The impending vote on this monstrous bill is giving Senate Democrats the opportunity to do photo-ops, get sound-bytes on the air, and have a slumber party over an amendment that will inevitably be voted down or blocked by intransigent Republicans. The irony is that the amendment would not end the war, close the permanent bases the Pentagon is building in Iraq, or get any troops out of harm's way.
I've read the text of the doomed amendment. It would require some unstated number of troops to be withdrawn, starting within four months of the bill’s passage and ending by April 30, 2008. So Bush could withdraw a division of tens of thousands of troops or a single squad of ten soldiers on April 29, 2008 and satisfy the amendment's requirements. After the deadline, U.S. forces in Iraq could only be used for the following purposes: protecting U.S. bases and personnel, training, equipping, and providing logistical support for the Iraqi military/police, and fighting Al-Qaeda and other freedom-hating terrorists.
Sound familiar? It should. These limits are identical to the pre-surge Rumsfeld-Casey strategy of "as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down," which was a smashing success. These limits are also identitical to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, the grumpy old white men and foreign policy nerds who offered Dubya some political cover to change his war policy after the GOP thumpin' at the polls last November.
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That anger has fueled the explosive growth of Iraq Veterans Against the War from a handful of members in 2004 to over 500 today. IVAW's growth is a hopeful sign admist the divided, partially co-opted, and largely dormant American anti-war movement. A strong anti-war movement can do what Senate slumber parties, meaningless nonbinding resolutions, and Democratic Party politicians won't: end the war by forcing the U.S. to close those permanent bases and bring all the troops home now.
The above is from Pham Binh's "Will the Democrats Please Shut Up?" (Dissident Voices) noted by Erika. We'll stay on Iraq Veterans Against the War because two other members are highlighting pieces on the group. Brent notes Kevin Zeese's "Vets Let Americans Know the Brutal Reality of U.S. Occupation While Bush Gray-Washes 'Progress' in Iraq" (The People's Voice):
While the Bush administration is trying to paint an improving picture in Iraq, veterans of the Iraq occupation are finding their voice. And, they are painting a picture of the U.S. role in Iraq that demonstrates why it is urgent for the United States to withdraw.
The voices of Iraq Vets have been so effective that the military has tried to silence their leaders with disciplinary efforts, but this has only given them more attention in the media. And, it has enraged vets that when they come home from risking their lives for a war started on false pretenses that the military is trying to muzzle them -- prevent them from exercising their First Amendment rights on the most important political issue of the day.
Next week Iraq Veterans Against the War will be announcing a new campaign, the Tri-Folded Flag Campaign, that will make the point that "Funding the War is Killing the Troops." This campaign is designed to hold the Congress responsible for their role in continuing the war. In particular, they will focus on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Democratic Whip James Clyburn. More than 1,800 tri-folded flags will be delivered to their offices representing the
U.S. soldiers killed since the Democrats took control of the Congress. The announcement event will be on Tuesday, July 17 in Washington, DC and the campaign will continue through September.
Kevin Zeese is a smart person. If you read the article and see him go on to sing the praises of that piece of crap article in The Nation and are offended, take it up with him. We haven't praised that nonsense here. If you're late to the party, you can read "The Other Censorship (done by The Nation)" (The Third Estate Sunday Review) where you'll find out that not only do they censor out war resistance (The Nation seems to have an allergic reation to war resisters), the overly praised article is built on censorship -- "dozens" of photographs of abuse were made available to the magazine and they run . . . zero. That's the sort of 'tidying' up of an illegal war that we rightly call out the mainstream outlets for. In addition, look at who they turned to in some sort of effort to 'balance out' IVAW. In fact, Maria's highlight focuses on one on the groups that the supposedly independent, supposedly journalistic Nation magazine turned to for the article: Vets for Freedom. From John Stauber's "Bush's Pro-War Front Group, 'Vets for Freedom', Rallies with Republican Senators" (PR Watch via MediaChannel.org):
Republican funders and PR experts have created and bankrolled astroturf pro-war groups including Vets for Freedom and Move America Forward. However, there is a genuine grassroots movement of Iraq war veterans, but it doesn’t have the budget or political backing of pro-war lobby groups like VFF, and it is truly non-partisan, criticizing both Republicans and Democrats for failing to end the US occupation of Iraq.
The group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) was begun by current and former soldiers putting themselves on the line, speaking out, blogging, demonstrating (often in uniform), and rallying to stop the war.
On Sunday, July 15 the New York Times reported on page one regarding the growing opposition of soldiers and their families to the war, noting that:
Iraq Veterans Against the War, started in July 2004, has grown to 500 members, with 100 joining in the past two months. The Appeal for Redress Project, which since last September has been advising active duty military members and reservists on how to write to their representatives in Congress expressing their opposition to the war, has about 2,000 members, almost half of whom have joined in the past six months.
No wonder the pro-war Republicans are cranking-up their PR machine and holding news conferences with Vets for Freedom. The real story is that, as in Vietnam, the troops themselves are taking charge and moving out, leading the ever growing, majority opposition to the war in Iraq.
A front group getting on CNN would have the left net in a tizzy. That The Nation uses them as a reliable source for their piece of crap article doesn't even raise an eyebrow. And you wonder why an illegal war drags on? There is your answer. The Nation props up the front group for the right and no one bothers to call them out on that nonsesne. We're supposed to cheer a really bad piece of journalism -- from the left! -- that is so pathetic it doesn't even cut it as bad MSM 'reporting.'
Shailagh Murray and Paul Kane's "Democrats Won't Force War Vote" (Washington Post, noted by Lloyd) goes over the lows and further lows of the Senate photo-op that did nothing.
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