Monday, April 7, 2008

Calling Obama's & Clinton's bluff; stop the war NOW

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.