Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thanks to everyone who responded to my piece over at the CODEPINK website. The essay has a life of its own--it's been picked up by places like AlterNet, OpEdNews, DailyKos, After Downing Street and more. I'm grateful for the response it's receiving. I also understand the questions people have about the supplemental, and want to address them here.

Here is CODEPINK's latest alert on the matter:
Today, Monday, March 19, marks four years of war in Iraq. We hope you attended one of the hundreds of actions this weekend against the continued bloodshed. Today you have another opportunity to attend rallies, call and visit your congressperson before they vote this week on the supplemental bill that would allocate another $100 billion for war. Tell them "No More Money for War."

You also have an opportunity to pressure one of the largest on-line activist groups, MoveOn.org. MoveOn has not taken a stand against this Supplemental. It asked its members to take a vote on whether or not to support the Supplemental, but failed to explain how disastrous this inside-the-beltway compromise really is:

• It will keep the war going well into 2008;

• It omits Cong. Barbara Lee's amendment, which would have fully funded withdrawal by the end of the 2007;

• It gives the President the right to waive requirements that troops sent to Iraq must be properly trained, equipped and rested;

• The funds can be used for attacking Iran, since the final version removed language saying the president had to get authorization from Congress before attacking Iran.

• And finally, MoveOn neglects to tell its members how absurd it is to give George Bush another $100 billion for war when there is no military solution to the violence in Iraq.

The Democrat leadership says this is the "best bill" they can get passed, but admits that President Bush is likely to veto it anyway. We need to tell Congress to stop the political machinations and use its Constitutional authority to end war by cutting the funds. We need to tell MoveOn to join the rest of the peace movement with the clear, principled call to Congress: Vote No on the Supplemental. Don't Buy Bush's War.

This week, your leadership is crucial. Call your member of Congress at 800-828-0498, and inspire your friends to do the same. Attend a MoveOn candlelight vigil tonight with the real message: No Money for War.

Standing strong,

Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jodie, Liz, Medea, Nancy, Patricia, Rae, Samantha, and Sonia
United for Peace and Justice sent out a similar alert:
The House of Representatives could vote today to give President Bush another $100 billion to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Democratic Party leadership of the House is trying to portray this bill as a positive step toward ending the war, and some organizations are saying the bill challenges the Bush Administration's failed policy in Iraq, and therefore should be supported by the antiwar movement.

United for Peace and Justice strongly disagrees.

We urge you to call your representative in the House NOW and tell him or her to VOTE NO on the supplemental, to VOTE NO on the "Iraq Accountability Act."

If you are not sure who represents you in Congress, you can find out by clicking here: http://capwiz.com/fconl/directory/congdir.tt

Call the Congressional Switchboard toll-free: 888-851-1879 (ask the operator to connect you to your Representative's office).

Your message is simple:

*Bring the troops home now;
*Vote NO on the supplemental (the "Iraq Accountability Act");
*Support military funding only for the safe withdrawal of the troops (the Lee amendment).

BACKGROUND INFO

Here are some of the reasons we oppose the supplemental spending bill (also known as the "Iraq Accountability Act") the House will be voting on:

*It funds both the continued occupation of Iraq and Bush's escalation of the war.
*It allows Bush to decide when U.S. troop withdrawal should begin -- possibly not until Sept. 1, 2008 -- a full 18 months from now.
*It is silent on the question of attacking Iran. (Language requiring Congressional authorization for military action against Iran was removed from the bill.)
*It allows an unspecified number of troops (10,000? 30,000? 50,000?) to remain in Iraq indefinitely.
*It would bring spending on the Iraq war to more than $500 BILLION!

Democratic members of Congress may tell you, "this is the best we can do." No, this is not the best they can do! The voters of this country didn't elect a new Congress to give us excuses; we elected them to use their power to end this war -- to stop the flow of money for war and to set a specific, short-term timeframe for bringing the troops home.

Any funds Congress appropriates must be restricted to withdrawing the troops as soon as practicable. We are outraged that the Congressional leadership might not allow an amendment from Rep. Barbara Lee (and supported by Reps. Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey) to even come to the floor for debate. This amendment would limit the use of new funds to the safe withdrawal of all U.S. troops and military contractors from Iraq by December 31, 2007, to reconstruction in Iraq and to regional diplomacy efforts. If the Lee Amendment is allowed to come to the floor, we will call on the members of the House to vote YES on it.

The Congressional struggle is far from over. Next week the Senate will debate and vote on its version of the supplemental. The two versions passed in the House and the Senate will then go to a conference committee, where differences between them will be reconciled. In other words, there will be more opportunities to pressure Congress to begin to do the right thing. We will keep you updated on what's happening in the Senate and will let you know when calls to your Senators are needed. But right now, the most important thing is to call members of the House!

Finally, all of this Congressional activity is unfolding as the fifth year of the war in Iraq has begun. There have been more than 1,000 antiwar activities in cities and towns all across this country marking the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. We've been gathering reports on the local actions and we encourage you to take a moment to read them -- it's truly inspiring!
I hope this clarifies my position against the supplemental--please feel free to ask any further questions!

1 comment:

Donna said...

Thanks for the clarification, Gayle. Personally, I'm already sick of the Dems and they've only been in power for 3 months. I think they should stop all funding, or at least go for the gold, even though they know it will not pass or -- even if by some miracle it does -- it will get vetoed. That, at least, puts all the blame on the Repugs where it belongs. But since they're not going to do that, I still have mixed feelings about the current bill. I'm so sick of having to choose the lesser of two evils, it's hard to stay motivated.