By David Swanson
I just spoke with Keith Stern, communications director for Congressman Jim McGovern and asked him whether the report in Congress Now yesterday was true, that McGovern, who has been one of the most reliable members of Congress in opposing wars, would now be voting Yes on the war money.
Stern said: “That is absolutely untrue. We are trying to correct it. He is a No vote. We are asbsolutely livid about that. It could not be further from the truth. Frankly, the reporter just made it up. Congressman McGovern is a hard No vote and he will be voting No on the supplemental.”
This is good news. But some bad news remains. McGovern favors ending the wars in the way wars are ended, by ceasing to fund them. But he also has a bill that reads in its entirety:
“Not later than December 31, 2009, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to Congress a report outlining the United States exit strategy for United States military forces in Afghanistan participating in Operation Enduring Freedom.”
And we have already heard of at least one Congress member using cosponsorship of that bill as an excuse for voting Yes on the war supplemental.
Moveon.org and other large organizations let it be known on Monday that they planned to encourage their members on Tuesday to urge Congress members to sign onto McGovern’s bill — without saying one word about the war supplemental expected to be voted on that same day.
The exit strategy to satisfy McGovern’s well-intended bill could consist of a plan to redeploy troops to Iran in 2015. It could be anything. And MoveOn’s timing, together with other organizations in the Win Without War coalition, was telling. Because many members of these groups oppose the war and have complained about their organizations’ silence on the supplemental vote, the organizations’ leaders chose the moment of the war vote to propose something else that might at least look like a halfway step. In reality, however, it may turn out to be counterproductive — a development that would please Pelosi and Emanuel.
Thus would an exit strategy succeed in keeping wars going.
UPDATE: The coalition push for cosponsors of McGovern’s bill for an exit strategy has been put off until the supplemental fight is over, in order to avoid allowing cosponsorship of that bill to be widely used as an excuse for voting yes on the war money. This is the right move and to be applauded.