Saturday, January 13, 2007

Good News?

Liberal lawmakers seek end to Iraq war


WASHINGTON — The House's most liberal lawmakers, ignored while Republicans were in charge, are emerging to push resistance to President Bush's plan to send more U.S. troops to Iraq.
The Progressive Caucus members, who've long advocated withdrawing troops from Iraq, seized the chance to offer a gentle "I told you so" to those who are just now coming to that position.
"We were labeled dissenters," declared Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., caucus co-chair. "We have changed enough minds that ours is now the mainstream position."

More than a dozen House members and dozens of onlookers gathered Friday for the group's first forum in the new Democratic-controlled Congress. They were there to hear from George McGovern, the liberal former senator and presidential candidate, on his plan for withdrawing from Iraq in six months.

But first, they took time to delight in their new digs: the big, well-appointed Cannon Caucus Room across the street from the Capitol. It was a far cry from the out-of-the-way basement rooms allowed them when Republicans were in power.
"Look where we are today!" Woolsey said.

McGovern, a South Dakota Democrat who ran for president in 1972 on an anti-Vietnam War platform, said he thought at the time there was one silver lining to that war.
"'This Vietnam situation is so outrageous we'll never go down that road again,'" he recalled saying. "And here we are."

With Congress grappling with its response to Bush's plan to add more than 20,000 troops to the forces already in Iraq, several Progressive Caucus members made their stance clear: They want Democratic leaders to use Congress' power of the purse to block the move by refusing to fund it.
Democratic leaders in the House and Senate intend to hold votes within a few weeks on nonbinding resolutions to show their opposition to any troop buildup. Action on trying to block funding for a buildup could wait until the administration submits a supplemental war spending request later this year.

Some progressives want to attach conditions to that bill that would block the funding from going for a troop increase. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has indicated she's open to that but hasn't committed to it.

"This is all great, but the real test is going to come on the supplemental," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. "It's not clear that Democratic leaders are prepared to bring an end to the war fairly quickly."

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who chairs a key Appropriations subcommittee, said Friday he'd like to add other conditions to the war spending measure as well, such as requiring more troop training and closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"If he wants to veto the bill, he won't have any money" for the war, Murtha said.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., won McGovern's approval for a suggestion that Congress amend the war spending request to specify it only could be used for force protection, withdrawal and diplomacy.

"I'd endorse that all the way," McGovern said.

1 comment:

RoseCovered Glasses said...

There are good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armaments”

The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment, budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the new Sec. Def.Mr. Gates, understand such complexity, particularly if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can’t. Therefore he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

This situation is unfortunate but it is absolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen until it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagen instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.