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As WikiLeaks Shake Washington, Congressmen Propose Vote to Exit Pakistan | The Nation

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John Nichols

John Nichols

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As WikiLeaks Shake Washington, Congressmen Propose Vote to Exit Pakistan

Wikileaks revelations regarding the extent of US operations and problems in Pakistan raise the question: Shouldn't Congress check-and-balance the administration's inclination to expand the Afghanistan imbroglio across the border and into Afghanistan?

Congressmen Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Ron Paul, R-Texas, think so.

They have proposed House Concurrent Resolution 301, "Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Pakistan."

The measure, which is expected to be voted on Tuesday, is a bold response to a burgeoning crisis. Kucinich says it "aims to cause the United States to withdraw from Pakistan. Now, it's not generally known that we have at least 124 Special Forces troops on the ground inside Pakistan. It is absolutely urgent that we take a stand to stop spreading war in Pakistan. To nip in the bud the U.S. ground presence."

As the antiwar congressman notes: "We already know the U.S. has had missile strikes inside Pakistan since March of 2005 with a lot of innocent villagers killed. All that we can do is to expand the war into Pakistan, destabilize that government and have the United States fighting on still another front. We have to get out of Pakistan and that's why Ron Paul and I have come together, for the first time, to force a vote on this question."

The Pakistan vote is unlikely to gain as much attention as a vote—which could occur Tuesday—on the question of whether to expand funding for the War in Afghanistan.

But Kucinich links the two, as have the Wikileaks revelations.

"The New York Times and other news agencies have taken WikiLeaks reports and have released this news globally. And what we've learned in the last 24 hours is that there is another secret war going on in Afghanistan. A war of failure. A war of our troops getting undermined by people that we think are working with us," explains Kucinich. "This is occurring in Pakistan, it's also happening in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan government is a cesspool of corruption. There is no plausible way that anything even remotely resembling a democracy can be established there. Our presence there is an occupation fueling an insurgency."

Kucinich and Paul will have some allies in their fight. But how many remains to be seen. One thing that is clear, however, is that the Obama administration is worried, following the WikiLeaks revelations. A Capitol Hill insider newspaper, The Hill, featured a headline Monday that read: "White House pushes back on WikiLeaks as House sets war vote."

The Hill reported that: "The White House on Monday sought to contain new doubts about the Afghanistan war sparked by the release of classified documents that suggest the United States is losing the fight. The 93,000 documents posted on Wikileaks.org were largely old news that included no new 'broad revelations,' White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at his daily briefing."

In the same briefing, however, Gibbs made an over-the-top claim that the leak should be seen as a “potential national security concern."

Translation: The administration has no coherent message for Congress except: "Give us the money and don't ask questions."

Kucinich and Paul are right to respond by saying "no."

The question now is: How many members of the House will have the wisdom and the courage to join in voting to bring US troops home from Afghanistan—and Pakistan?

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