesterday:

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