c.i. called and told me to get ready to listen. i was hearing the radio. dennis bernstein was interviewing robert parry and greg palast on KPFA's Flashpoints tonight. after that, dennis read a poem that i really enjoyed. i'm sure i'll forget to put that in or forget her name if i wait, so let me say that the poet's name is dorianne laux and her poem was, i think, called 'the orgasms of organisms.'
so parry and palast were talking about a number of things but i'm focusing on the whole firing of prosecutor's scandal. dennis asked if it was 'gonzales-gate' yet or if it had a 'gate' to it? i haven't seen 1 myself but i assumed that was because i'm just reading and listening to npr (we're on the road, it's all we can stomach and there's no pacifica signal to pick up).
he asked parry if he thought this was being blown out of proportion and parry said no (and i agreed and agree with the point he made) that this is how the administration's done business from the beginning.
some people are apparently saying, 'you should focus on torture!' yeah, they should. at another time, like many years back. but they didn't. this has traction and i'll take it. this is not just about 1 issue, this is the how they do business, how they've always done it. it's like this is their sewing pattern and they use it whenever they deal with anything.
here's my big concern/problem with any 1 who wants to say 'forget this and focus on torture.' we've got dems, we're talking dems, okay, they don't do a whole lot to begin with. so if they're going after an issue (at least for now), let 'em go. maybe they'll find the guts to follow through on other issues? but even if they don't make the connection that it's all the same pattern, history will. if alberto's forced out on this, the history books will note it and note that it could have been torture or warrantless spying or anything because it was the same pattern.
my fear is that he doesn't get forced out and history is written to show him in a kind light.
i would love it if they'd go after torture, but what does michael ratner always say, that he goes to congress and he goes to congress and they always have an excuse, they agree but it's not the right time. this may be the only thing they get him on and i do not think it's minor and i think it goes to how the white house has done business.
and, for dreamers, you can hope that they'll next tackle the torture issue. this is from stephen crockett's 'Republican RICO-Style Abuse of Power' (consortium news):
There is nothing as corrupt as using the governmental powers of law enforcement, to selectively prosecute your political enemies and to cover-up criminal behavior by your political organization and allies, while in a position of political power. This situation is the essence of the current scandal concerning the firing of U.S. Attorneys by the Bush White House.
The Watergate scandal should have taught the Republican Party that this kind of abuse is outside the bounds of acceptable political behavior in American society. Republican activists failed to learn the lessons of Watergate and are now reliving history on issue after issue.
Republican Presidential pardon powers were used to thwart the rule of law and let the Republican political criminal Richard Nixon avoid the jail time he deserved. Republicans should have gone to jail in large numbers doing the Iran-Contra scandals.
In that case, a Republican White House ignored the rule of law. They abused the traditions of normal American political behavior and federal law to impose their minority foreign policy views on an American public opposed to the Republican ideologically based policies. Instead, Presidential pardon powers were abused to help Republican political criminals avoid the jail time they deserved.
The current Bush White House by executive order changed the process on revealing prior Presidential papers to the public early in George W. Bush's first term in a way that prevented revelation of criminal behaviors concerning Iran-Contra figures. The role of his father, the first George Bush, in the criminal behavior concerning of Iran-Contra remains unexplored. The executive order may violate the Presidential Papers Act.
read that and tell me this isn't important. and i'll come back to the topic of secrecy and sunshine in a moment. greg palast was talking about how harriet miers was the hit man for bully boy before and that, more than being a party hack, it was the fact that she knew where the bodies were buried, helped cover the graves and was intensly loyal to bully boy that accounts for the seriously unqualified miers being nominated for the supreme court. this is from his 'Bush Hit-Woman BehindProsecutor Firings Has Long Historyof Purges to Protect Bush' (gregpalast.com):
The Mister Big behind the scandal of George Bush’s firing of US Attorneys is not a ‘mister’ at all. The House Judiciary Committee has released White House emails indicating that the political operative who ordered the hit on prosecutors too honest for their own good was Harriet Miers, one-time legal counsel to the President.
But this is not the first time that Miers has fired investigators to protect Mr. Bush.
In 1999, while investigating Governor George Bush of Texas for the Guardian papers of Britain, I obtained an extraordinary, and extraordinarily confidential, memo to the US Attorney’s office in Austin. It disclosed that, in 1997, Governor Bush secretly suggested to the chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission that she grant a contract to the client of a Bush ally.
The Governor’s back-door demand to the Lottery chairwoman was not so easy. Bush wanted the Lottery to grant a multi-billion dollar contract to GTech Corporation. But GTech hadn’t even bid on the contract - and a winner was already announced.
There was only way for the Chairwoman to carry out the fix: fire the director of the Lottery who had discouraged GTech from bidding because of its history of corruption.
The Chairwoman, Harriet Miers, did the deed: fired the Lottery director; Miers then ignored the winning bid -- and gave Bush’s favored company the contract, no bidding, in perpetuity.
Miers and the Draft
Neither Miers nor President Bush have ever denied the contents of the memo [I've posted it here] despite repeated requests from the Guardian and BBC Television.
Bush’s attempt to appoint Hit-woman Harriet to the US Supreme Court in 2005 surprised many. Not me. Miers, personal and governmental lawyer for George Bush, had quite a file on her boss, and he must have been grateful for her discretion.
Most crucially, she knew why Bush so desperately needed to give GTech the lottery contract. The heart of the matter was the then-successful cover-up of the Bush family’s using its influence to get young George Bush into the Texas Air National Guard and out of the Vietnam war draft.
here's a taste of parry's most recent piece (it was in yesterday's snapshot also):
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney may deserve the most blame for the Iraq War, but a core reality shouldn't be missed: the four-year-old conflict resulted from a systemic failure in Washington -- from the White House, to congressional Republicans and Democrats, to an insular national news media, to Inside-the-Beltway think tanks.
It was a perfect storm that had been building for more than a quarter century, a collision of mutually reinforcing elements: aggressive Republicans, triangulating Democrats, careerist journalists, bullying cable-TV and talk-radio pundits, hard-hitting and well-funded think tanks on the Right versus ineffectual and marginalized groups on the Left.
"Tough-guy-ism" from Washington's armchair Rambos had become the capital's controlling ideology, especially after the 9/11 terror attacks. In part, the Iraq War could be viewed as a macho parlor game of one-upmanship gone mad, with very few daring to be called unmanly or un-American.
The war that has killed some 3,200 U.S. soldiers and possibly hundreds of thousands of Iraqis also can be traced to conflicting self-interests, pitting what makes sense for Washington insiders against what’s best for the broader American public and especially military families.
he was talking about the systemic failure tonight with dennis and greg. and how the press rolled over on its duties and he had strong words for democrats as well. i was glad. but this isn't something minor, this is how business has been done from day 1 by this administration.
okay, this is from the telegraph of london:
President George W Bush's chief political adviser was dragged into the centre of the scandal over the sacking of eight US attorneys yesterday when Congress demanded that he testify on oath over his alleged involvement.
An influential committee passed a resolution insisting that Karl Rove should testify on oath about the firing of the lawyers by the White House.
The administration has argued that the dismissals were largely related to performance problems. But critics claim that prosecutors were dismissed to make room for Bush allies or because the administration felt that some were too tough on Republicans and too easy on Democrats.
well the e-mails reveal that those fired weren't quote: 'bushies' and i think that says it all. so now bully boy was on npr (quoted, he wasn't interviewed) saying a 'showdown' was looming - he does love his war talk. next he'll be calling house dems 'an axis of evil.' he's also said that this is 'partisan' - it is 'partisan' to refuse to allow people to testify under oath (as he's trying to do) and to insist that a transcript not be kept.
this is what happens when you get a c.e.o. (a really bad 1, granted) in place of some 1 who knows how to govern. he thinks any matter can be hushed up the way a business would do it. handled 'internally.' this administration has never grasped that they don't just get the people's monies, they also work for the people. and they are answerable to the people.
his proposal ... wait, i'll get back to it. 1st, this is from australia's the age:
Congressional Democrats defied President George Bush today and authorised legal orders to compel White House aides including Karl Rove to testify under oath about the firing of eight US prosecutors.
Moving closer to a high-stakes showdown, a House of Representatives Judiciary subcommittee agreed on a voice vote to authorise subpoenas if Rove, Bush's senior political adviser, and others refuse to answer questions before Congress.
"We have worked toward voluntary cooperation on this investigation, but we must prepare for the possibility that the Justice Department and White House will continue to hide the truth," said the panel's chairwoman, Democratic representative Linda Sanchez of California.
The vote came a day after Bush vowed to oppose any subpoenas. He offered instead to allow aides to answer questions, but only behind closed doors, not under oath and with no transcript taken of their exchanges.
see what's he's offering. that's handling it 'internally' the way a corporation would. it's not the way government does business. he doesn't just have to satisfy congress, he has to satisfy the american people. this isn't national security (an excuse i rarely buy, but it hasn't been offered on this scandal). so this idea that there will be private interviews and the people won't even see a transcript of it? that's insane. we're not 'stock holders,' we're citizens in a democracy and he and every 1 else is answerable to us. for that to happen, we need sunshine, we need open government. he has ruled like he is c.e.o. of america and he is not a c.e.o., he is a public servant and the people have a right to know.
as always, closing with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot' and thank you to c.i. for the shout-out in the 1st paragraph:
Wednesday, March 21, 2007. Chaos and violence continue; Kristin M. Hall covers the latest on "one of the worst atrocities in the Iraq war" and she and co-workers at AP are some of the few who can hold their heads high because most everyone took a pass; but the key thing about today is that it's the day after March 20th and we're seeing what Rebecca long ago termed the "Baby cried the day the circus came to town" coverage: It settles, then it picks ups and leaves.
We'll open by noting something worthy. Pacifica Radio deserves praise for a program, which originated at WBAI, noting the 4th anniversary with a two hour special program American War in Iraq: The Fraud, the Folly, the Failure featuring speeches, interviews and discussions. Daniel Ellsberg spoke of the opposition during the Vietnam era and the importance of the opposition. "They say it will take a lot more courage than we've seen," Ellsberg said, "to end this war." Bernard White hosted the two-hour program with David Occhiuto. Howard Zinn shared, "It's just about four years since the United States invaded and attacked Iraq with an enormous arsenel of weaponry . . . what was called 'shock and awe'. And so we've had four years to evaluate what we have accomplished. Have we brought democracy or freedom to Iraq in these four years? Have we brought peace or security to Iraq? I think it's quite clear -- we've brought the opposite. We've brought choas and death and misery to Iraq." He also noted the US Congress' comedy of ineptitude as they debate "timetables for withdrawal" when each day brings more of our soldiers will be dead, more amputees, more Iraqi children dead, more Iraqi families forced from their homes, more of those shameful scenes that we've seen of US soldiers breaking down the doors of an Iraq family. There's something absurd about a timetable for withdrawal given what we are doing. If someone broke into your home, smashed everything, terrorized your children, would you give them a timetable to leave? No. . . . They say, and this to me has always been ridiculous, if we withdrawal we will create chaos and violence. Well what do we have there now?"
We'll note a few more of the voices featured.
Elizabeth de la Vega: "I think it's critical that we address the legal and political terrain that led up to the war because it's never really been addressed. . . . What we know, based on public information, now is that various members of the Bush administration. including the president. set about -- at least starting openly in September 2002 -- to persuade Congress by doing this marketing campaign aimed at both Congress and the public. Which, of course, if they had been truthful (in stating their grounds for war and so forth), there would be no fraud but there is really overwhelming evidence that the administration was deceitful in almost every regard about whether that had in fact decided to go to war, what their reasons were in a more general sense, but also the details they offered in support of their arguments for example that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted nuclear weapons, and that he had chemical weapons and so forth. Virutally every area of the marketing campaign involved both general deceits and very specific deceits that were made over and over again.
Dahlia S. Wasfi: "In the spirit that all human lives carries equal, immeasurable worth, we need to stop our practice of seperate bodycounts. There are at least 4,000 American dead. The Pentagon's tally counts only those service men and women who die in the sands of Iraq. There are at least 4,000 American dead. But this was the death toll of Iraq after the first few hours of our campaigns to shock and awe them. I'm quite sure that a report estimating 655,000 Americans dead due to our bloody occupation would mandate an end to the slaughter. Why do we value Iraqi blood less? And with all do respect, it is a discriminatory practice to identify dead Americans as husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters, and not do the same for Iraqis. They are all human beings. The difference is that the Americans followed illegal orders and are guilty of the Nuremberg crime against peace. Iraqis, 7,000 miles away, are guilty of being born Iraqi. The death toll we need to mark is the human toll, 659,000 and counting. The civilians at the other end of our weapons don't have a choice but American soldiers have choices. And we know the truth, our soldiers don't sacrifice for duty, honor, country, they sacrifice for Kellogg Brown and Root. Our soldiers, they don't fight for America, they fight for their lives and their buddies beside them because they are in a war zone. They're not defending our freedoms. They're laying the foundation for fourteen permanent military bases to defend the freedoms of Exxon Mobile and British Petroleum. They're not establishing democracy. They're establishing the basis for an economic occupation to continue after the military occupation has ended. I recently received this message from a friend in Baghdad who found my Congressional testimony on the internet. "Dear Dahlia, I have tried to write you back but I have been so busy with moving my mother and two brothers out of Baghdad. They are now living with my relatives in another city I am still in Baghdad as I can't leave my job. My father was kidnapped on December 16th of 2006 couple of blocks away from my family's house. He was taken by men who were using Glock pistols. The same pistols used by the new police force we are training" so don't talk to me about civil war "We have paid the ransom money but it has been over a month and there has been no word. As dangerous as it is I still have to go to the Baghdad morgue every week searching for the man who I owe him all my life. Just imagine the kind of mentality you have when you go there and expect to see your father on the widescreen they have displaying the bodies I am too afraid to go to the house where I was raised. The house has probably been taken by gang or militia the usual thing in Baghdad today. We are moving towards a dead end. There is no way out, no fire escape, no exit. We Iraqis are all registered on the very long list of death and nobody is exempted. Do not let your courageous voice stop." We must dare to speak out in support of the Iraqi people who resist and endure the horrific existance we brought upon them through our blood thirsty imperial crusade. We must dare to speak out in support of those American soldiers the real heroes who uphold their oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, including those inside the Beltway. As Lt. Watada said, and you've heard it before, To stop an illegal and unjust war the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it. The organization Iraq Veterans Against the War is comprised of young men and women with a wisdom, courage and conviction of those well beyond their years. It is these veterans, like Vietnam veterans against the war before them who know the ground truth and they are demanding that Congress support the troops by cutting the funding. That is they are demanding that Congress support the troops by cutting the funding to mandate their immediate, unconditional withdrawal. I close with a quote from Frederick Douglas: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will." Everyone of us must keep demanding, keep fighting, keep speaking, keep struggling until justice is served.
No justice, no peace.
White and Occhiuto had a discussion with Iraq Veterans Against the War's Michael Harmon, Demond Mullins and Jason LeMieux and here's a sample of some of the discussion:
Jason: In my experience, it's largely counter-productive. At best, it's completely worthless because in the process of doing the sweeps, you supposedly cordon off an area and the troops form just one long line, however big the area is that's going to be sweeped, and they go through and search every home. Now generally speaking in the process of cordoning off the area they give whoever is in there plenty of time to either hide whatever evidence they have of resistance activity or to get out, to just exiltrate out just put down your weapons, just walk away. In my three tours we hardly ever found anything, hardly ever found any weapons, and those that we did, when we did find them, would usually be much less than we were expecting in the area and at the same time when the troops are going through and they're searching, they're usually acting in a very oppresive manner to the civilians because I mean you're in a -- you're searching peoples' homes. You know? People don't understand that. When we talk about fighting the insurgency and fighting the enemy this is in people's homes, it's in their neighorhoods it's actually people who live there that we're fighting. So troops go through and they talk directly to women, sometimes they'll actually physically touch them and push them to get them all into a room and this is all just a horribly, horribly dishonest thing to do to these people. And all it's doing is fueling the insugency. It's just creating more anger and resistance for us and making people want to fight us more. So at best it's useless and at worst, it's completely counter-productive.
Demond Mullins: Your whole life you have your parents teaching you what is right and what is wrong. What is the right way to treat people and what is the wrong way to treat people and then you're put into a situation where you have to behave violently towards people, you have to be oppressive towards people. And it's totally a mob mentality, you know? You get into character. I completely . . . I can say there were times when I was in Iraq and I was in tough situations where I completely lost myself and who I was as a person and who my parents raised me to be. And those are the moments that I look back now on, those are the moments that in retrospect I am the most embarrassed about because it was as if I was a different person and it was as if it was a whole lifetime ago that I behaved in that manner. And to be honest with myself I can't forgive myself for the way that I behaved towards people
when I was in Iraq and that's partially the reason why I'm doing the work that I'm doing.
Michael Harmon: I signed up as a "health care specialist," as the Army calls it, which turns out to be a combat medic. So I didn't sign up to really rush people's homes, I signed up to help the injured and the sick. But Geneva Conventions says they're not allowed to use medical vehicles and medical personnel for those type of activities but that was out the window over there. I used my M113 which is, our medical vehicle, it's a slightly, lightly armored, maybe like a tank, like a PC, and we smashed down gates with it. When infranty couldn't kick it in, if there was locks behind the gate, one of those bolt locks. And I was used also, like Jason was saying, to sweep areas. And it was . . . It wasn't what I signed up . . . I saw the fear on people's faces. The Americans get upset when tele-marketers call them at dinner time. Imagine if we kicked in your door and cornored you off in a little corner and rummaged through your stuff. I mean, this is not -- we're violating the rights of people. George says 'Oh, yeah, we want to give them their freedom and democracy' but yet we're not showing them that. We're showing them Nazi-ism really, that's what it comes down to.
Veronica Jarret Mackey: For me my personal experiences, I was there when the war originally broke out and also I was there in 2005 but from my personal experience, especially the first time there, my mission was to transport fuel from one military installation to another installation that was the only thing we did. We didn't enforce anything, we didn't build anything. We were just picking up fuel from one military base to another base and that was my whole mission the whole time I was there. And is it worth it? No. Is it worth just taking up something to bring it to somewhere else? No. There was no growth, no anything. So that was my personal experience. . . . When I did my mission, I had this thought in my head, "Oh my goodness I might be going out today and not coming back. I might never see my family again, I might never see my husband again, I might never see my buddy that's riding in the truck with me." We were targeted. We were hit with IEDs, small arms fire, RPGs, name it, we were hit with it on our convoys, so of course anxiety, everything mixed up together, going out not, knowing if we were going to come back."
There were other guests, other conversations. If you missed the special, you can listen to it at the WBAI archives -- Monday, 9:00 p.m., filed under "Home Fries" (the program it aired in place of) or you can listen to it at the Pacifica Radio main page.
On the special, Howard Zinn noted, "Soldiers like Ehren Watada are refusing to fight in Iraq and when more and more do that, well, maybe the war will come to an end." Elaine Pasquini (WRMEA) notes that the speaking out and opposition to the war includes the war resisters and notes how Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder and others have taken the issue to the people.
Watada, Anderson and Snyder are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Dean Walcott, Joshua Key, Agustin Aguayo, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
In Iraq today, two events compete for attention. One is a desire for a dialogue. In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Iraq's Sunni vice president, Tareq al-Hashemi stated that talks needed to begin with all Iraqis including so-called 'insurgents' because they are "just part of the Iraqi communities." The other? First some of today's violence.
CNN reports that a roadside bomb in Baghdad killed a police officer and left three more wounded and another roadside bomb in Baghdad that killed two people and also injured three police officers. Reuters notes that a bombing aimed "at the headquaters of a Kurdish party" in Mosul left five dead and 40 wounded. CBS and AP note a mortar attack in Madain that claimed three lives and left ten wounded. AFP notes that the number dead from the mortar attack in al-Madain is 8 with 18 injured. Reuters notes that an attempt by Iraqi police to dispose of "a huge truck bomb near the Finance Ministry in Baghdad" resulted in 12 people being injured and "collapsed part of the main highway linking the north and south of the capital." Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports that at least one person died in the Iraqi police's attempt to dispose of the truck bomb. AFP notes a bombing in Mosul that killed three people and one in Kirkuk that killed one person.
Reuters reports that "a former army brigadier and a friend" were shot dead in Falluja.
CBS and AP report the corpses of two police officer were discovered in Diwaniyah. Reuters notes three corpses discovered in Kut ("Shi'ite Mehdi Army militia members"). AFP reports: "On Wednesday, officials reported . . . another 33 corpses found shot and dumped in the capital."
Staying on the topic of violence, Kristin M. Hall (AP) reports on the latest regarding "one of the worst atrocities in the Iraq war" -- and she can use that language, anyone at AP can because they actually covered the story -- then and now. Yes, we're talking Abeer -- gang raped by US soldiers while her parents and five-year-old sister were murdered and then she was murdered as well. Paul Cortez and James P. Barker have already confessed in court (and been sentenced) to the part in the war crimes. Hall was reporting on Bryan Howard's trial which started today. He is thought to have been a "look out" who knew what was planned. After Howard, the next military trial will be Jesse Spielman's "scheduled for April 2." Steven D. Green, whom Cortez and Barker have portrayed as the ringleader, will be tried in a civilian court due to the fact that he had been discharged back when the story was still that 'insurgents' had attacked Abeer's home. In an update, Hall reports that Bryan Howard "pleaded guilty Wednesday to being an accessory to the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and the slaying of her family" and "also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice by lying to his superior officers". We'll again note the words of Captain Alex Pickands in the August Article 32 hearing into the death of Abeer and her family: "Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl."
The news of another guilty plea comes at a time when Lucinda Marshall (CounterPunch) rightly notes that "issues such as the violence against women that occur as a result of militarism become all but invisble at events such as the March on the Pentagon." Marshall recommends that everyone read "Statement of Conscience: A Feminist Vision for Peace" by the Feminist Peace Network.
With all the press al-Sadr has received recently, one big topic may be why al-Maliki -- supposedly standing up to al-Sadr (yeah, right) -- did him a solid? CNN notes Moqtada al-Sadr's "top aide" -- Ahmed Shibani -- was released from jail after two years behind bars on the orders of Nouri al-Maliki. Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports, "Shibani's release is likely to boost the standing of Maliki, a Shi'ite Islamist who relies on Sadr for political support, with the Sadrist movement which holds a quarter of the parliamentary seats in the ruling Shi'ite Alliance."
Turning to Australia, John Howard, who, try as he may, never managed to nudge ahead of Tony Blair, still remains a Bully Boy poodle. Patrick Walters (The Australian) reports that Howard, desperate to be re-elected, bellowed and blustered with statements about "The staes are extraordinarily high" and "I believe strongly that to signal our departure now would be against Australia's national interest." He's referring to Iraq. It's in Australia's national interest to be in Iraq? Well that must mean that they have 100,000 troops there. No? 50,000? No? 25,000? No? About 1,400. If it was truly important to the security of Australia, shouldn't that figure be higher? Well, he's trying hard to hold on to his office as prime minister and behind in the polls. Rod McGuirk (AP) reports that Howard "conceded Wednesday that keeping Australian troops in Iraq could cost him re-election" As Australia's ABC notes, Kevin Rudd and the Labor party support a withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq. And AP notes that a recent poll found that 68% found Howard "arrogant" (29% found Rudd "arrogant").
Turning to the US, House Rep and 2008 presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich has stated, "This week, we have the power to cut off the funding for the war and bring our troops home. If we continue to fund the war, our troops will continue to remain in harm's way. . . . How much more time are we going to give this misguided quagmire of a war? More than 3,200 of our brave men and women have perished in a needless, selfless war that does not have an end in sight. I have a real plan in place, HR 1234, that actually has the power to bring the troops home while transitioning to an international security and peacekeeping force. The people of the United States are way ahead of Congress in wanting to get out of Iraq. We need to listen to the mandate given to us by the American people on November 7, and act now to use the money that is in the pipeline to bring the troops home." The office of US House Rep Lynn Woolsey notes, "While the Congress debates a $120 billion supplemental that would continue the occupation of Iraq through 2008, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (CA) today laid out her plan for a 6-month withdrawal from Iraq before the House Foreign Affairs Committee." That's HR 508 which provides for a six-month withdrawal, cancels Bully Boy's War Powers Act (that he's used to abuse the Constitution and the world ever since), say "NO" to US bases in Iraq, "return all oil licenses back to the Iraqi people . . . and establish a commission to investigate the run-up to the war."
As the Pelosi measure attracts a lot of people and organizations who never accomplished anything (there's a personal "ouch" in there for someone), Kevin Zeese (Democracy Rising) notes that Gallup has polled and -- guess what -- Congress's numbers are falling -- approval numbers -- "and the pollster speculates that the Democrats failure to 'do anything substantive' on Iraq is the likely reason why." WalkOn has supported the measure and Democracy Rising features Howard Zinn's reply: "I'm disappointed in MoveOn. We are not politicians, we are citizens. Let the politicians advocate half-way measures if they choose, but only after they have felt the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not what is winnable in a shameful timorous Congress." And David Lindorff (This Can't Be Happening)notes: "If Democrats wanted to end the war, they could do so immediately by refusing to pass a supplemental funding measure to support it, but they don't want to do this. It's not that they fear being called unpatriotic -- hell, with 70 percent of the public wanting the war to end immediately, nobody would fault Congress for pulling the plug. . . . But ending the war would leave the Democrats without their best issue going into the 2008 national election: Bush's war. So instead of ending the war, they vote to oppose it, but then continue to fund it."
And finally, Tom Hayden takes a look back to yesterday to find meaning for today. Writing at The Huffington Post, Hayden notes: "Yes, history repeats and these days, increasingly so. For those fighting over Iraq funding today, I believe history offers useful lessons in the role of patient political organizing."