Monday, March 13, 2017

You Have A Congressmember-- Have you Asked Him Or Her To Keep Us Out Of The Syrian Civil War?


Last week, Barbara Lee introduced a new bill, H.R. 1473, "to prohibit the deployment of members of the Armed Forces to Syria for purposes of engaging in ground combat operations." Her first co-sponsor was North Carolina Republican Walter Jones. Here's the full list of co-sponsors:
Walter Jones (R-NC)
Mike Capuano (D-MA)
Jared Huffman (D-CA)
Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Jim McGovern (D-MA)
John Lewis (D-GA)
Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
G.K. Butterfield (D-NC)
Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)
Karen Bass (D-CA)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)
Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rick Nolan (D-MN)
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
These are people who don't want to see Trump drag the country into a deadly ground war in Syria. None of them have polled the question or hired focus groups to test it. They are excercising leadership qualities, which is what we elect them to do. Is your congresscritter on the list? If not, I'd suggest phoning or e-mailing him or her and asking he to co-sponsor the bill today. Right now the bill is sitting in the House Armed Services Committee, where Texas Republican Mac Thornberry is sitting on it and very unlikely to allow it to get to the House floor for an up or down vote. The only member of the committee who has signed on so far is the Republican-- Walter Jones. Conservative Democrats on the committee-- like Blue Dogs Jim Cooper (TN), Stephanie Miller (FL) and Tom O'Halleran (AZ) and New Dems Scott Peters (CA), Pete Aguilar (CA) and Joaquín Castro (TX)-- are sitting on their hands. Where are vets like Seth Moulton (MA), Tulsi Gabbard (HI), Ruben Gallego (AZ) on this?

Ro Khanna, the progressive freshman from the Silicon Valley whose district is just south of Barbara Lee's and who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, is still studying the bill but he told me yesterday that he is "opposed to the deployment of any additional ground troops to Syria. At the very least, the President must get authorization from Congress before doing so. We have been in perpetual war for nearly 15 years, which has taken an enormous human toll and financial toll. Most Americans are weary of more war without a clear strategy or end game. They want us to focus on building infrastructure here at home and making the investments in education that will make us competitive and safe in the 21st century." This was Barbara Lee's statement to the press when she introduced her legislation last week:
For more than fifteen years, the U.S. has been engaged in an ever-expanding war in the Middle East. President Trump’s deployment of combat troops in Syria is the latest front in this endless war. In 2001, I was the lone member of Congress to vote against handing President Bush a blank check for war. Fifteen years later, this Authorization for the Use of Military Force is still being used to justify military actions around the globe, including this new deployment into Syria.

I strongly object to the White House’s decision to unilaterally place U.S. boots on the ground in Syria. President Trump’s action today shows the consequences of allowing military escalation to persist without Congressional oversight. We simply cannot allow this blank check to remain on the books. The Constitution is clear: Congress must debate, vote and authorize the use of military force in matters of war and peace.

The bill I am introducing today prohibits the Department of Defense from funding any attempt by the Administration to expand our presence in Syria by putting U.S. combat boots on the ground. It is our constitutional duty as Members of Congress to place a check on the Executive Branch in matters of war and peace. We owe it to our brave service members to live up to our constitutional duty. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in preventing this president from sending our troops into yet another unchecked, ill-advised war without a full and robust debate from Congress.
Ted Lieu, the congressman from the west side of Los Angeles is a full colonel in the Air Force National Guard. He isn't on the House Armed Services Committee but he put out this statement after Trump announced he's sending more troops-- willy-nilly-- into the Syrian civil war:
The deployment of conventional U.S. ground troops to fight in Syria is a highly disturbing escalation of our military entanglement in a faraway country. While President Trump says stuff that makes you think he may be isolationist, his actions in Syria resemble those of a war monger.

Putting our nation’s men and women in harm’s way to help assault a city in a faraway place is mission creep.  It also violates the current Authorization for Use of Military Force.  When Congress passed the post-9/11 AUMF to fight Al Qaeda terrorists, it never had the intention of authorizing ground forces to help take over a city in the middle of Syria's civil war in 2017.

Today’s news also underscores the troubling fact that the President has yet to articulate a strategy or endgame for Syria.  Americans are left wondering how long our service members will be deployed in a conflict zone, what will happen if they come into conflict with Russian forces operating in the region, what our Administration plans to do with Raqqa after retaking the city, and how this all fits in with our national interests.  The President owes it to the American people to speak to these questions. As a veteran and a Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I will continue to demand answers.

Labels: , , ,


At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Trump and his crew have no strategy, or at least one that is based on knowledge and thoughtfulness and would make sense. Why would this surprise anyone after all we have seen since January 20? They are all bluster and bullshit as well as ignorant and completely lacking in experience. Trump is vindictive and his bullying instincts will surely come into play globally. Bannon will be gleeful, Armageddon here we come.

Of course, George Bush was the same and got away with his awful Iraq war, based on lies and deceit and involving massive corruption. Let's not forget that Congress supported him, most Dems included, especially Hillary, who should have known better. When he took office, Obama never held Bush or his administration accountable, a big mistake and part of the myriad reasons we are where we are now. Obama reinforced the notion that Presidents can do whatever they want with impunity and lack of accountability and the next one in the Oval Office will do nothing. Democracy at its poorest. Rome before the fall.

Progressive voices will likely get nowhere, as per usual. They could not even pass something about checks and balances on dropping nukes - far more catastrophic for us, the world and the planet than intervention in Syria (with no intention to minimize the latter).

Why should it be any different this time?

At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bill won't pass because the CMIC pays a plurality of members a lot of coin to not pass such things.
The bill won't pass the senate where war is considered godly... who would jesus kill, after all (answer: all nonchristians everywhere starting with those that live atop oil).

And even if it passed, der fuhrer would order troops wherever he wanted anyway. He's not bound by laws and the constitution nor by the will of the people. He's above all that.

At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If congresswhores listened to voters, there would be no drumpfdeath bill in the house and and independent prosecutor would be looking at drumpf-russia. NONE of drumpf's nominees would have been confirmed and there would be articles of impeachment now working their way through the house.

congresswhores listen to money. Only money. Don't waste your fucking time.


Post a Comment

<< Home