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February 05, 2007


At the end of "The One Percent Doctrine" Ron Susskind has various high-level CIA people sittting around a table realizing that the popularity of bin Laden and Bush were intertwined. When Bush talked tough against bin laden, his popularity at home went up, but so did bin Laden's in the Arab world.

We appear to be repeating the same mistake with Ahmadinejad. He is increasingly unpoopular at home, as his promises to reduce poverty go unfulfilled, but when Bush demonizes him, his popularity within Iran goes up. Meanwhile, the mullahs have tried to remove him from decisions about the nuclear program. But we go blundering forward as if he is the "decider" in Iran.

Walter Jones (R-NC) has introduced HJR 14- as first step in bringing issue to the attention of the Congress who fail to see how inconsequencial troop deployment or surge (non-binding)debates will be if Cheney/Bush drop a bomb on Tehran.
It's a resolution forbidding any action with Iran without prior consultation with Congress and explicit approval of Congress.

It is alarming to watch Cheney/Bush contemplating if not actually instigating and denying intention of war with Iran, but its even more disturbing and frustrating to watch our Congress in slow motion twitting around with small stuff (in conparison).

Attacking Iran will end the American Dream, meaning the affluent way of life most of us have become accustomed to since WW II will be reduced by a large portion.

The problem of depending on Legislative bodies to really debate something is that is not really how they operate. All members are vote counters, and they detest putting out for positions that will lose. They do not expect debate itself to move anyone off their initial position, thus what is going on is a process that tests for a consensus on a majority, or perhaps winning position.

The smart posture for the public that wants the debate is to make it damn expensive for those who oppose the business as usual search for behind the scene consensus without putting real thinking or calculations on the record.

Our problem right now is that we have an anti-war Poll position, but we don't have an intellectually grounded anti-war movement. What organization exists is too fixed on getting folk to march, and not on the much tougher matter of creating a more long term movement. A movment is not precisely the same thing as a campaign that elects a pol to Congress or the Senate -- though a movement is part of that. The Elected pol is hopefully a mouthpiece for a movement, or at least some of it. But an elected pol is also, hopefully, a master of Senate rules and a good vote counter in addition to maybe having some sort of philosophical center integrated into a movement.

We need to put our critique where it might matter -- why don't we have movement leaders who are valued, loved, intellectually respected, but out there -- while not the sort of folk who plan to run for office?

Good points, Sara. Part of the problem lies with the lead-up to the Iraq War. So many pols and especially pundits were wrong about WMD and the level of threat that Iraq posed, but they all seem to have a vested interest in maintaining their status by diminishing those who argued against the war before the war.

We do have an intellectual basis in writers like Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback, which predicted something like 9/11; The Sorrows of Empire" and, most recently, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. He supported the Vietnam War, advised the US Gov't and is now one of the strongest voices against the march of empire, along with James Fallows. But we need people who are not just intellectuals, but who are interested in a movement. Not a movement against all war, but a movement against the precipitate and reckless use of force to bully other nations.

As for pols, Feingold is doing a good job, but Pelosi has to catch up with the majority of the American people, to say nothing of the people in her district.

Here's a list of GOP Senators who voted against cloture on the Warner-Levin-Biden Resolution who are up for reelection next year.

And Lieberman? He's a Nay, that is, he supported the filibuster. Two R's were against and 4 Senators didn't vote.

Still protecting the puppet prez, and man will they pay the price.

As for Feingold, I like him too. They love to stick him with that "Way Right Wing" label, but it sure beat being part of the "Way Wrong Wing"

Assuming that requests for reports and updates from the Congressional Research Service presage future actions from Congress, it seems as if there's movement toward limiting Bush by means of legislation. Some recent CRS reports:

"Congressional Authority To Limit U.S. Military Operations in Iraq" (RL33837). Updated Jan. 29, 2007.

"Congressional Use of Funding Cutoffs Since 1970 Involving U.S. Military Forces and Overseas Deployments" (RS20775). Updated Jan. 16, 2007.

"Congressional Restrictions on U.S. Military Operations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Somalia, and Kosovo: Funding and Non-Funding Approaches" (RL33803). Jan. 16, 2007.

The information in these reports, as well as in the articles that Mimi links to here, might be useful to those who decide to write letters to editors or congresspeople. Like most CRS reports that are made public, they're available at Federation of American Scientists, on their national security page.

Also of interest, although a bit off topic and somewhat older, is

"Military Operations: Precedents for Funding Contingency Operations in Regular or in Supplemental Appropriations Bills" (RS22455). June 13, 2006,

in which we learn [with all emphases mine]:

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress has appropriated $331 billion for military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Of that amount, $301 billion, or 91%, has been provided either in supplemental appropriations bills or as additional "emergency" funding in separate titles of annual defense appropriations acts[,]

notwithstanding the historical practice that

In general, however, past Administrations have requested, and Congress has provided, funding for ongoing military operations in regular appropriations bills as soon as even a limited and partial projection of costs could be made.

actually, under UN article 51, all that is required for "self-defense" is an attack on "forces," which need not be a base.
see this.

Very interesting, but isn't this all about regional control? The Caucusas oil fields and pipelines (which go in-and-out of Iran as well)are also what is coveted--a road into the heart of Central Asia.

Is it me or is Lieberman reminiscent of Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars? Right now, he's positioned himself as being a democratic, left-winged liberal but in reality he is a war mongering, power-hungry opportunist. Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh...but still. Here he suggests an air strike would be sufficient...


Really? You think that bombing another middle-eastern country is going to bring peace?? America will be more paranoid, exposed, and hated than ever before...and I think its a safe bet to assume that the Draft would be reinstated as a result. Oh well, I always did want to live in Canada.

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