Senate takes up the Iraq war this week

 In Iraq

After spending last week listening to General Petraeus and President Bush make a case for their nominal withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, the Senate will start debating and voting on Iraq policy once again this week.  They will revisit the 2008 Defense Authorization bill, and there are a slew of possible amendments relating to Iraq policy.

One of the amendments that seem to have the most traction is being offered by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA).  The amendment would require that troops who spend fifteen months on duty in Iraq be allowed at least fifteen months at home.  The proposal received 56 votes in July, and there is a strong possibility that it will pick up more this time around.  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has already said that President Bush should veto the measure, stating, “The complexity of managing the flow of units, individuals and capabilities to two active combat theaters is enormous and does not lend itself to simplistic, or to simple, legislative prescriptions.”

In addition to the Webb amendment, which is essentially a back-door maneuver to accelerate the rate of withdrawal, there are other proposals that range from shifting the mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism to starting withdrawal within a month and cutting off funds for combat operations by April 30, 2008.  Council for a Livable World has compiled a list of possible amendments that could come up in the next couple of weeks.

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  • April Poirier

    For my part, I would like to see the war end immediately. However, I realize that I am not an expert on military strategy. What I do know is that our country’s service men and women are being asked to give their lives for a war that is virtually impossible to win. I think before spending another dime, or sending another soldier, we should take a long look at what has gone wrong with this war. Are our leaders more concerned with saving face than saving lives? With world power, than what is happening right here in our own country?
    I believe our service men and women are being given sub-standard living facilities, bathing facilities, and food preparation in the name of unethical and obscene profits for a chosen few. Taxpayers are being asked to pay for services our own soldiers have done and could continue to do.
    I feel there should be an investigation into the awarding of contracts, and the amount of money the U.S. taxpayers are being charged for the mis-use and down right outragious waste that is happening in Iraq.
    I am sure there is enough blame to go around on this matter, but the responsibility to not allow these things to continue to happen lies right at the Congress, the Senate, and the Presidents feet. You are not being a good steward of the faith that was placed on you when you won the office you hold.
    April Poirier

  • Tomi Phillips

    Dennis Kucinich reminds Congress that they do not need to write a bill to end the war now, or vote for anything. They simply do not give any more money to the President for this occupation. There is the money to bring them home now, and anything else (like throwing more money or wasting time waiting for more people to agree on a bill that will give the President a smaller amount of money)is unnecessary and useless. It’s time to use the power of the purse-strings and have the courage to do what is right.

  • Meltem Narter

    Iraq war? A war started on made up intelligence reports by the previous administration. Quoting Harold Pinter’s 2005 Nobel Lecture

    “As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Quaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.

    We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East.'”

    Our millitary might is unequaled. We lost, the last I checked, 4000 of our idealistic youngsters, who gave their lives believing in the lies. They were to serve their country’s security, they were to save a poor country from a dictator. Instead, they were made to partake in atrocities far worse than what that country’s dictator had subjected his people to. The most heart wrenching example is from our Fallujah operation, or Fallujah Massacres as Eurepean press called it. White phosphorous shells and a new, “improved” form of napalm that turned human beings into “caramelized” fossils, with their skin dissolved and turned to leather on their bones very slowly and causing a lot of pain.

    As for the death toll in Iraq, the British polling firm Opinion Research Business (ORB) gave an estimate around one million. We have caused 5 million refugees. Death toll and refugee problem increasing daily with our troops and military technology supporting death squad types of operations of current Iraqi government, and we call it serving peace and democracy.

    Supporting various ethnic minorities, getting them rebel and leaving them unprotected had been our Foreign policy in the Golf region since 1972, Nixon years. Wanting a government in Iraq that would be a USA ally, that would allow US military presence in the Gulf region had been appealing as our dependence on oil grew. Now we appear we have succeeded accomplishing that goal. Hurray.

    Let’s have the courage to look at ourselves in the mirror and see what we have done. Declaring war an a country on false pretense, invading it, and killing million of its people, destroying its infrastructure, its historical, cultural artifacts is a crime. Crime against humanity. It is even terrorism in the most grandeur scale. Britanica defines terrorism as “the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.” I submit unjust war is nothing other than terrorism, not ending it only prolongs the systematic use of violence to what end?

    The more civilians we kill and we shrug it off as that is unavoidable outcome of modern war affair and fighting guerrilla war. The more ammunition we give extremists that we are there to kill and destroy them unless they counteract. When we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and support governments with economic, educational funding, rebuilding what we had caused/contributed destroyed.

  • Meltem Narter

    It got accidentally sent before I had a chance to finish the last sentence

    When we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and support their democratically elected secular governments with economic, educational funding, help them rebuild what we had caused/contributed destroyed, the anger against the invader/enemy will tranform to love towards an ally. I could hope.

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