How the Associated Press Lies About the Occupation of Iraq

By David Swanson

This typical pre-Petraeus II article shows well the habit that the AP and most of the rest of the US corporate media have of lying about the funding of the occupation of Iraq:

“Dems Plead With Bush on Iraq

“WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic leaders told President Bush on Friday that it’s not too late to change course in Iraq and pleaded with him not to hand the war off to the next president.

“‘We believe there is still time for you to recognize that a change in strategy is necessary to repair the grave damage done to our nation’s security,’ the Democrats wrote.

“The letter was intended as advance rebuttal to next week’s testimony by Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador there. Petraeus and Crocker are expected to say the recent buildup in troops has succeeded in improving security but that more time is needed before more U.S. forces can be withdrawn in significant numbers.

“The Democrats said this approach is unacceptable and that they would pursue an alternative policy through legislation. But they face an uphill battle.

“Lacking a veto-proof majority, Democrats failed both last year and this year to force Bush to withdraw troops. The only guarantee to end the war would be for Congress to cut off money for troops while in combat — a position that not enough Democrats support and which Republicans universally oppose.”

Here’s the thing. Not a single Democrat or Republican has ever supported or ever will support “cutting off money for troops while in combat.” What in the world could that possibly mean? I picture a bunch of Marines engaged in a firefight making amo runs but running into trouble because an ATM won’t work. This is pure nonsense.

It is an absolutely indisputable fact that loading up every soldier, mercenary, and contractor, and all their gear, and shipping it all back to the United States would cost a teeny fraction of the cost of maintaining the occupation for another year.

Every sane person understands that without the funding to continue the occupation, the Pentagon would bring everyone home rather than ceasing to provide them with weapons and food.

Yes, of course, Cheney-Bush would misappropriate funds to continue the occupation, but if THAT were blocked, the Pentagon would bring people home, not deprive them of uniforms or radios.

Yes, of course, the Pentagon dumps the bulk of our money into corrupt war profiteers while shortchanging the troops, including on body armor. But the Pentagon is not going to abandon them to their deaths to save the plane fuel to bring them home.

It is another indisputable fact that the Pentagon will be unable to deny a single soldier needed body armor if they are all brought home, because they will not need body armor anymore. They will need other care, but they can’t get it until they’re brought home.

The Democrats in the House or the Senate could cut off the funding for prolonging the occupation, the funding for Halliburton, the funding for killing and dying, the funding for endangering us all with an endless bloody hated occupation. And they could fund a withdrawl if they wanted to go along with the pretense that that’s needed, that the cost isn’t pocket change to the Pentagon.

Just the Senate or the House would be sufficient, and either one is perfectly achievable. The House recently said No to telecom immunity, shocking the pundits. It can say No to Iraq funding. In fact, the leadership can simply refuse to bring a bill to a vote, just as they did with telecom immunity. It would take a discharge petition with a majority of congress members signing it to get around the leaership showing such, you know, leadership – and that would be virtually impossible. In the Senate, Harry Reid could simply announce that the funding is over, and it would be over. And 41 senators could block any attempt to pass the funding, with or without Reid.

So, the media’s assertion as fact that not enough Democrats support something that has never been tried is not playing straight with us. It is an improvement, however. For over a year, most stories have failed to even mention the possibility of blocking the funding. Mentioning it, if only to dishonestly dismiss it, is a step in the right direction.

People all over the country are refusing to buy the lie, and are organizing to ask their congress members to vote No and to lobby the leadership not to bring Iraq funding to a vote.

The AP story continues:

“The lack of options has left Democrats with mostly rhetoric, as it becomes all but certain that the next president will have to manage the war once Bush leaves office.

“‘The current Iraq strategy has no discernible end in sight and requires the United States to spend additional hundreds of billions of dollars despite urgent national needs in education, health care, and infrastructure improvement, and when high oil prices have provided the Iraqi government with billions in additional revenue that could pay for their own redevelopment and security,’ the Democrats wrote.

“‘This strategy is neither sustainable nor in our broader national security or economic interest,’ they said.

“The letter was signed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois.”

That, of course, is honest reporting on a dishonest letter. The job of the first and most powerful branch of our government is not to “plead” with the second branch for it to obey the Constitution and the demands of the public. Congress has the powers of the purse and impeachment for good reason. The power to plead is not mentioned in any of our founding documents.

The American people know this, and Congress’s unpopularity reflects that fact.

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