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Cindy Sheehan: Tell the Democrats to bring our troops home now!

Cindy Sheehan rightly takes to task the Congressional Democrats and MoveOn for their political opportunism, duplicity and for ignoring the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the US public who want US troops out of Iraq.

nickanderson_cindy-sheehan19aug2005.jpg

Nick Anderson

Betrayed!

How the Democratic Congress betrayed American voters, the troops in Iraq and extended the occupation for at least another 18 months.

By Cindy Sheehan :: Gold Star Families for Peace :: ICH

24 March 2007

THE DEMOCRATS ARE FUNDING IRAQ ESCALATION: The Democratic leadership has proposed $100 billion of supplemental funding for an increased troop presence in Iraq. The leadership opted for the “slow bleed” policy over a month ago. This extends the occupation for at least another 18 months, and allows permanent placement of troops thereafter for “training” or “combating terrorism”. It also will permit the Bush Administration to initiate a war with Iran without Congressional oversight. The surge of 20,000 troops recently increased to 30,000 and will likely increase to 100,000 by year-end. Will the hapless Democrats then claim, “If only I knew then what I know now” as they have for the past year?

The “slow bleed” policy has some toothless requirements for presidential assertions of progress like those we’ve heard for the past four years from the Administration; these reporting requirements allow “slow bleed” proponents to make the preposterous claim they are “ending the war” by funding it. Amendments that would require withdrawal of US forces this year, the policy overwhelming favored by Americans, and the troops themselves, are not even being allowed for a vote by the leadership! The shameless short-term purpose of the Democratic policy is to embarrass Republicans with a Senate filibuster of the supplemental, or a presidential veto, and the longer-term aim is to help Democrats in the 2008 election by saddling the Republicans with intervention in an untenable civil war.

In 2002 the Democrats authorized Bush to invade Iraq (or any other country he deemed to support terrorism, for example Iran) in hope he would become involved in an unpopular war which would produce a Democratic White House. The Democrats 2007 policy is equally political, and may have the paradoxical effect of producing Republican victories in 2008. The prolongation of the occupation is now opposed by two-thirds of all Americans; we want our troops safely home by this Christmas, not political chicanery. As a consequence Americans now think even more poorly of Congress than ever; the failure to withdraw from Iraq dropped Democratic support of Congress from 44% to 33% according to the latest Gallup poll. The Democrats failure to stem what has become a Democrats war will be a factor in the 2008 elections.

A year ago 72% of the troops in Iraq said all troops should come home in 2006 but politicians did not heed their message. How much better we would be if our support included listening to them. Not another drop of blood should be spilled to protect cowardice by both political parties.

AMERICANS WANT TROOP WITHDRAWAL: The Democratic leadership has disregarded national polls showing that 60% of all Americans and 80% of Democratic voters oppose the increase troop levels in Iraq. Grassroots progressive organizations overwhelmingly oppose the occupation of Iraq and the recent escalation. One group closely allied to the Democratic leadership, MoveOn, has used antiwar sentiment to triple both its membership and fundraising, but has been AWOL from antiwar activity; its members are prohibited from demonstrations, and only vigils for the war dead are posted as events on their website. A month ago I wrote that MoveOn began efforts to support “slow bleed” while antiwar forces actively opposed it. Recently MoveOn fabricated a biased push-poll in which “85%” of respondents supported “slow bleed”; however, the 96% of the MoveOn members who favor withdrawal, and who were not offered a vote on that option, refused to participate in a sham. Congressional sources report that the spurious MoveOn poll, together with intensive bullying and bribing, was used to erode the principled opposition of congressional progressives.

A reliable poll conducted by True Majority, another group with progressive membership, found that only 24% favored the “slow bleed” policy while 76% favored immediate or near-term withdrawal. A Zogby poll sponsored by CODEPINK found that 90% of progressives/liberals favored near-term withdrawal. 96% of progressives question the push-poll used by MoveOn that gave such contrary results. Antiwar groups that fought for withdrawal (United for Peace and Justice, Progressive Democrats of America, US Labor Against the War, After Downing Street, Democrats.com, Peace Action, Code Pink, Democracy Rising, True Majority, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Backbone Campaign, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Voters for Peace, Veterans for Peace, the Green Party) are irate at the MoveOn duplicity.

MoveOn is now raising funds from antiwar supporters to attack Senate opposition to the supplemental., but the activist community is now aware that MoveOn is not the cathartic needed to address Democratic Party constipation. There is at least one Democratic senator, Russ Feingold, who could oppose the funding farce. MoveOn is an autocratic organization run by a small group of elitist wannabe power-brokers; it cannot be reformed, but you can let their politburo know your feelings eli@moveon.org, Namrita.Chaudhary@gmail.com , tom@moveon.org, and you can unsubscribe! You also can refuse to lend them your name (their petitions are mainly for fund-raising), your efforts, and your money, and instead join with one of the many active progressive and antiwar organizations (check out United for Peace and Justice- UFPJ for a detailed listing of local and national groups, which incidentally does not include MoveOn). None of the MoveOn leadership has served their country in the armed forces; like Dick Cheney and 95% of Congress they had more important things to do, which did not and do not include supporting the troops that are in harms way.

The “slow bleed” strategy favored by the Democratic leadership and MoveOn is an immoral political calculation that will cause more heartache and disaster in Iraq. That leadership should understand that being perceived as “weak on principle” is much worse politically than being “weak on defense”. Democratic politicians need to vote their conscience on the supplemental. On November 7th we voted for an antiwar, anti-Bush policy; make that vote count for peace.

Please tell the Democratic leadership: Bring Our Troops Home Now!

9 comments on “Cindy Sheehan: Tell the Democrats to bring our troops home now!

  1. Jack
    29 March, 2007

    Hi Ann,

    Just dropping in for a bit of discussion. Couple of things. Mrs. Sheehan is a little bit … simple. I know she gets a lot of press, but she is quite a simple woman with little understanding of geo-politics. I think that she has made so many mis-steps that the anti-war movement is kind of distancing themselves from her. That being said…

    Will pose a question. What do you think would happen to/in Iraq if the U.S. and allies were to withdraw 100% of their soldiers from the country tomorrow? Much of our left wants them out “now”, and I just want to find out what people think would happen in Iraq if we did as they say.

    Look forward to your thoughts,

    -Jack

  2. Servant
    29 March, 2007

    Don’t you remember the Pottery Barn rule, Jack? You break it, you bought it?

    The right is trying really hard to get the left to own the problem that they created, aren’t they. Now we’re supposed to help you clean it up?

    Your mom doesn’t work here. You have to clean up after yourself.

    The problem isn’t that we’re leaving. The problem is that we went there in the first place.

    Better question: What do you think Iraq would be like if we were never there?

    Humpty dumpty sat on a wall…..

  3. Servant
    29 March, 2007

    Took me a while to find this Bill Schorr cartoon in my image folder. I’ve been saving it for a special occassion just like this one.

    It’s like that.

  4. peoplesgeography
    29 March, 2007

    Hi Jack,

    Good to see you. On Cindy Sheehan, I agree, Cindy Sheehan is not an expert in geopolitics, but I do not think she professes to be. Sometimes there is value in being simple, my friend, and going back to basics is a good and much needed thing! That is, going back to fundamental basic values of decency and cutting through the lies and cant surrounding justifications to go to war. She has written a couple of knock-out articles, including a powerful piece last year based on St Francis’s prayer, Lord Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace that you may be interested in reading here, here or here. I’d be interested in what you think of it.

    On leaving Iraq, its not just the left who see it is prudent to get out of Iraq, its also many conservatives, both within Congress (Ron Paul, Chuck Hagel) and outside of it (Andrew Bacevich, Chalmers Johnson, Justin Raimondo, to list just a few).

    I also agree with Servant, that the problem is that the US went into Iraq in the first place, invading a sovereign nation that posed no threat to the United States on lies (not “faulty intelligence”) and looting its resources.

    Given that much of the violence in Iraq is directly due to the unwanted presence of and occupation by US troops, and that all creditable polls (eg Zogby) mentioned in a previous comment show that Iraqis want the US out, what would happen is no worse than the current terrifying situation now happening and worsening by the day as a direct result of US invasion and occupation.

    Yes, there might be continued violence, but much of the impetus for the resistance would be removed.

    I’d support a UN presence and a major rebuilding funded in part by US government reparations and bringing to trial the companies who won no-bid contracts who are stealing Iraq’s oil wealth.

    In the 1920s when the British finally started to reconsider the long term efficacy of their brutal imperial foray, the same objections were mounted. The British invaded Mesopotamia in 1914 and created the state of Iraq we know today (previously three Ottoman provinces of Basra, Baghdad and Mosul). The Brits had a League of Nations mandate in both Palestine and Iraq and screwed up Palestine (effects still being today) and were obliged to withdraw from Iraq. Here, Churchill was a racist butcher particularly, in contrast to the comfortable imperial mythology propounded today that lionises such leaders. Arab claims to independence were simply not recognized, though the Wilsonian principle of national self-determination, imperial decline and gradual decolonisation were to have an effect. A country-wide uprising in 1920 didn’t dampen the British imperial designs for a decade afterward, as they sought to “pacify” (brutally) and control the natives.

    Lest we forget that this fertile land between the Tigris and the Euphrates is the cradle of civilisation. It has inspired some of the most important developments in human history including the planting of the first cereal crops and the development of cursive script. Today’s Iraqis are the product of the great civilisations that flourished here. Iraqis are capable of governing themselves. Again, as a direct result of the war however, much of Iraq’s educated middle class have fled the country, resulting in a major brain-drain whose effects will be felt for some time.

    Iraq could do with US support, but not by way of occupation. The barbaric looting of Mesopotamian treasures from the museums and the depraved hanging of formerly US supported Saddam Hussein (in addition to the massacres of Haditha and elsewhere by US troops) are not acts of bringing civilisation and democracy to a country.

    Related articles you may find of interest:
    * Our Last Occupation
    * Britain: Imperial Nostalgia
    * Iraq, past, present and future

    Regards
    Ann

  5. peoplesgeography
    29 March, 2007

    Serv., many thanks for the Ahab cartoon and rejoinder.

  6. Jack
    30 March, 2007

    Hi Servant!

    While this doesn’t answer my question, I’ll bite :)

    First of all, polls at the time of the invasion indicated 76+/-% of the population of the United States were for the Iraq War. I guess that means that 76% of this nation are “right”/”conservative”/ or Republican. Well, that’s obviously not the case, so this war is not the product of the “right” or “left” in this country so much as it is the American people. Sure, we had all kind of 60’s leftovers take to the street to protest, but by and large the nation supported it–and by a two-thirds majority.

    Of course, if we want to place blame, how about the previous administration that continued to bomb Iraq on numerous occasions, and who passed along the “intelligence” to the current administration. As a matter of fact, I would almost bet my life on it that President Clinton would have invaded Iraq post 9/11 (of course with the complete backing of the American people – and a very silent anti-war crowd–the same crowd that was completely silent for the eight years of war-mongering and illegal wars during the Clinton admin) had he still been president. The quotes of his administration and his party were to numerous to dismiss concerning their viewpoint and policy direction. For an idea visit:

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/stacks/democrat.guest.html

    (I realize you may not like this site, but Ann has mentioned to me numerous times that I should read many different sources. This one just has quotes. )

    Of course this is hashing and rehashing a topic that is no longer very relevant.

    Ok, a couple assumptions you make, that I need to lay to rest if we are to continue our discussions in a civilized and gentlemanly way.

    You assume I’m “right” without really knowing much at all about my political philosophy. I just posted a daily devotional on this issue today (March 29) on this issue.

    The next thing that would be helpful is to begin thinking of yourself not only as a human being, but as an American. The “Don’t blame me, I voted for Bush/Clinton/Reagan” type philosophy that has invaded the thinking of this younger generation is the root cause of the disunity in this nation. It is an interdependent world we live in where the responsibility for one lies on the shoulders of all. We are in Iraq, what must be done now.

    Ok, now back to your statements and question:

    “The problem isn’t that we’re leaving. The problem is that we went there in the first place.”

    This is an oxymoron and false. We are living in the present, not the past. The second statement never happened, and the first one is the reality. Servant, I am not sure if you actually believe what you wrote here, or were trying to sound glib. I will assume the former. You can’t dismiss the reality of a problem by saying it never shouldn’t have happened in the first place. An ostrich burying its head in the sand will do that. A parent that doesn’t want to face the reality of their teen’s pregnancy will do that. A politician who doesn’t know an answer or is unwilling to answer will do that. But here at People’s Geography, we answer questions directly and with what we think are logical and appropriate answers. By saying that the problem never should not have happened gives us NO solutions about how to fix the reality. This is one of the problems I have with the current Democrat Party is that they sit around talking about all of the problems that shouldn’t have happened, but are very short on offering solutions to the ones we have. How is anything ever going to be fixed?

    “Better question: What do you think Iraq would be like if we were never there?”

    One cannot really answer a question like this because, like the statement you made above, its answer would be based in fantasy. I could say, “Better” or “Worse” and it would all be based on opinion and conjecture, and also completely dependent upon the perspectives of the individuals making such value judgments. For example, to an Iraqi who values freedom and a democratic government, they may think that things are better or getting better–no matter what the sacrifice. To an Iraqi conservative who like the good ‘ol days under Saddam, the military and strict order, the absolute control backed by torture and capital punishment, it may be bad. To the American “right” it may be a good thing to see the enforcement of the United Nations resolution 1440. To the “left” war may always be bad in all circumstances or they may believe that fascism really is a good thing. Being the only American that seemingly lacks omniscience, I don’t know. I hear different things from either side. There are those on the left that say that it would be better off if Saddam’s genocidal dictatorship was still in place. Of course, there were loyalists in our nation during the revolutionary war that thought we would be better off under the king, and that the huge number of people who died in the revolution were too high a price to declare a democratic nation free of the restraint of tyranny. (Now I am playing devils’ advocate here. ha! )

    Servant, the problem with America today is that we have two factions in this nation both living in fantasy worlds of their own making. If we can ever get people back to common sense–the ability to DISCRIMINATE (as a black man, I am truly disturbed at American’s unwillingness to discriminate under any circumstances–when discrimination of many types is the sign of a health mind)–then we may be able to move forward again.

    The cartoon you provided illustrates my point and contention 100%.

    I must admit, your questions were much harder to answer than mine. I hope that I have provided an adequate response.

    Kindest regards,

    -Jack

  7. peoplesgeography
    30 March, 2007

    Thanks for the link, Jack. I agree, the Clinton presidency should be equally scrutinised and I for one would equally declaim its failings. The current US policy of destructive (to my mind) unilateralism commenced in the Clinton administration when the use of force was routinized in an unprecedented fashion, some of it ill-advised (such as the almost daily bombing of Iraq).

    I will never forget Madeleine Albright’s unconscionable statement in 1996, not actually listed in the link you provided but emblematic of the Clinton presidency’s terrible sanctions against Iraq, that the price of half a million dead Iraqi children was “worth it”.

    Two UN humanitarian coordinators quit over these draconian sanctions. One of them, Denis Halliday, said in 1998 in leaving, “I’ve been using the word ‘genocide’ because this is a deliberate policy to destroy the people of Iraq. I’m afraid I have no other view.”

    Further: “I had been instructed to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults. We all know that the regime, Saddam Hussein, is not paying the price for economic sanctions; on the contrary, he has been strengthened by them. It is the little people who are losing their children or their parents for lack of untreated water.”

    Hans von Sponeck, Halliday’s successor was similarly moved to resign. “How long,” he asked, “should the civilian population of Iraq be exposed to such punishment for something they have never done?”

    On Sheehan, to be fair, I think she is castigating Democrats as much as (if not more than) Republicans, particularly since the current Congressional Democrats have been slow to represent their constituency on setting a timetable for ending the war.

    You rightly note that on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, a majority of Americans supported the war. This support was based on an assumption, indeed a trust, that the intelligence proffered by the administration necessitated the war. This “intelligence” — the Al Quada link, the existence of WMDs — has proven not only to be wrong, but to be manufactured, cooked.

  8. Jack
    31 March, 2007

    Hi Ann,

    This was written by a long time friend and in line with what you say:

    Dangerous Demagoguery
    Everyone sees through it.

    By Thomas Sowell

    One of the dangers in being a demagogue is that some of your own supporters — those who take you literally — can turn against you when you start letting your actions be influenced by realities, instead of following the logic of your ringing rhetoric.

    That is what seems to be happening to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other liberal Democrats in Congress.

    Antiwar protesters in Washington and outside her home in San Francisco are denouncing Pelosi and other congressional Democrats for not cutting off the money to fight the war in Iraq.

    If the war in Iraq is such an unnecessary and futile expenditure of blood and treasure as Pelosi et al. have been saying, why not put an end to it?

    But to do that would mean taking responsibility for the consequences — and those consequences would be disastrous and lasting. They would probably still be lasting when the 2008 elections come around.

    The Democrats cannot risk that. They have taken over Congress by a very clever and very disciplined strategy of constantly criticizing the Republicans, without taking the risk of presenting an alternative for whose results they can be held responsible.

    There is no sign that they want to change that politically winning strategy now. Their non-binding resolutions against the war are a perfect expression of that strategy.

    These resolutions put them on record as being against the war without taking the responsibility for ending it.

    Unfortunately for the congressional Democrats, their left-wing supporters have taken the antiwar rhetoric of Pelosi, Murtha, et al., at face value and consider it a betrayal that they talk the talk but will not walk the walk.

    It has been painfully clear that Speaker Pelosi was serious only about scoring political points. Her big grin when she won a narrow vote for a non-binding resolution was grotesque against the background of a life-and-death issue.

    You don’t grin over a political ploy that you have pulled when men’s lives are at stake.

    It is not just congressional politicians who are so preoccupied with scoring points against the administration that they show no sign of concern for what the actual consequences of their words or actions will be for troops in the field, nations in the Middle East, or the global war on terror.

    Much of the media is similarly caught up in scoring points on Iraq. For example, the cover of the March 18th issue of the New York Times magazine section featured a story about women in the military who said that they had been raped in Iraq.

    A week later, they had to print a correction, after discovering that one of these women had not even been to Iraq. But any unsubstantiated charge against the American military rates headline coverage, even if there is no space for anything positive in Iraq.

    There is apparently no space even to assess the extent to which the increase of American troop strength in Iraq has reduced the deaths of our troops from terrorist attacks. Nor is there apparently much space to discuss the implications of the return of Iraqis from the less violent provinces to their homes in Baghdad.

    Indeed, there has apparently never been any space to discuss the fact that most provinces in Iraq have not had the levels of violence featured day in and day out in the media.

    The demagoguery of the Democrats has already put them in the position where a successful conclusion of the Iraq war before the 2008 elections can be a political disaster for them.

    If the recent increase in the number of troops in Iraq, and their freer hand in dealing with the terrorists there, reduces the level of violence enough to stabilize Iraq enough for American troops to start coming home before the 2008 elections, the Democrats will have lost their gamble.

    Only an American defeat in Iraq can ensure the Democrats’ political victory next year. Their only strategy is to sabotage the chances for a military victory in Iraq without being held responsible for a defeat.

    That is the corner that they have painted themselves into with their demagoguery that even their own supporters see through.

  9. peoplesgeography
    31 March, 2007

    Hi Jack,

    Thanks for sharing your friend’s article. I would be interested in further clarificaton by what Thomas Sowell refers to as “dangerous and lasting” consequences should Democrats pull the plug on funding the war (defunding is something Republicans like Ron Paul also advocate).

    My admittedly limited understanding—and I would welcome your comments and wish to learn more—is that the reasons the Congressional Democrats (Pelosicrats?) have not done so have more to do with pork-barrel politics than sabotaging the Republicans.

    Why would they — they both strike benefits! (I refer you to Rep Ron Paul, More Pork for More War; Aaron Glantz, Congressman Trades Iraq Vote for Spinach; and Miller, Blood and Pork: Funding more than war.

    The latter article in the Washington Post reports that:

    “Nearly half of the $21 billion that House Democrats added to President Bush’s request for emergency war funding would go to nonmilitary spending and to pork projects.

    The supplemental spending bill includes more than $3.7 billion in farm subsidies, $2.9 billion in additional Gulf Coast hurricane relief and $2.4 billion for social programs such as money for rural Northwest school districts, health insurance for poor children, energy assistance for poor families and others.

    It would seem that the Congressional Democrats have come to a compromise with the Bush administration. They have not acted upon calls for immediate troop withdrawal but nor have they apparently sabotaged Bush — I think that is a partisan appraisal and that it is a characteristic of partisan politics to be constantly critical of the other party and to point-score rather than this being a vice that somehow the Democrats solely hold!

    That’s the way it looks to me anyway, as an outsider looking in. I think that for the most part and with honorable exceptions, they’re both been but two branches of the War Party.

    I also respectfully object to the blanket characterisation of terrorists in the piece. These are Iraqis fighting for their country. Would Americans resisting an illegal, immoral and completely unwarranted invasion on their home soil be called “terrorists”?

    And again, it imbibes the erroneous language of defeat and winning. The US can not win in Iraq. Iraq can not “win” in Iraq. What sort of a victory is a million Iraqis dead, the country decimated, dignity torn to shreds, the educated leaving and thousands of Iraqis fleeing every day? There are no clear winners aside from the western war profiteers. War is a racket, and the pork-barreling just adds to it. Therefore I would disagree with what I see as a disingenuous assertion that: “Only an American defeat in Iraq can ensure the Democrats’ political victory next year. Their only strategy is to sabotage the chances for a military victory in Iraq without being held responsible for a defeat.”

    If political debate is still captive to these illusory loss-defeat win-loss terms, the partisan political point-scoring will continue. I daresay the article above is not a criticism of this as much as a participant. We have already lost in this war. The debate needs to shift into stabilizing the country and proposing viable alternatives to American occupation, methinks. JMO.

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"


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