Sunday, March 25, 2007
CODEPINK Disappointed With Democrat Funding for War; Determined to Stop Future Funding and Bring Our Troops Home (www.dontbuybushswar.org)
Last week, the House of Representatives passed the "Iraq Accountability Act" giving the President an additional $100 billion to continue the US occupation and associated military operations in Iraq. While this binding measure establishes a deadline for the removal of most combat troops by August 31, 2008, the conditions set forth in the bill fall far short of where Congress should be on their path to bringing the troops home. CODEPINK believes that not one more dollar should be appropriated for continued war and occupation, and will continue to push the position that Congress should only fund the safe, orderly and rapid withdrawal of all troops by the end of this year.
CODEPINK will continue to demand that Congress be accountable to the American people’s clarion call last November 7 to end to the war. Despite many expert opinions that say that the US priority in Iraq must be to support political and diplomatic solutions rather than military operations, and yet we are still burdened with an exclusively military strategy and additional funding for war and occupation.
Members of Congress who voted for the supplemental bill see it as the first small step toward the major policy shift we seek. The work of the peace movement, and particularly that of CODEPINK, has been instrumental in moving us closer to our goal to end the war. Speaker Pelosi, talking to the Democratic Caucus on the eve of the vote, mentioned the pressure she herself was getting from CODEPINK camping out on her doorstep! Congress has moved this far only because of public pressure, and reach further, public pressure must and will continue. CODEPINK will now push for the best supplemental bill possible out of the Senate, the best bill possible out of Conference, and the best bill possible from the Defense Authorization that will be coming up in April. CODEPINK continues to fight for better funding legislation that will finally and completely end the US military presence in Iraq.
Why Does the Peace Movement Still Say "NO" To The Supplemental Bill To Fund The War?
By Phyllis Bennis
Institute for Policy Studies
22 February 2007
The Democratic leadership claims the $125 billion supplemental is the way to end the war. Aside from setting a date for bringing home troops, the bill includes a number of items many in the peace movement would ordinarily support – veterans’ health benefits, Katrina survivors’ assistance, children’s health insurance…
So what’s the problem with the supplemental? Why aren’t peace activists supporting it?
Because it gives President Bush another $100 billion to continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And it doesn’t end the occupation or prevent expansion of the war to Iran.
WHAT IT DOES
It calls for pulling out half the troops from Iraq by August 2008
It exempts whole categories of troops from the withdrawal
** Troops “training the Iraqi military” can stay – currently 6,000, perhaps as
many as 20,00 (no limit in the supplemental)
** Troops engaged in “special operations” can stay – the Marines say they want
20,000 for Anbar Province alone, perhaps as many as 40,000 for the whole country (no limit in the supplemental)
** Troops “protecting diplomatic enclaves” like the huge Green Zone and the US
Embassy, the largest in the world, and maybe including the numerous US bases established in Iraq, can stay – 20,000 is a conservative number (no limit in the supplemental)
That means Bush could keep unlimited numbers, perhaps 60,000 – 80,000 troops, permanently in Iraq – and still be in compliance with the bill.
And the bill does not require that the troops withdrawn from Iraq be sent home; they can be immediately deployed to Afghanistan, or to bases in surrounding Arab countries, or to ships in the Persian Gulf – or be used to attack Iran.
WHAT IT DOES
It imposes restrictions on Pentagon deployments, prohibiting the deployment of troops not fully trained, not adequately equipped, and not adequately rested between deployments.
It includes a waiver for President Bush to simply state his intention to override those restrictions, allowing him to send in as many untrained, badly equipped and exhausted troops as he wishes.
WHAT IT DOES
Prohibit construction of new permanent bases in Iraq
It does nothing to close the existing permanent bases the U.S. has built across Iraq
WHAT IT DOES
Cut 10% of the funding for private military contractors
It allows 90% of the 100,000 or so mercenaries who fight alongside the U.S. military to remain in Iraq
WHAT IT DOESN’T DO
The supplemental does not prohibit an unprovoked attack on Iran.
The supplemental does not end the occupation of Iraq.
Medea Benjamin Responds to the Supplemental at PDA Conference-Part 1
Medea Benjamin Responds to the Supplemental at PDA Conference-Part 2