Funding a War to End It

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Funding the War to End It: Vietnam 1972, Iraq 2008
by Jack Random
If congress wanted to create an indelible impression of its departure from reality and common sense, they could not do better than this:  They are preparing to pass a war appropriation of $108 billion to express their unwavering opposition to the war. 
 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly plans to hold out for extended unemployment benefits by making war-funding contingent on unemployment funds.  Put in human terms, we will pay for a needless extension of a war that we cannot afford but at least we’ll keep the unemployment checks coming.  

Representative Barbara Lee of Oakland, California said it best:  “It just [doesn’t] make sense to force [us] to choose between providing food stamps for people who are hurting and need help during this terrible time and funding an occupation that people do not support.” 

JAZZMAN CHRONICLES: DISSEMINATE FREELY
 
Here’s an idea:  Pay for the direct and immediate withdrawal of all military personnel and equipment (not a penny for military installations, mercenaries or Fort Embassy) and deliver the savings to the infirm, the unemployed, the homeless and the wounded warriors coming home to a rude awakening:   All is not well in the homeland.  

We know how this game goes.  We’ve seen it before.  The house pushes for an antiwar amendment (a deadline, a guideline, a register of indignation), the White House vetoes or threatens veto and congress capitulates.  The president gets everything he wants and we get a sound bite from Lynn Woolsey.  

If Obama thought we were bitter before, check us now.  Where are the voices of the candidates on this matter?  Hiding in the shadows?  Regardless the house, the Senate will package war appropriations into a larger spending bill, allowing Clinton and Obama to defer.  

Come out and declare yourselves while it still matters!  There are eight more months of this administration: Plenty of time to beginning planning a withdrawal.  Do you want this war to end or not?  Will you stand before the American people and tell us why or why not?  

History will tell us we stand at the crossroads where Richard Nixon stood in 1972.  Like Lyndon Johnson before him, he knew the war was lost but he was willing to spend the nation’s treasure, tens of thousands of American lives and perhaps a million or more Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians so that history would not brand him the first president to lose a war.  As it turned out, he was both the first to lose a war and the first to resign from office in disgrace.  

Forty years later, is it any different?  Political insiders tell us the Democrats do not want to own the war but they are nevertheless willing to pay for it.  They don’t want to own the chaos and bloodshed that will follow our withdrawal but they are willing to watch the chaos and bloodshed with us in the center of it.  

Once again, this kind of equivocating (as if bartering the price of rice rather than weighing the lives of people and the costs of perpetual occupation) is what we might expect of Hillary Clinton but not of Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama.  

What will happen if we get out now?  The same thing that is happening now:  A struggle for power and resources until a balance is reached without the interference of an armed and profoundly biased mediator.  

What happened in Vietnam?  The same thing that would have happened had we got out in 1968 or 1972.  The same thing that would have happened had we stayed another twenty years.  From the cold distance of time, it worked out for the best.  

We cannot turn back the hand of time and we cannot pretend that it never happened.  We invaded a country for nefarious reasons and we are responsible for everything that follows.  We can posit the question: Would Iraq be better off under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein?  But we cannot erase the damage we have done or the suffering we have caused or give back the lives that have been lost to the gods of corporate greed and imperial ambition.  

We must find the wisdom to stand back and understand that from the cold, dispassionate distance of time, only the Iraqis can settle this account.  

From what we have already observed there will be more bloodshed.  There will be a period of terrible reckoning.  The Iraqi oil supply that we so coveted will be disrupted for a very long time.  

We will continue to pay for this disaster well beyond the last day of occupation but we cannot use this reality to justify prolonging the agony.  

We are staying in Iraq for one reason and one reason only:  Just as Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon prolonged the agony of Vietnam for fear of being the president that lost the war, George W. Bush fears the same.  He wants desperately to hand the baton to the man he defeated in the 2000 primaries.  If he succeeds, McCain will play Nixon to Bush’s Johnson.  

Just as Nixon expanded the war to Laos and Cambodia (helping to create the monster of the Khmer Rouge), McCain will expand the war to Iran and Syria.  

History also records that despite overwhelming evidence of failure congress did not find the strength to challenge the White House until after Watergate brought Gerald Ford to the Oval Office.  

How long will this congress wait?  How many lives will be lost in the interim?  How many more dollars that could be spent to fight global warming and famine will be thrown down the cesspool of destruction?

April marked the deadliest month for American soldiers in seven months.  

Jazz.  
 


JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES (CROW DOG PRESS) AND GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION (DRY BONES PRESS).  THE CHRONICLES HAVE BEEN POSTED ON NUMEROUS CITES OF THE WORLDWIDE WEB, INCLUDING THE ALBION MONITOR, BELLACIAO, BUZZLE, COUNTERPUNCH, DISSIDENT VOICE, THE DAILY SCARE, THE NATIONAL FREE PRESS AND PACIFIC FREE PRESS.  SEE WWW.JAZZMANCHRONICLES.BLOGSPOT.COM 

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