Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Out Of Iraq Bloggers Caucus grows again

The Out Of Iraq Blogger's Caucus has grown again, with the addition of The Barefoot Bum.

I am really curious about what is really happening within the Senate now with these 100 amendments, with the discussions about invoking cloture tomorrow nad forcing a vote versus protracted debate, and the preparations for war with Iran.

The war with Iran, and also the parallel problem with Darfur and the Sudan, have been vigorously and carefully sold in way that clearly betrays the involvement of AIPAC and Christian Zionists, and looks and smells like astroturf compared to the long work that has been done in trying to prevent and now end this war in Iraq.

Right now we lack a trustworthy civilian capacity to do any kind of humanitarian intervention that doesn't involve passing of the control and responsibility for delivering on promises made by U.S. politicians and policymakers to NGO's and for profit contractors, including those, or being dominated by those with religious agendas that are often contrary to sober foreign policy goals of the United States.

Extended debate, and a larger number of citizens watching that debate, could be a very healthy thing for our democracy.

I am hoping that the Out of Iraq Blogger's Caucus will have an opportunity to "close the loop" with other activists engaged in offline activities and lobbying against any funding to extend the war, with progressives (self-labeled or otherwise) that have taken a different tack on this bit of legislation, the Senators and Representatives and their staff whose feet will obviously be held to the fire again by us, in a more determined way, when and if this bill passes, is vetoed, and has to be authored again.

The truth about what has happened and why is bound to come out, it shouldn't have to cause the implosion of either major party, but it should expose the root cause of war in our society, lobbying and greed for military expenditures. If you can find the time, watch the "Why We Fight" documentary embedded as YouTube clips in this post.

No one has really publically examined the military pork in this bill, H.R. 1591, that it seems that Murtha has built in the assumption this war will continue beyond the period his language allows for, with the large, above request appropriation for v-shape hulled vehicles, (an extra $313 milliion), etc.

I am, on the other hand, going to remain suspicious of Obey and Murtha and Sirota, until they make a similar effort to try to close the loop with us, and the prominent but unwired activists they are more likely to know from the halls of Congress, who Obey attacked for being "idiot liberals" from failing to intuit his plan...

Voting against 1591 in the House would not have been voting against funding for veteran's health (traumatic brain injury, rehabilitation, Walter Reed), but it certainly could have been a way from even more dramatically limiting the exposure of U.S. Armed Forces to the combat injuries and deaths, and in theatre accidents that cause unnecessary deaths and disabilities. It was a war of choice, and extending the duration of the war by excessively funding it and not preventing another war of choice in Iran, that was a choice too. Rep. Keith Elliison and others made the wrong choice. Let's help them do better in the next iteration. Let's try to help Murtha and Obey too, as angry as they've made us.

We can withdraw, and then rest up and train up the troops with appropriate skillsets, with the right mix of MOSes, with language skills, in case they have to go back. But let's get them out, ASAP. I would rather invest in the health, education, training and needs of the families of our troops than focus on buying hardware. I would like Murtha and Obey and Skelton and others to understand the problem with meeting enlistment targets when "stop loss" threats are obvious, when contracts for training, missions, benefits, etc are being broken regularly by the recruiters and recruiting command. I would like to hear Rep. Murtha make a speech on the House floor that acknowledges that while our new enlistees are being regularly ripped off in this fashion, that elements of the anti-war left that provide counter-recruitment training and advice are providing a valuable service to military families, or families that can avoid becoming military families by being warned that that this sort of injustice is pervasive.

If we are going to invest in the military, let's invest in the people in the military first, and get them out of harms way, and keep them out of future wars of choice if at all possible. We should stop the military-industrial complex, and other powerful interests, from walking all over the interests of the House Progressive Caucus and their constituents, to which many made promises they broke in passing H.R. 1591.

E-mail me with your thoughts or feel free to leave comments here.



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