Veterans of Iraq and Vietnam marched from Mobile to New Orleans to mark the third anniversary of the Iraq War, and to call attention to the Bush Administratrion's culture of incompentence, inhumanity and greed that has devastated Iraq and America's Gulf Coast.
In the March 27 issue of The Nation, Ari Berman writes of top Democratic consultants' strategy to either completely avoid discussing Iraq or support the war while criticizing George Bush's handling of it.
As if to prove Berman's point, two days ago Hillary Clinton sent a fundraising email on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) under the bold subject heading, "Changing the Senate."
Clinton opens with the pronouncement, "You and I both know America needs a change of direction--and the American people know it too."
How many Americans would pledge to cast their votes in November only for candidates who want to end the war in Iraq?
According to a poll conducted for the new group Vote for Peace, 46 percent of likely voters agree with the pledge the group will be promoting in advance of the November, 2006, congressional elections: "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."
One in every five voters surveyed expressed strong agreement, while 26 percent said they were at least somewhat in agreement with the statement.
Payments to ghost employees. Contractors overcharging by hundreds of millions of dollars on no-bid contracts. And billions in reconstruction money gone missing. The list of reasons for an Independent War Profiteering Commission just keeps on growing.
The Pentagon's Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) disputed $263 million in charges from Halliburton subsidiary Kellog, Brown and Root for its $2.41 billion no-bid contract. Normally, the Army withholds between 55 to 75 percent of the monies flagged by the auditors.
So what did the Army do in this case? It withheld 3.8 percent of the payments. Yes, you read that correctly, 3.8 percent â€“ meaning it paid all but $10 million of the charges in question despite the alleged corruption.
With the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq approaching, Congress rejected reality once more and provided another infusion of funding to continue the open-ended occupation of that increasing disordered and volatile land. Nothing, not even the Bush administration's deception and intransigence, has done so much to continue the quagmire as the failure of Congress to check and balance the madness of President George.
Even as Iraq has become the "Bloody Kansas" of the Middle East, with a horrific explosion of sectarian violence that even some of the administration's most ardent apologists admit could well be a precursor to civil war, Congress remains the rubberstamp that it has always been â€“ a fact confirmed Thursday by the lopsided House vote to meet another of the president's demands for more money to pay for his military misadventure.
By a vote of 348-71, the House approved a $91.9 billion supplemental spending bill, with the lion's share of the new funding earmarked for Iraq. Three years into a war that 60 percent of Americans now tell pollsters has not been worth the cost in lives and dollars that it has extracted from the United States, overwhelming majorities of both the Republican and Democratic caucuses in the House backed a measure that demands no real accountability of the administration â€“ and that perpetuates a war that, according to a new Gallup Poll, 58 percent of Americans believe has had a generally negative effect on life in the United States generally.
Last week, Katrina vanden Heuvel and Sam Graham-Felsen pointed to the wave of antiwar resolutions coming from America's cities, labor organizations, and religious groups as a sign of the mainstreaming of antiwar sentiment.
The local character of the more than 500 antiwar events planned nationally this weekend to mark the third anniversary of the invasion is yet another example of the widening of dissatisfaction with the president's war. From potlucks in Fairbanks to a rally by a recruitment station in Tucson to Barbara Lee's Iraq Town Hall in Oakland to interfaith peace prayers in Denver to a march to Rep. Katherine Harris' office in Sarasota to Congressional office visits in Boise to a peace march in Tulsa, there are far too many signs of popular unrest with Bush's Iraq policy for, hopefully, even the politicians to ignore. (Read Ari Berman's new Notion post for more on that.) Check the United for Peace & Justice website for a good calendar of events nationwide organized by state. And click here to sign UFPJ's petition to Congress to vote to stop funding the war.
One of the glitzier events on the slate--the Bring 'Em Home Now! concert--takes place Monday, March 20, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Speakers, including RadioNation's Laura Flanders, Cindy Sheehan, Susan Sarandon, Margaret Cho, Chuck D and Anthony Arnove will join musical guests Michael Stipe, Rufus Wainwright, Peaches, Steve Earle, Devendra Banhart, Bright Eyes and Fischerspooner in what should be a long but entertaining (and certainly worthwhile) evening. Doors open at 7:00 for the 8:00 show. For ticket info go to TICKETMASTER.COM or call 212-807-7171. The gate will be split by Gold Star Families, Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War.
On the day the Bush Administration renewed its commitment to preemptive war--and conveniently launched the largest air strikes in Iraq since March 2003--a conference of security experts assembled at the Center for America Progress to examine just how that preemptive test case is going.
Not so hot. And conditions on the ground threaten to move from bad to worse.
The editors at the New York Times belatedly decided that SenatorRuss Feingold's censure resolution is front-page news after all. Onlytheir storytoday has a cute twist: Censure is actually good news for the Republicans. The very notion that Bush should be called to account inflames the right-wingers and this will get the "conservative base" tovote in the Fall.
That is the logic being peddled by the White House, Republican NationalCommittee, right-wing frothers and other authoritative sources.
The Times swallowed whole, without chewing. Play it out. IfBush got impeached, bingo for the GOP. If indicted by a renegadeprosecutor, even better. If he is subpoened by a Spanish magistrateinvestigating "crimes against humanity," well, you couldn't top that.Meanwhile, the Warrior President is sinking of his own soggy substance.
With Bush's popularity dropping and Iraq in chaos, Democrats must provide clear leadership without making themselves targets of political assassination by the right. How can they do that when the master story in the media depicts a party in disarray?
OK, kids: With conservatives on the hunt for dangerous left-wing academics, take this SAT (Save America from Treachery) test. See if you can tell the difference between a terrorist and a truth-teller. First prize: A three-day getaway in Baghdad. Fail and go to jail.
In a 1990 cover story for The Nation, Contributing Editor Kai Bird called Jimmy Carter "the very model of an ex-president." He described his work on human rights, education, preventive health care, and conflict resolution as a "return to the populist warpath, telling people what he perceives to be the hard truths on the larger issues."
Bird noted that his take on Carter wasn't altogether too common: "…he was never a liberal as defined by the party's traditional liberal constituency groups."
Yet more than 25 years later, Carter has become the moral standard-bearer for the progressive Democratic flank. As Patrick Doherty's recent Tompaine.com blog "