Calling Obama’s & Clinton’s bluff: Stop the war NOW

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Another good idea undoubtedly doomed to fail, but worth the effort to try:

Military Families Speak Out is challenging U.S. Senators — starting with two named Obama and Clinton — to filibuster and stop President Bush’s request for more money for the Iraq war and occupation, another $102-billion.

Democrats aren’t even talking about saying no.

The Democrats’ plan appears to be to load up the bill with more domestic spending, rather than trying to stop the war spending. They want to add money for everything from storm-damaged national parks to local law enforcement grants to trying to use nuclear fusion to produce energy, CQ reports.

Instead of trying to stop the war, they’ve written Bush a letter, politely suggesting that he should change his strategy and plans.  Right. That’ll be happening any day now, no doubt.

Military Families Speak Out has a simple idea:  Stop the war by refusing to fund it.  That, you may recall, is how we finally got out of Vietnam.

They start by quoting Obama and Clinton, then ask them a simple question:

“Let me be clear: there is no military solution in Iraq, and there never was. The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year – now.” — Sen. Barack Obama, September 12, 2007

“Our message to the president is clear. It is time to begin ending this war — not next year, not next month — but today.” — Sen. Hillary Clinton, July 10, 2007

On the campaign trail, Senator Obama and Senator Clinton both say that the war in Iraq needs to end. Military Families Speak Out has one question for them: what are they doing now as sitting United States Senators, to bring our loved ones home from Iraq?

The petition is simple, too:  

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, you have both said that the time to begin ending the war in Iraq is now.  As sitting Senators, you have that power in your hands.   President Bush cannot spend a penny on the war without the approval of both houses of Congress.  

When the Senate takes up the next war funding bill, we call on you to lead a filibuster, refusing to stand down until your colleagues agree to vote against any bill that continues to fund the war in Iraq rather than funding the swift and safe return of our troops

And their call to action makes a point that some of us have been making for a long time:

Congress has the power to end the war in Iraq now. The President can’t spend a dime on this war without the approval of both houses of Congress.

A single act of bold leadership by Senator Clinton or Senator Obama could be instrumental in ending this war. When the Senate takes up the next war funding bill, either one of them could lead a filibuster, refusing to stand down until their colleagues agree to vote against any bill that provides funding to continue the war rather than funding specifically for the swift and safe return of all our troops from Iraq. They wouldn’t even need a majority of their colleagues to back them up — all they need is 40 Senators prepared to unite behind their leadership and block additional funding to continue the war from making it through the Senate.

The Senate Democrats’ excuse for inaction has been that it takes 60 votes to end a filibuster, so they have held some test votes, gotten less than 60, and moved on to the next topic.

It doesn’t take 60 votes to stop funding.  It takes 41.

Are there 40 Senators who would stand with an Obama or a Clinton — or maybe a Russ Feingold? — and refuse to cut off debate?

I’m afraid we know the answer.

Democrats will be too frightened that someone will claim they are “against the troops.”  If you’re “for the troops”, you leave them there to be killed and to kill more Iraqis.

Are Military Families Speak Out against the troops?  Hardly, since this is who they are:

Military Families Speak Out is an organization of people opposed to the war in Iraq who have relatives or loved ones currently in the military or who have served in the military since the buildup to the Iraq war in fall of 2002. Our membership currently includes over 3,700 military families, with new families joining daily.

I hope some Senator will stand up on this.  If nothing else, it would provide a good gut-check roll call that would tell us who really wants to end the war and who wants to posture about it.



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  1. and calling or emailing your own Senators.  

    • Mu on April 8, 2008 at 02:03

    Obama, Hillary, put your damn energy and rhetorical skills where your Senate seat is.

    Hear!  Hear!

    Mu . . .

    • TomP on April 8, 2008 at 02:19

    excellent diary.

    John Edwards, September 2007:

    “In light of Congress’ recent failures to pass bills requiring the president to withdraw our troops from Iraq, I repeat my call to Congress to remain focused and steadfast.

    “Congress has the power to stop this war through their Constitutional funding authority – and they should use it by tying any war funding bills to a firm deadline that would withdraw all American combat troops from Iraq.  For the sake of the brave men and women in our military, Congress must not cave to President Bush.

    Congress must use every instrument available to them, including a filibuster, to pass this bill with a timetable for withdrawal.

    And if the president vetoes that bill, Congress should send it to him again.  And they should do this as many times as it takes for the president to finally understand he cannot reject the will of the American people on this critical issue. Congress must continue to send the president the simple and clear message:  No timetable, no funding.  No excuses. ”

  2. Dear Senators,

    Keep spending on Iraq, and by all means keep America’s troops tied down in Iraq.  This will allow the rest of the world to defy American hegemony all the easier.  Better those troops stay in Iraq, with morale shredding, than they be used to invade Venezuela or Bolivia or some other nation that dares defy the “Washington Consensus.”

    And keep those printing presses going!  At this rate, inflation will destroy what’s left of the value of the US Dollar fairly soon, which will force a global economic crisis and bring forth the issue of the incompatibility of capitalist growth with ecosystem integrity faster than any of you can.

    Your strongest defense at this point is a bunch of phony rhetoric about why you can’t stop the war spending.  Since the military-industrial complex controls you, and the public at large doesn’t seem to care, your best friends are the lobbyists who pad your accounts.  Your best friend, today, is money.  Spend it right away!  Its value is likely to shrink soon, and after runaway global warming takes effect in a decade or so, the menu of worthy things to buy will be shrinking fast.

    Keep up the good work.

    Yours sincerely

    (your name)  

  3. Both candidates sure like to talk, but about that thing called walking…..

    as long as either continues to be afraid of being accused of republicans of “not supporting the troops” by eliminating funding, then they are just empty suits who will say anything.

    That said, whoever is the nominee, our work has only just begun.  We must for the sake of our troops and our country continue to push them, demand them to get us out of Iraq.

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