Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Matter Of War And... War And More War


This week Blue America participated in Alan Grayson's Peace Party. The Orlando Democrat is serious about peace, in Afghanistan and everywhere else. I wish there were many more like him. There aren't-- on either side of the aisle. The Obama team and their congressional allies, working on behalf of the Military-Industrial Complex President Eisenhower solemnly warned the American people about (take a look at the video below if you were busy when Eisenhower went on the new fangled machine to sound the alarm), have some fancy juggling to do to pass his disgraceful war supplemental to finance the catastrophic and unwinnable occupation of Afghanistan and war against the primitive Afghan people. First Ike:

Obama's problemo is that the Pentagon and ruling elite insist that the disastrous and pointless war drag on. But fewer and fewer Democrats have their hearts in it. Oh, I don't mean troglodyte warmongers like Ike Skelton and the moronic southern Blue Dogs; I mean real Democrats who would rather see the country make social and economic progress for ordinary working families. So a few of these people-- very few from what I can tell-- are standing firm with Grayson and other anti-war stalwarts like Barbara Lee and Dennis Kucinich. But most of them are hemming and hawing (and whoring) and telling Obama that they'll vote for the $33 billion for more of this Afghanistan crap if he makes at least some kind of attempt to keep the country from falling off the cliff economically by funding domestic projects that are both emergency-oriented and stimulative to the economy. The congressional Republicans, on the other hand, are overwhelmingly in favor of the war, as usual, but eager for the economy to wind up in a ditch so they can seize power in the November elections. So Obama's going to try to split the difference-- or at least the bills.
Democratic leaders plan to stage two votes in the House on the supplemental-- one that focuses on the measure’s war funding, and a separate one on additional domestic spending the majority wants to add to prevent massive layoffs of local teachers, police and firefighters.

A divided majority caucus may not have the votes to pass a war supplemental without Republican help, because a sizable number of Democrats oppose further funding for conflicts.

The Senate passed its $58.8 billion version of the supplemental on May 27, but it is unclear whether the Senate would accept any new domestic spending beyond money for disaster relief included in its version of the legislation.

Boehner was crowing happily, like a pig in shit, that “We need to get a supplemental passed as soon as possible. It should not be used as an excuse for tens of billions of dollars of additional social spending that will pile more debt on the backs of our children and grandchildren.” For him this is all politics. He doesn't care about the young men and women fighting in Afghanistan. He doesn't care about the unemployed or the elderly or about the American families. He cares only about grabbing the speakership. John Boehner is vomit.

Most Americans would like Obama to bring the Afghanistan fiasco to a prompt end and to concentrate on fixing the dismal economy the Republicans left us. It's why we elected him.
A majority of Americans (58%) favor President Barack Obama's timetable that calls for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan beginning in July 2011. Most of the 38% of Americans who are opposed reject the idea of setting any timetable rather than setting one with an earlier or later date.

Around 30%-- all of whom are utterly clueless and have probably rarely left their couches while Fox is broadcasting-- think there should be no timetable at all and that we should just "win" the war and 7%-- yours truly included-- think the timetable should begin sooner. (I suppose yesterday is part of "sooner," right?) And that poll was conducted even before this came out yesterday:
More than $3 billion in cash has been openly flown out of Kabul International Airport in the past three years, a sum so large that U.S. investigators believe top Afghan officials and their associates are sending billions of diverted U.S. aid and logistics dollars and drug money to financial safe havens abroad.

The cash-- packed into suitcases, piled onto pallets and loaded into airplanes-- is declared and legal to move. But U.S. and Afghan officials say they are targeting the flows in major anticorruption and drug trafficking investigations because of their size relative to Afghanistan's small economy and the murkiness of their origins.

Officials believe some of the cash, if not most, is siphoned from Western aid projects and U.S., European and NATO contracts to provide security, supplies and reconstruction work for coalition forces in Afghanistan. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization spent about $14 billion here last year alone. Profits reaped from the opium trade are also a part of the money flow, as is cash earned by the Taliban from drugs and extortion, officials say.

The amount declared as it leaves the airport is vast in a nation where the gross domestic product last year totaled $13.5 billion. More declared cash flies out of Kabul each year than the Afghan government collects in tax and customs revenue nationwide. "It's not like they grow money on trees here," said a U.S. official investigating corruption and Taliban financing. "A lot of this looks like our tax dollars being stolen. And opium, of course."

Most Americans don't know anything about Afghanistan. The ones who do, know without any doubt that this was inevitable. It goes to the essence of the culture. It's what Afghanistan is. Even if Americans don't know that, our governing elites should. And they do. So one might assume they're partaking in the pillage.

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At 3:15 PM, Blogger VG said...

I agree with many of Grayson's positions, esp. re: Afghanistan, and war in general.

But, from what I can tell (my perspective), he has a total blind spot re: Israel and Gaza etc.. That's why I can't get as excited about him as you do.

At 4:21 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

As Barney Frank once famously said, if you want to agree with someone 100% of the time, run for office. He also warned that if you win, after some time you won't even agree with yourself 100% of the time.

At 4:42 PM, Blogger VG said...

Fair enough Howie.

Just stating my reservations, and probably should have been couched more gracefully, or not posted at all, rather sent personally, as I didn't mean to minimize the import of your post, and Grayson's work.

Sorry to have come off like a troll.

At 5:14 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Don't be silly; you certainly didn't. (I won't show him in case he decides to show up in December.)

At 6:17 PM, Blogger VG said...

Oh! Now that would be a fascinating turn of events! Like, totally.


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