Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Oppsoing the Iraq Supplemental & Iran Threats" (Phyllis Bennis)

The Congressional resolution passed last week gives Bush another $100 billion to continue the U.S. occupation of Iraq. That much is now guaranteed. The timelines and restrictions included in the bill -- clearly responding to the strong public support for ending the war-- were weakened almost to the disappearing point to allow the razor-thin vote. Very few of those toothless restrictions will likely make it into the final bill that must survive a super-majority in the Senate, a House-Senate conference committee, and a likely Bush veto.
But the effort to hold Congress members to their electoral mandate must be continued and ratcheted up, not abandoned, even as we look towards pressing alternative centers of power (city councils, state legislatures, mayors and governors, newspaper editorial boards, influential clergy, etc.) as instruments to pressure Congress from new directions.
Congress is not the peace movement. So the peace movement must stay unified on our principles and our demands, in the face of congressional waffling and "realistic" pragmatism, unfortunately promoted by one influential part of our movement. Whatever they do, we must stay consistent on demanding an end to the U.S. occupation: de-funding (not re-funding) the war, and bringing home (not redeploying) all (not just some) of the troops (including the mercenaries). The longstanding AFSC slogan has it right: "Not one more death, not one more dollar." That means STOP funding the war. STOP allowing Bush to send more U.S. troops to kill more Iraqis and be killed in the process. Just stop.
These talking points are in two parts: first, an assessment of why the real peace movement must continue to stand on principle and oppose the supplemental gift of $100 billion to Bush to continue the occupations. Second an assessment of some of the rising dangers of a U.S. attack on Iran, and its potential consequences.
The Democratic leadership in the House claims the $125 billion supplemental is the way to end the war. Something passed in the Senate may include some of the same claims. Aside from setting a date for bringing home troops, the House version included a number of items many in the peace movement would ordinarily support - veterans' health benefits, Katrina survivors' assistance, children's health insurance....
So if there's a timeline, what's the problem with the supplemental? Why shouldn't peace activists support it?
Because it gives President Bush another $100 billion to continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And it doesn't end the occupation or prevent expansion of the war to Iran.

The above is from Phyllis Bennis' "Opposing the Iraq Supplemental & Iran Threats" (Democracy Rising). Liang noted it and Bennis goes on through the bill (what's in it, what's not) after the above excerpt ends.

In the New York Times today, Alissa J. Rubin's "70 Killed in Wave of Revenge in Northern Iraq" tells you:

One of the bloodiest chapters in Iraq's sectarian strife unfolded over the past two days in the northern city of Tal Afar where gunmen, some of them apparently police officers, participated in the revenge killings of scores of Sunnis in the aftermath of a huge double suicide bombing in a Shiite area.

What! That can't be! The John McCain Showboat Express pulled into DC on Tuesday proclaiming that "we are starting to turn things around" so how can that be? You mean Show Boating John McCain can be wrong?

Back to the article:

Two hours after the explosion of truck bombs, which killed 83 people and wounded more than 185, the gunmen -- some of whom witnesses recognized as police officers -- went house to house in a Sunni neighborhood, dragged people into the street and shot them in the head, witnesses and local leaders said. The killing went on for several hours before the Iraqi Army intervened. The police are mostly Shiites, although the city is mixed.

Martha notes this from Joshua Partlow's "Gunmen Go On Rampage In Iraqi City" (Washington Post):

But parts of the city reverted to chaos and carnage Wednesday as gunmen went door to door assassinating as many as 60 people in revenge for the previous day's truck bombings, Iraqi military and government officials said. The attack was startling for several reasons, including the alleged participation of police officers in the killings and the implication that the six-week-old Baghdad security plan might be allowing violence to metastasize outside the capital.
But perhaps most ominous was the resurgence of reprisal killing at a time when U.S. and Iraqi officials have noted optimistically that Shiites have responded with restraint to recent insurgent bombings. The violence in Tall Afar follows Shiite reprisal attacks on three Sunni mosques south of Baghdad on Sunday, and it suggested to some Iraqi officials that Shiites are losing patience with government security forces.

Again, John McCain was wrong? That's so shocking. Next people are going to start saying Show Boat really isn't about the straight talk.

In other news, in the face of NOW PAC's endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the following NOW members:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
former NOW member Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Gina of the gina & krista round-robin,
Krista of the gina & krista round-robin,
Martha, community member
Shirley, community member
Kayla, community member
Keesha, community member
and Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)

have issued their own endorsement -- of Dennis Kucinich. You can read about it in "NOW members endorse Dennis Kucinich" (Kat's Korner). Elaine's "I endorse Dennis Kucinich for the 2008 primary" and Rebecca's "this now member is endorsing kucinich" also address the issue.

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