The House directive was part of a $96.7 billion emergency financing measure for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that the House approved by a vote of 368 to 60, with 168 Republicans joining the Democratic majority in support.
The funding vote and Iraq falls to paragraph four. The only thing that may be funnier than that is Naomi Klein on Democracy Now! this morning -- both posing as an economist (she's a reporter, she's not a trained economist) and for bringing back the 70s-look of heavy foundation on the face and a bare and paler neck. She's bringing . . . Mary Kay back.
That's the print edition. Online Herszenhorn and Peter Baker team up to report on the above here.
We noted US House Rep Dennis Kucinich's statement in yesterday's snapshot and we'll note it again here:
America went to war against Iraq based on a lie. We were told back in 2002 that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The previous administration even pursued torture to try to extract false confessions in order to justify the war. It is time to tell the truth. The truth is we should not have prosecuted a war against the Iraqi people. The truth is the Democratic Senate could have stopped the Iraq war in 202. The truth is we Democrats were given control of Congress in 2006 to end the war. The truth is this bill continues a disastrous war, which has cost the lives of thousands of soldiers. The truth is the occupation has fueld the insurgency. The truth is the Iraq war will cost the American and Iraqi people trillions of dollars and as many as a million innocent Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of this war.
Don't tell the American people that you are ending the war by continuing to fund the war. Don't tell the American people that the war will end when their plans leave 50,000 troops in Iraq. Don't tell the American people that the way out of Afghanistan is to escalate our presence.
Get out of Iraq. Get out of Afghanistan. Come home America.
For those adding up the votes, that's 428 total. Yes, there are 435 members of the House. Here are those who voted against the measure:
Perry Bacon Jr.'s "House Passes War Funds As 51 Democrats Dissent" (Washington Post) does a much better job of reporting on the measure and on the vote. US House Rep Maxine Waters states "this bill simply amplifies and extends failed policies" and US House Rep Jim McGovern states, "When George Bush was president, I was on this floor saying we need an exit strategy. The same applies with Afghanistan. I'm tired of wars with no deadlines, no exits and no ends."
Janet Hook covers the vote in "Obama's extra war funding wins House approval" (Los Angeles Times) and quotes US House Rep David Obey, who voted for the measure, stating, "This is a bill that I have very little confidence in. But we have a responsibility to give a new president who did not get us into this mess the opportunity to get us out of it." Brian Faler (Bloomberg News) covers it here.
Corey Boyles offers "U.S. House Approves War Funding Bill, Senate To Act Next Week" (Dow Jones/Wall St. Journal). David Lightman and William Douglas's "Congress battles over paying for wars, Guantanamo" (McClatchy Newspapers) notes what the vote was on from the start:
The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Thursday to spend $96.7 billion largely for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars after lawmakers sparred sharply over how to fight terrorists most effectively.
The 368-60 vote on the bill, which also includes $2 billion to help fight flu outbreaks, was the first step in an effort to get the funding to President Barack Obama's desk by the end of next week.
The measure next must be voted on by the full Senate. Meanwhile in Iraq, puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki makes another power grab. Missy Ryan, Mohammed Abbas and Dominic Evans (Reuters) report Nouri is insisting that the agreements on power sharing among Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds need to be weakened and watered down. al-Maliki appears to want simple majority rule which is rather ironic since he's only sitting on his throne due to being installed by the US military and the fact that the US military remains on the ground in Iraq.
The reporters note, "His comments were likely to fuel suspicions of Sunni Arabs, dominant under Saddam Hussein, and Kurds, who have their own semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq, that minority groups could be subject to majority Shi'ite tyranny."
In violence today, Reuters already notes 1 person shot dead in Baghdad, a Baghdad hand grenade attack which left two people injured, 1 corpse discovered in Telkeif, 1 Iraqi police officers shot dead in Mosul, a Mosul roadside bombing that **ALMOST** killed 1 female journalist, 1 Turkman shot dead in Khurmato and 2 brothers shot dead in Baquba.
Sgt John M. Russell shot five other service members in Iraq Monday. Today the Las Vegas Sun editorializes, "A tragic crime in Iraq:"
Studies indicate that as many as one in five soldiers who have served in the combat zone have anxiety, depression or other mental health issues. The military's handling of those afflictions has been terrible, marked by poor treatment of those seeking help and a high suicide rate among soldiers.
The sergeant's father, John Michael Russell, said his son was finishing his third tour in Iraq and thought his commanders were trying to drive him out of the service. He said his son feared losing his job and his military pension. The elder Russell noted the stigma attached to a soldier accused of having a mental health issue.
"I think they broke him," he said.
[. . .]
Because the Pentagon has continually failed to address the problem, Congress should step in and make sure that those who serve in combat are given the help they need.
As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Feb. 28th, the US House Armed Services Committee (discussing FY2009 Defense budget) raised this issue with US House Rep Patrick Murphy asking General George Casey if Congress needed to legislate dwell time to ensure that service members were getting the time they needed:
Murphy noted that "we're begging for about 7,000 troops for Afghanistan from our allies" and wondered if Congress needed to "mandate that if you deploy for 15 months, you're home for 15 months, if you deploy for 12 months, you're home for 12 months"? Casey wasn't keen on that idea and claimed it would interfere with the military's ability to do their job. Which makes the 'promise' Casey and Geren made earlier this week seem even more hollow (even more hollow than Casey claimed, in today's hearings, his experiences in the seventies were).
April 1, 2008, US House Rep Shelley Berkley was pointing out to Walter Reed Amry Institute of Research's Col Charles W. Hoge that he'd just stated 12 months was not enough dwell time (he hemmed and hawed but agreed he'd just said it) and she pointed out that some US service members didn't even get that. The Las Vegas Sun is correct, Congress needs to legislate on this and they need to do so immediately.
TV notes, NOW on PBS begins airing tonight on many PBS stations (check local listings):
A record 115,000 U.N. peacekeepers are now deployed in 20 countries, and their mission is more vital than ever. But critics and insiders alike are openly worried that the current peacekeeping model is overstretched -- and at risk of failure.
This week, NOW travels to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to witness today's largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation. There, 17,000 U.N. troops are tasked with protecting millions of people over a rugged and dangerous territory the size of the Eastern United States. But the effort is struggling--last November, local rebels massacred civilians less than a mile from one of the U.N. bases.
How can U.N. peacekeeping be improved so that it fulfills its promise of protection to the world?
This show is a co-production with the Bureau for International Reporting (BIR), a non-profit video news production company.
PBS is celebrating Sausage Fest. They tend to do that every week. Bill Moyers plans to have multiple guests tonight who all share one thing in common. Can you guess what? Gwen stacks her show but provides a token female on Washington Week: John Dickerson (Slate, CBS News), Michael Duffy (Time), John Harwood (CNBC, New York Times and John Dickerson's doppelganger) and -- TOKEN ALERT! TOKEN ALERT! -- Ceci Connolly (Washington Post). Gwen and Bill, proving each week that the "P" in PBS stands for "penis." Both sausage fests begin airing tonight. Be sure not to watch them with young girls unless you're prepared to explain, "Apparently the TV dinosaurs ate up all the women, honey. Gwen? Well they spit her back out." As a fix you can watch (and starts airing tonight on many PBS stations, check local listings) as Bonnie Erbe sits down with Latifa Lyles, Genevieve Wood, Melinda Henneberger and Rosemary Jenks to discuss this week's news on To The Contrary. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:
Secretary Of War
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates discusses the war in Afghanistan in a candid and wide-ranging interview with Katie Couric, who accompanied him to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. | Watch Video
Ed Liddy, the man who took over the reins of out-of-control American International Group – the failed insurance giant to which the government has made $180 billion available in aid – speaks to Steve Kroft about the gargantuan task ahead.
The sunglasses come off the high-queen of haute couture in this rare and unprecedented interview, in which the Vogue editor reveals why she always wears them and much more to Morley Safer in her first long-length interview for U.S. television. | Watch Video
60 Minutes, Sunday, May 17, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
On radio today, The Diane Rehm Show serves up Chris Cillizza (Washington Post), Jeanne Cummings (Call Me Louella!) and Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times) the first hour and today and Barbara Slavin (Washington Times), Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) and the 'delightful' Demetri Sevastoulo (Financial Times). The show begins airing at 10:00 a.m. EST today and sometimes takes calls and e-mails and sometimes has restrictions placed on who will be allowed to speak. Sunday Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox features Russell Baker to discuss his new book Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, The Powerful Forces that Put It in the White House and What Their Influence Means for America. Bonnie Faulkner (KPFA's Guns and Butter) interviewed Baker Wednesday and you can click here for the audio at Information Clearing House.
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