Saturday, September 26, 2009

Working Towards Ending The War In Afghanistan Will Require Republicans As Well As Democrats


Last night Ron Paul (R-TX) spoke at a town hall with raving lunatic Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in Minneapolis. A friend sent me some videos of the event and I thought they would just be worth looking at for the humor-- always fun to watch Bachmann make a jackass out of herself. And maybe it will be. I haven't gotten to her clips yet. The first one I clicked on was the one above of Ron Paul, who has been making the kinds of noises about Afghanistan that I wish more Democrats were making. His analysis of Obama's war policies are devoid of the Democrats' need to couch their criticism in partisan devotion to Mr. Hope and Mr. Change.

Ron Paul may be surrounded by zombies and crackpots but he's making ultimate sense when he explains the flaws in U.S. policies towards Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the Federal Reserve. If anyone is wondering what his role will be in the next war funding debate, just watch the clip. The next debate will not be about a quasi-constitutional supplemental war funding budget, like Bush used to finance his wars without kicking in either tax increases or social program funding cuts. Presumably Obama won't break his campaign promise to abolish supplementals-- or if he tries to break it, Congress won't let him. (Dave Obey, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, announced when championing the supplemental in June that this would be the last one.)

That means Republican warmongers are going to have to break their pledge to Grover Norquist to always vote against raising taxes and that Democratic warmongers would have to break their campaign promises to strive for more social and economic justice for working families by cutting back on social programs. Here's Ron Paul saying he'd oppose cutting back on funds for health care for children-- a program he never even supported-- because a better approach would be to withdraw American troops, not just from Iraq and Afghanistan, but from Germany, Japan and Korea as well! And the crowd ate it up!

It isn't until halfway through this clip that Paul goes off the rails and makes a fool out of himself whose economic theories are more relevant to a classical 19th century society rooted in an agrarian economy than for anything to do with the 21st century. It's really a shame because by the end of the clip he's back on the right track, talking about how the Republican and Democratic parties basically stand for the same thing (corporate dominance over individuals) and then went into a kickass denunciation of the kind of authoritarianism that brought us the Patriot Act.

Currently Blue America is working on an initiative with allies in the anti-war movement to raise consciousness about U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Obama is under intense pressure to escalate the war there. There are also some members of Congress-- a small handful of Republicans like Paul plus a large and increasingly disgruntled number of Democrats-- who are applying counter pressure. Polls have consistently shown that, across all political divides, Americans do not believe in the undefined and undefinable mission in Afghanistan and want to end the unwinnable war there immediately. As Congressman Alan Grayson explained on Thursday and Congressman Eric Massa explained on Friday there are members of Congress who were elected on platforms calling for bringing our troops home-- and they are serious about sticking to that regardless if it's Bush or Obama in the White House.

Last spring 90 Democrats bragged they would vote against the war supplemental. Only 52 did. But on the final vote-- when it really counted, on June 16-- only 32 Democrats had the balls to stand up to the Obama administration and vote no. Another dozen and the war would be winding down now... instead of ramping up. Grassroots and netroots activists against the occupation of Afghanistan need to bolster the members who were willing to take the not insubstantial political hit from the Obama administration-- Emanuel threatened Donna Edwards (D-MD) with a primary and, lo and behold!, she has one, as does Diane Watson (D-CA). Take a look at our No Means No! page and see if there's anything you can do to help.

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