Tuesday, May 01, 2007



When I interviewed Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter on March 24, I asked her if the notoriously right-wing media local in New Hampshire has been giving her a fair shake. She said they were, although the more-than-nortoriously right-wing Union Leader less so than anyone else. This past weekend all the major newspapers in the district published an OpEd by the Congresswoman explaining Congress' stand on the Iraq war. That is, all the major newspapers but one, the Union Leader. With their long-time role as a propaganda outlet for the GOP in mind, they ran their own insane right-wing rant instead.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter gave a serious analysis of the congressional legislation, which she voted for and which the vast majority of Americans wanted Bush to sign.
From the beginning, the president has hidden the true cost of the war by failing to include it in his budget. Every year, he has come to Congress asking for "emergency" supplemental spending. Every year, Congress has provided the money with no strings attached-- even as the situation in Iraq has spiraled out of control.

We have now borrowed and spent hundreds of billions to pay for the president's war. Our children and grandchildren will have to repay this debt to foreign lenders like Communist China. There is no end in sight-- and no accountability.

Now there is a chance for all that to change.

This past week, the House and Senate passed the final version of a supplemental spending bill that would effectively begin the end of the president's war in Iraq. It fully provides for the needs of our soldiers while they are on the ground and creates a responsible plan for bringing them home.

The legislation will force the president to prove that his escalation has been effective. If he cannot show that Iraq is making meaningful progress toward achieving military and political goals, he must begin redeploying troops by July 1. At the latest, redeployment must begin by Oct. 1, with a goal of completion within six months.

The president may say that a timetable is unnecessary, but after four long years, I don't think the American people would agree.

The bill provides substantial increases in funding to protect and care for our soldiers. It includes money for the purchase of mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, which, had they been available earlier, might have saved the lives and limbs of many of our soldiers. It also provides special funding for soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and from brain injuries.

The president can call this "pork," but I don't think our soldiers would agree.

In addition, the legislation requires the president to honor the terms of our soldiers' enlistments. It forces him to guarantee that they are healthy and adequately trained before they are sent into the field. It requires that the Department of Defense follow its own guidelines regarding the length of rotations and the rest period before redeployment.

The president may say that this ties his hands, but I don't think our military families would agree.
The legislation adds $1.8 billion for veterans' health care. It allocates $20 million to address the problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It provides additional money for treatment of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The president may say that this funding is unnecessary, but I don't think most veterans would agree.
Mr. Bush says to "stay the course." Yet Gen. Anthony Zinni, former commander of U.S. troops in the Middle East, says "the course has been a total failure," and that it "is headed over Niagara Falls." Gen. Wesley Clark, former supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe, says the war has been a "hopeless spiraling failure."

Our soldiers have served bravely and honorably in Iraq. They were given a mission and they achieved it-- over four years ago. Now they are trapped in the middle of a religious and civil war. It will be many years before America truly realizes the magnitude of their sacrifice. Their families know already.

While they serve, our soldiers cannot speak for themselves. But we can speak up for them. That is our duty.

Congress has taken a bold step to protect our soldiers and our country. This legislation reflects the will of the American people-- to begin the end of the tragic war in Iraq. With his signature, the president can help move us in a new direction.

It is now up to him to do what is right.

And today, pedictably, he did what was wrong. And just as predictably, the far right, represented by vested interests like the Union Leader encouraged him. I'm not prone to republishing right-wing propaganda, especially screeds like this one, laced with outlandish lies, but I've decided to make an exception so DWT readers can see what members of Congress are up against when their district's press is controlled by hardcore extremists the way this paper is.
They might as well send engraved invitations:

"Dear terrorist,

"You are cordially invited to Baghdad on March 1, 2008, for a farewell party for U.S. armed forces. By that date the last U.S. service member will be withdrawn from Iraq, and you are invited to celebrate as you see fit. There will be plenty of unsecured weapons to hoard, unguarded borders to cross and defenseless infidels to slaughter."



"The Democratic Congress"

"* Bring Your Own Bomb"

That would be the effect of the Iraq supplemental spending bill Congress approved last week. The bill would require the retreat of all U.S. forces from Iraq by next March at the latest. Thank goodness President Bush has pledged to veto it and Congress hasn't enough votes to override the veto.

The bill would not have passed had House leaders not larded it up with about $21 billion worth in pork spending. We seem to recall 2nd District Rep. Paul Hodes campaigning against pork-barrel spending. But the pork in this bill sure did not bother him. He and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter both voted to turn Iraq over to the enemy. Sens. Judd Gregg and John Sununu voted against telling the terrorists exactly when we'd be leaving.

Everyone knows that the war in Iraq is not going very well. Gen. David Petraeus said last week that the overall level of violence in Baghdad has remained about the same despite the added U.S. troops. But Petraeus, unanimously confirmed by the Senate, believes he can turn this war around, given time and resources. The Democrats, incredibly, are determined to deny him both.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the war "lost" and other Democratic leaders tried to distance themselves from his comment. Yet they nonetheless voted for a bill to end the war prior to victory. In other words, to give up and go home. Obviously, most Democrats in Congress believe the war is lost and are unwilling to continue fighting it. Which is exactly the result the terrorists have worked so hard to achieve.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter has been targeted by Rove and by the criminal organization known as the Republican Party of New Hampshire, many of whose leaders are in prison for election fraud. Those not in prison have organized a vicious letters-to-the-editor campaign against her, letters the papers are all too eager to publish. Fortunately she has been a force in Congress for positive change, in fact, for exactly the kind of change New Hampshire voters wanted when they tossed out their Republican rubber stamp representatives and elected grassroots progressive Democrats. If you'd like to help out, Blue America is asking for $5 and $10 donations for Carol to keep NH-01 blue.

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At 10:33 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Sounds like the Union-Leader is making the sucking sounds of a ship going under.


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