By David Swanson
The U.S. House of Representatives approved on Wednesday another $130 billion for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and (it goes without saying) Pakistan, money that will be used to continue the wars and to escalate the war in Afghanistan. In the spring, they will try to pass another $30 billion or more, labeled as funding for the escalation, but 4 out of 5 spineless warmongering congress members will tell their constituents at that point that they can’t vote against something that has already happened.
That didn’t stop them on Wednesday from telling their constituents that this $130 billion was not for the escalation. And, of course, peace groups had spent a year “strategically” opposing an escalation rather than the wars themselves, making it impossible to insist that congress members vote NO regardless of which dollars were for escalating.
At http://defundwar.org is a chart showing how members of congress voted, as well as how they voted on the same funding back in June, and which of them have cosponsored useful bills or publicly committed to voting no on war funding. On Wednesday 23 Democrats and 11 Republicans voted No on the war money, in combination with the larger military budget. That ought to at least break the bipartisan taboo on voting No. It ought to be safe now to vote No without enduring accusations of treason against the Vaterland. Here are the 34 (out of 435) who voted against funding wars and occupations opposed by the majority of Americans, Iraqis, Afghans, and the rule of law:
Baldwin, Bishop (UT), Campbell, Chaffetz, Clarke, Costello, Duncan, Ehlers, Ellison, Filner, Flake, Gohmert, Grayson, Johnson (IL), Kagen, Kucinich, Lee (CA), Lewis (GA), Lofgren, Lummis, McDermott, Nadler (NY), Paul, Payne, Polis (CO), Quigley, Serrano, Shimkus, Stark, Towns, Velázquez, Welch, Woolsey, Wu.
Back in June, all Republicans voted No because of unrelated measures packaged in the same vote, but at least some of the 11 who voted No this week probably voted No for the right reasons that time as well. Among the Democrats, 32 voted No in June compared to 23 this time. Of those 32, there are 19 who voted No in June but not this week, including some purported leaders of peace efforts in the House:
McGovern, Grijalva, Waters, Capuano, Conyers, Massa, Edwards, Sherman, Tsongas, Tierney, Watson, Speier, Shea-Porter, Pingree, Michaud, Kaptur, Honda, Farr, Doggett.
These 19 were among the 395 congress members who just voted to fund the wars and the escalation, with the exception of Speier who was among 5 congress members who did not vote one way or the other.
At http://defundwar.org we have listed 12 congress members who have committed to voting No on war funding, and 1 who has committed to voting No on escalation funding. Of those 13 congress members, 6 kept their word and voted No on Wednesday, but 7 (including the one committed to voting No only on escalation funding) betrayed their word and hoped nobody would notice. They were: Massa, Conyers, Capuano, Waters, Jones, Grijalva, and McGovern.
Of these 7, all but Waters and McGovern signed on this week to a bill to be introduced by Congressman Kucinich in January that would end the wars. But a bill ending a war has to be passed by the Senate and signed by a president. It should be a tool for mobilizing support in the House to vote No on the war funding, not an excuse to vote Yes. These congress members committed to voting No within days of voting yes.
Here’s a video of Massa demanding an end to the wars he just funded: http://bit.ly/74D1NX
Here’s Capuano’s campaign ad from his recently failed senate run, in which Capuano says that without the right reasons, which he has made clear do not exist in this case, he “will never vote to send more of our sons and daughters to war, never” http://tr.im/Gr1G
Here is video of Waters saying she will vote against war funding: http://bit.ly/5u9FvQ
Here is video of Grijalva saying the same, and doing so as co-chair of the so-called progressive caucus: http://bit.ly/6p035s
Beside each congress member’s name at http://defundwar.org is their phone number. It might be worth taking a couple of minutes to let them know how important it is that they keep their word in the future.
There will almost certainly be a war funding vote in the spring. We need solid commitments, in writing, and on video, to vote No on this and all future funding.