Posted by CODEPINK Staff
Final vote: 60 ayes, 356 nays, 10 or so "Present" (abstaining).
Kucinich was the MC/lead speaker for his own privileged resolution. He spoke in 3 or 4 minute bursts amidst the short statements, for and against the resolution, by other members of the House. Congressman Berman of North Hollywood divvied up the opposition duties with Florida congressmember Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Berman disgusted me. So two-faced and doing the dirty work which the Repubs should have had to do by themselves.
Here's his contact info:
2221 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-0528
Phone: (202) 225-4695
Republican Rep. Duncan of Nebraska: "There is nothing conservative about this war... Fiscal conservatives should be the most horrified..."
Woolsey, talking about a recent statement by SecDef Gates on not being too optimistic about Afghanistan: Don't worry... "I can't muster optimism... over 8 and 1/2 years... over 1000 US troops killed... Afghan govt shows a new low for corruption and incompetence... The Afghan people have always resisted occupation..." She talked about her SMART Security plan http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/30008.html (without mentioning bill number; here's link to PDF for what she introduced in the last session of Congress: http://woolsey.house.gov/SupportingFiles/documents/HRes_227_-_SMART_110th.pdf).
Except for Kucinich, Grayson (D-FL) was my favorite speaker of the afternoon: "We won the war in Afghanistan... I may be the only person who remembers this [that the Taliban govt and Al-Qaeda were expelled from power after a few months of fighting] ... can't even call Iraq and Afghanistan 'wars'... they're occupations!" He cited some percentage (I think it was 13%) of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who have permanent brain damage [because of being near or in explosions]... President Obama is condemning young Americans to brain damage. The worst things that happen to our country are things we do to ourselves."
Right after Grayson, a former combat Marine (2 tours in Iraq and 1 tour in Afghanistan), Hunter from So Cal, went on and on about "still being a Marine" and ended with this: "Did I enjoy being deployed?! Did I enjoy leaving steak?!"
Intersting choice of sacrifices to highlight.
Civil rights leader John Lewis (D-GA) spoke like an old-time Baptist preacher: "Now is the time for those of us who believe in peace to speak up, speak out! Find a way to get in the way. War will always sacrifice the truth, bury the truth." He quoted Eisenhower's famous "theft" remark.
Donna Edwards, an elegant, eloquent African-American congresswoman from Maryland: "Send a message to the White House that this war must come to an end... goals have morphed and morphed and morphed." She talked about corruption and inter-tribal violence in Afghanistan. "Terrorism flourishes in about 70 countries" -- so why all this emphasis on Afghanistan?
Barbara Lee, for obvious reasons, got the honor of speaking last before Kucinich. "No just accounting" has taken place of the costs of both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Authorization to Use Military Force [in Sept 2001, which Lee alone opposed] "was a blank check." Twice she cried out: "Where does this end?!" The estimated final costs of both Iraq and Afghanistan: a staggering 7 TRILLION DOLLARS.
Kucinich was brilliant and passionate, the best I'veheard him for a long time. He had prepared numerous arguments which he interspersed throughout the debate, including:
-- Congress' responsibilities under the War Powers Act of 1973 [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Powers_Resolution and http://www.thecre.com/fedlaw/legal22/warpow.htm];
-- "crony capitalism" in Afghanistan and "corruption is epidemic"; vote fraud in the last election and Karzai taking over the control of the election board;
-- US troop deaths (held up a big poster from the NY Times more than once with photos of soldiers/marines killed in combat);
-- civilian casualties and air strikes, including drones;
-- most importantly, I thought, information about the proposed/lusted after Afghanistan/Pakistan pipeline, which would bring oil and natural gas from Uzbekistan (NOTE: a horrific dictatorship led by a man who literally has people boiled in food oil) and from Turkmenistan (a nutty dictatorship) through Afghanistan and Pakistan to an Indian Ocean port. This pipeline is a key part of a strategy that goes back at least to Brzezinski ('member him? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zbigniew_Brzezinski) as the so-called "Grand Chessboard," to control the resources of the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Kucinich cited an article by Craig Murray [for background on this antitorture former ambassador: http://www.consortiumnews.com/2009/102409b.html] at least twice, in which Murray sets out the argument that Karzai was chosen for his pipeline-specific experience working for Unocal as "our man" in Afghanistan. US troop deployments in Afghanistan correspond to the proposed pipeline route in Helmand and Kandahar provinces.
Much more needs to be said and done about this particular piece. Well, our congressmembers have been forced to go on the record.
Onward, shaking off the disgust as ducks shake off water!