The War Money Can Be Stopped

By David Swanson

If the Republicans in the House vote against the Supplemental spending bill to throw another roughly $100 billion at this war because the bill requires that troops be trained and rested, provides for veterans health care, gives money to Katrina relief and avocado growers, and threatens to move the war to Afghanistan if Bush doesn’t make various claims about “progress” in Iraq in the coming months…

And if the Progressive Democrats vote against it because it funds an illegal and aggressive war…

The bill could be defeated. Then the Democratic leadership would have to choose between the Republicans on the one hand and the Progressive Democrats and the American public on the other.

The Democrats held two press conferences Thursday morning. The first was held by the Progressive Caucus, announcing their plan to amend the Supplemental to require that every dollar go to funding a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Here’s the announcement they sent out.

And a letter they sent around to their colleagues. Here’s Barbara Lee’s amendment.

I caught a bit of the press conference on CNN’s website, and the pressure that the Washington Post claimed was being put on Rep. Maxine Waters to go along with the Supplemental was clearly not working. Waters criticized the Democratic leadership’s bill and stood strong for ending the war.

Here’s the Washington Post article.

The Washington Post considers votes in Congress more important than wars outside it and claims Pelosi would be embarrassed if her lame-ass sell-out oil-stealing micro-managing genocide-funding debt-increasing [my characterizations, not the Post’s] measure fails in a vote. Pelosi should be embarrassed now – there’s no need to wait.

The second press conference was quite disturbing. Here’s the announcement.

Here are the notes I took:

10:24 Speaker Nancy Pelosi and gang are doing their show, with Veterans benefits thrown in (good) but readiness nonsense, benchmark oil-theft criminal nonsense, and a goal of hoping to end the war sometime in 2008.

10:25 Now Obey is talking about shifting the war from Iraq to Afghanistan where we can attack “the people who attacked us.” (The people of Afghanistan? Want to blow up some more houses?) Obey’s throwing in Katrina and everything else. No mention of avocado growers yet.

10:29 Now Skelton is talking about military readiness and Afghanistan. “What the Speaker said is absolutely right. Afghanistan is the correct war.” (Are these people speaking to weapons makers or to the American public?)

10:32 Now Murtha is talking about “redeployment” and “readiness.” You can barely hear him through the cameras clicking. He’s listing all the weapons and other equipment they’re funding. He’s also talking about veterans’ health care and how much money is included for various types of injuries (this needs to be done separately from funding the creation of more injuries!) Murtha says: “We put no torture in the bill.” (Does Murtha KNOW that torture was already illegal, that Congress banned it again and Bush threw that bill out with a signing statement? How many times will Congress try to get credit for banning torture while ignoring the ongoing torture?)

10:39 Pelosi is blathering about supporting the troops (by sending them to die for lies and oil). She wants to move the “war on terror” to Afghanistan.

10:40 Q and A has begun with a question about requirements that the President “certify” that “benchmarks” are met.

Now they’re asking about a Presidential waiver. It’s in there. Pelosi is reassuring the media that Bush can use a waiver and send troops who are not rested, trained, and equipped if he wants to. But she says that by July 1 2007, if progress is not made, troops will begin redeploying, and again by October 1 2007 if “progress is not complete” we begin redeployment.

The media is making Pelosi repeat this nonsense three times to get all the dates and schedules clear.

10:47 A reporter just said the Out of Iraq Caucus wants the war over by the end of 2007 and asked: does Pelosi have the votes? Pelosi replied that many members of OOIC are on board with her. (How many, and shouldn’t they then join the Stay In Iraq Caucus?)

10:48 A reporter asked whether it was true as the Progressive Caucus said this morning that Pelosi was adding something else to meet their concerns. She said no. She claimed that if Bush does not make “progress” on “benchmarks” by July, troops will “redeploy” by the end of ’07. (The redeployment is over a period of 180 days from whenever it starts.)

10:52 A reporter just asked if there was any mechanism for determining whether Bush’s claims on benchmarks were actually true. (An amazingly astute question; will this guy keep his job?) Pelosi replied that she was sure Bush would be honest, that it was a “subjective call” but that the American public would know if he was telling the truth. (But we can tell you that now, Nancy!)

10:55 A reporter asked whether Pelosi would rewrite the bill to better “support the troops” if Bush vetoed it. She replied that she was sure he would not veto something requiring that the troops be ready. Of course, in that past that’s been true. He hasn’t vetoed those restrictions; he’s signing statemented them.