Saturday, November 07, 2009

Senate Prepares To Back Another Obama War Supplemental For Afghanistan Escalation


The faces are all that's Changed... and Hope? Forget that

"For too long, our budget process in Washington has been an exercise in deception; a series of accounting tricks to hide the expense of our spending and the shortfalls in our revenue and hope that the American people won't notice. Budgeting certain expenditures for just one year, when we know we'll incur them every year for five or 10; budgeting $0 for the Iraq war-- $0-- for future years, even when we knew the war would continue..."

That was pretty much Obama's line on supplemental budgets all through the campaign. The quote above, though, was made just after he was inaugurated at a meeting about fiscal responsibility. Four months later he had Emanuel wheeling and dealing and knocking heads together in Congress to pass a supplemental war budget to fund-- "an exercise in deception; a series of accounting tricks to hide the expense of our spending and the shortfalls in our revenue and hope that the American people won't notice"-- the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Only 32 courageous Democrats stood up to him and voted no. Many of the rest said something to the effect of... "Well, he inherited this terrible mess from Bush; we'll give him some time to clean it up but this is the last time."

Last time? I don't think so. Yesterday the NY Times let it slip that the Senate is ready to approve still another supplemental budget to expand the occupation of Afghanistan. That's right-- even as the L.A. Times was reporting that Obama is going to lose his base of support over his tragic blunders in Afghanistan, the Senate is too chicken-shit to save him (and us) from himself. Senate Democrats may be wary but very few of them have what it takes to stand up to even a weak president like Obama when it comes to war, even if they recognize that he's leading them into electoral ruin.

Few doubt that, despite all the drama and dithering, Obama is about to increase the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan from around 68,000 to over 100,000. Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as well as John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are both predicting that he'll get whatever he asks for-- and by a wide margin.

Yesterday Congressional Quarterly reported that last month John Murtha, Chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee said that "beefing up forces in Afghanistan would cost up to $1 billion per 1,000 additional troops per year. If the president accepts the high-end proposal for a troop increase, that could require another $40 billion." Obama, like Bush before him, will call the request, deceitfully, "an emergency." And although most of the Senate will march right along, there are a few who will refuse to close their eyes to the madness, folly and 3-dimensional political chess.
[Jay] Rockefeller said he doesn’t believe Afghanistan will “ever be a country” and that “my Afghanistan policy may be a little more circumspect” than the president’s. He said he is not alone in the Senate in his doubts about increasing the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.

Indeed, Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said he views a surge in Afghanistan as “not wise.” He said that given recent economic challenges faced by the United States, boosting U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan “is a lose-lose proposition.”

This is a good time to take a look at the clip of Eric Massa's short speech on the House floor this week:

Rockefeller is correct about Afghanistan not being a real country but if there is one thing that unites the disparate people who live in what is called Afghanistan it's the fact that they don't like being occupied by illegal aliens (i.e., us)-- heavy armed, trigger-crazy ones no less. I spent a lot of time there in the late '60s and early '70s, and most of it not in Kabul, a relatively westernized place with little in common with the rest of the country. For all the talk about "training the Afghans to fight," there is little I've heard as foolish and counterproductive. If there's one thing Afghan men know how to do, it's fight. It's pretty much the only thing they know how to do, in fact. An Af would no sooner leave his home without his gun-- and not a handgun-- than you would leave yours without your clothes. We could try to train Afghan men to work-- though it would be in vain, working being for women, boys and slaves-- but fight? They know how to fight... and very well, thank you. When they talk about "training," they mean "Give us expensive deadly weapons so we can kill our enemies."
In bazaars and university corridors across the country, eight years of war have left people exhausted and impatient. They are increasingly skeptical that the Taliban can be defeated. Nearly everyone agrees that the Afghan government must negotiate with the insurgents. If more American forces do arrive, many here say, they should come to train Afghans to take over the fight, so the foreigners can leave.

“What have the Americans done in eight years?” asked Abdullah Wasay, 60, a pharmacist in Charikar, a market town about 25 miles north of Kabul, expressing a view typical of many here. “Americans are saying that with their planes they can see an egg 18 kilometers away, so why can’t they see the Taliban?”

Such sentiments were repeated in conversation after conversation with more than 30 Afghans in Kabul and nearby rural areas and with local officials in outlying provinces. The comments point to the difficulties that American and Afghan officials face if they choose to add more foreign troops.

If the foreign forces are not seen so by Afghans already, they are on the cusp of being regarded as occupiers, with little to show people for their extended presence, fueling wild conspiracies about why they remain here.

The feeling is particularly acute in the Pashtun south, but it is spreading to other parts of the country. More American troops could tip the balance of opinion, particularly if they increase civilian casualties and prompt even more Taliban attacks.

The grass-roots view among Afghans is at odds with those of top Afghan officials, as well as many American military commanders, who strongly endorse a full-blown counterinsurgency strategy, including a large troop increase.

There's only one way this travesty is going to end: we have to end it. We have to say "no" to Obama, the same way we were saying "no" to Bush. Sure Obama isn't a vampire like Bush but what difference does that make to occupied Afs losing their families to "friendly fire" and accidents? What difference does it make to American families losing their sons and daughters for no purpose that either Bush or Obama has been able to successfully articulate? We need to say "no" and we need to mean it. We need to back up the few political leaders brave enough to say "no" as well, men and women like Eric Massa, Barbara Lee, Alan Grayson, Raul Grijalva, Carol Shea-Porter, Keith Ellison... Are you ready to get serious about it? The Pentagon is and Obama, apparently, does not have what it takes to stand up to them. Only the American people can do it. And if anyone is going to start it, it's us. You ready? Think about chipping in... now.

UPDATE: 100 Co-sponsors Demanding Exit Strategy For Afghanistan

James McGovern (D-MA) introduced H.R. 2404 on May 14. If passed it would require the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress outlining the U.S. exit strategy for our military forces in Afghanistan. These are McGovern's co-sponsors:

Neil Abercrombie [D-HI]
Tammy Baldwin [D-WI]
Roscoe Bartlett [R-MD]
Shelley Berkley [D-NV]
Robert Berry [D-AR]
Timothy Bishop [D-NY]
Bruce Braley [D-IA]
Corrine Brown [D-FL]
Lois Capps [D-CA]
Michael Capuano [D-MA]
André Carson [D-IN]
Yvette Clarke [D-NY]
William Clay [D-MO]
Steve Cohen [D-TN]
John Conyers [D-MI]
Jerry Costello [D-IL]
Danny Davis [D-IL]
Peter DeFazio [D-OR]
William Delahunt [D-MA]
Lloyd Doggett [D-TX]
John Duncan [R-TN]
Donna Edwards [D-MD]
Keith Ellison [D-MN]
Sam Farr [D-CA]
Chaka Fattah [D-PA]
Bob Filner [D-CA]
Barney Frank [D-MA]
Marcia Fudge [D-OH]
Alan Grayson [D-FL]
Raul Grijalva [D-AZ]
Luis Gutiérrez [D-IL]
Phil Hare [D-IL]
Jane Harman [D-CA]
Alcee Hastings [D-FL]
James Himes [D-CT]
Maurice Hinchey [D-NY]
Mazie Hirono [D-HI]
Paul Hodes [D-NH]
Rush Holt [D-NJ]
Jesse Jackson [D-IL]
Sheila Jackson-Lee [D-TX]
Timothy Johnson [R-IL]
Walter Jones [R-NC]
Steve Kagen [D-W]
Marcy Kaptur [D-OH]
Carolyn Kilpatrick [D-MI]
Mary Jo Kilroy [D-OH]
Dennis Kucinich [D-OH]
Barbara Lee [D-CA]
John Lewis [D-GA]
David Loebsack [D-IA]
Ben Luján [D-NM]
Eric Massa [D-NY]
Doris Matsui [D-CA]
James McDermott [D-WA]
Michael Michaud [D-ME]
Gwen Moore [D-WI]
Jerrold Nadler [D-NY]
Grace Napolitano [D-CA]
James Oberstar [D-MN]
John Olver [D-MA]
Edward Pastor [D-AZ]
Ronald Paul [R-TX]
Donald Payne [D-NJ]
Thomas Perriello [D-VA]
Gary Peters [D-MI]
Chellie Pingree [D-ME]
Jared Polis [D-CO]
David Price [D-NC]
Mike Quigley [D-IL]
Laura Richardson [D-CA]
Dana Rohrabacher [R-CA]
Steven Rothman [D-NJ]
Bobby Rush [D-IL]
Timothy Ryan [D-OH]
Janice Schakowsky [D-IL]
Kurt Schrader [D-OR]
José Serrano [D-NY]
Joe Sestak [D-PA]
Carol Shea-Porter [D-NH]
Louise Slaughter [D-NY]
Jackie Speier [D-CA]
Fortney Stark [D-CA]
Betty Sutton [D-OH]
Bennie Thompson [D-MS]
Michael Thompson [D-CA]
John Tierney [D-MA]
Edolphus Towns [D-NY]
Niki Tsongas [D-MA]
Nydia Velázquez [D-NY]
Timothy Walz [D-MN]
Maxine Waters [D-CA]
Diane Watson [D-CA]
Henry Waxman [D-CA]
Peter Welch [D-VT]
Edward Whitfield [R-KY]
Lynn Woolsey [D-CA]
John Yarmuth [D-KY]

This is the easy bill to support. It isn't calling for an immediate pull out of U.S. troops or cutting off funding for escalation. It's a first step though and there's no reason for not signing on to it... other than being a warmonger.

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At 10:45 AM, Blogger davidswanson said...

Here's the whip list. Have at it:

At 5:27 PM, Anonymous nader paul kucinich gravel said...

Secret overnight BUSH Family visit to Fort Hood ~
Concern MIL will turn on AIPAC Neocons and Wall Street/

Our military understands they have been deceived.
Whistle-blowers and leaks will not be blacklisted.
Loud chicken-hawks hide behind the troops.
News blackout while lies are fabricated.

Wall Street & not-Federal no-Reserve.
Israel-first dual-national AIPAC.
Mossad media megaphone.
Official 9/11 propaganda.
Anthrax intimidation.
Stealth cia neocons

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

you were lucky to have been in Afghanistan before the Russian invasion, and then Taliban rule. I find it a bit disturbing that you completely ignore the past tyranny when the country was ruled by the Taliban.

At 5:29 AM, Anonymous Max said...

They need to change their policies for betterment of america.


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