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Archive for September, 2007

Congress Quietly Approves Billions More for Iraq War

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

John Nichols of The Nation reports that on Thursday the Senate voted 94–1 to raise the federal debt limit by $850 billion (now up to $9.815 trillion) and to grant the White House at least $9 billion in new war funding and more. (See Nichols’s article in full below.) Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold was the only senator to vote against the measure. Senators Clinton, Obama, Biden, McCain, and Brownback—all presidential candidates who, says Nichols, “are more involved in campaigning than governing”—did not vote. Feingold said:

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Sen. Dodd Calls for Special Envoy to Iran; Tells White House 2002 Vote Doesn’t Pertain to Iran

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Becoming the second Democratic presidential candidate (after Barack Obama) to warn the White House away from hostilities against Iran, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut has written a letter notifying the White House that the Senate’s 2002 authorization of military force against Iraq does not authorize war against Iran:

“I am extremely concerned that your administration’s failure to employ robust diplomacy in dealing with the challenges posed by Iran could lead us down the same disastrous and ill-conceived path that has produced a failed policy in Iraq that has made us less secure. . . . Moreover, it is my firm belief that the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force in no way grants license to deploy any military campaign against Iran. . . . Mr. President, the time for robust diplomacy is now. For that reason, I strongly recommend that you appoint an experienced and well respected diplomat as a special envoy for Iran.”

We are still waiting to hear from John Edwards and Hillary Clinton (among others).

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AlterNet.org reports here on the administration’s multi-pronged strategy against Iran: “The Administration Is Coming at Iran from Every Which Way.



Endless war, unpopular war—something’s got to give

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

Never mind the small token troop reductions the president mentioned Thursday night. The Bush administration has no intention of ever withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq-indeed, Cheney and other neocons want to deepen the blood-quagmire by striking Iran (see below)-but something has got to give. The war is costing $10 to $12 billion per month when the nation is already perilously in debt because of massive high-end tax cuts. But we refuse to be told, “No, you can’t have sturdy infrastructure because the money’s tight-we’re at war.” If that were an honest argument, the White House or Congress would move to reverse some of the Bush tax cuts, share the sacrifice. But no.

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Obama Warns Bush, “You Don’t Have Our Authorization” for Iran War

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Here is heartening news: The first of the major Democratic presidential candidates tells the White House not to start a war against Iran. Now, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, what say you?

(Reid, Pelosi-care to add your voices? John Warner? Retired generals?)

The Huffington Post presents exclusive excerpts of a major policy speech to be delivered in Iowa today (9/12) by Senator Barack Obama in which the Illinois senator will declare: “George Bush and Dick Cheney must hear-loud and clear-from the American people and the Congress: you don’t have our support, and you don’t have our authorization for another war.”

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41 Senators Could End the War

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

“Congress does not have to pass legislation to bring an end to the war in Iraq—it simply has to block passage of any bill that would continue to fund the war. This requires not 67 or 60 Senate votes, or even 51, but just 41—the number of senators needed to maintain a filibuster and prevent a bill from coming up for a vote. In other words, the Democrats have more than enough votes to end the Iraq War—if they choose to do so.”

—“Media Misrepresent Dems’ Options on Iraq War”

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) 9/13/07



Democrats, Work with Generals to End the War Focus the Debate on Readiness, Broader National Security Issues

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

War critics, peace activists, read E. J. Dionne’s column “Democrats’ Last, Best Hope” in the Sept. 11 Washington Post. Dionne says that in his opening remarks before the Petraeus/Crocker hearings on Sept.10, Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, asked whether “Iraq is the war worth the risk of breaking our army and being unable to deal with other risks to our nation.” Skelton said war critics should transcend the narrow question about whether the surge has succeeded or failed, and keep the focus on a broader debate about “the overall security of this nation. . . . [W]ith so many troops in Iraq, I think our response to an unexpected threat would come at a devastating cost.”

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No More Blank Checks, Top Dem. Senator Tells White House. Mo War Money without Withdrawal Plan

Friday, September 7th, 2007

We like this man, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. In 2002 he voted Nay to authorizing military force against Iraq. On Friday, Sept. 7, Durbin put the White House on notice that he, the Assistant Majority Leader, will not vote for any more Iraq war funding that is not tied to a plan for withdrawing troops. The Chicago Tribune’s online Washington blog “The Swamp” reports that in his speech to the Center for National Policy in Washington, Durbin held a hard line, emphasizing that giving money signifies approval, and said members of Congress face a “moral obligation” to stop feeding money to the war.

From “The Swamp”:

Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, has been a consistent critic of the war in Iraq but is a pragmatic party leader attuned to political reality. He voted against authorization for the war in 2002 but has since voted for the emergency funding packages that have financed the war.

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Ready to Strike Iran?

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

The Times of London reports that the Pentagon has drawn up plans for a massive three-day strike against 1,200 targets in Iran to “take out” its military capabilities.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,” he said.

Debat was speaking at a meeting organised by The National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal. He told The Sunday Times that the US military had concluded: “Whether you go for pinprick strikes or all-out military action, the reaction from the Iranians will be the same.” It was, he added, a “very legitimate strategic calculus.”

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