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What Are You Waiting For, Democrats?

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The incoming Democratic leaders have big plans for the "First Hundred Hours" of the new Congress, which include raising the minimum wage, changes to the Medicare prescription drug program, cutting student loan rates, and ethics reform. All these actions are admirable and long overdue, but what about Iraq (where another 10-12 Americans will die during that first 100 hours of the new Congress)? So, while the Democrats are decorating their new offices, a few more Americans will die in Iraq. Then, during the months of much-anticipated Congressional hearings and investigations of the Bush Administration, many more soldiers and Marines will die for no other reason than we failed to bring them home. From polls, taken before and after the 2006 Election, it is clear that one of the primary reasons that the Democratic Party now controls both houses of Congress is that the American people want them to Stop the War and Bring the Troops Home. President Bush has responded in typical Bush fashion. He not only refuses to bring the troops home, he is proposing a surge in the number of troops in Iraq--a tactic that was tried in Baghdad this past summer and resulted in the highest casualty counts since the Pentagon began issuing quarterly reports in 2005. (The official announcement of this plan has been delayed until someone can think up a plausible explanation for Bush's continued insanity) . - "As one senior military official put it today, '[Bush's planned surge of troops will] be like throwing kerosene on a fire'." --NBC Nightly News, 12/21/06 If that were not bad enough: - "... the Bush Administration has repeatedly asserted the right to initiate further attacks beyond Iraq without Congressional approval. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently testified that the President could attack Syria or Iran without any authorization from Congress." --The Nation, 1/23/06 This is why Congress must act immediately. If they don't realize by now that this lunatic is capable of starting another war just to replenish his "political capital", they have not been paying attention the past six years. Congress needs to start now, by stripping Bush of the powers and authorities that they foolishly granted him in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001. If Bush were a teenage driver, somebody would have taken the car keys away from him a long time ago. Congress needs to sit the boy down and read him the rules of the road. - "The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure." --George Washington, Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and our First U.S. President - "War...should only be declared by the authority of the people...instead of the government which is to reap its fruits." --James Madison, 4th U.S. President and primary author of the U.S. Constitution That is what Congress should do. Unfortunately, after being handed control of Congress by the voters, the Democratic leadership now seems to be hesitant to do what they were elected to do. When incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was asked if the Democrats were willing to use ""the power of the purse to cut funding for the war in Iraq", she responded "Not really" (CNN's Late edition, 11/12/06). When Wolf Blitzer pressed her further about this, she stressed the importance of "oversight." The new Senate Majority Leader, "Give 'em Hell" Harry Reid sounded just pitiful: - "Democrats will not try to play the strongest hand they have -- using Congress's power of the purse to starve the war effort of money and force the president to move." --The Washington Post, 11/15/06 Yeah, that sounds like a great idea--don't even try to play your strongest hand. But we don't need to worry; the Democrats have a plan. They are going to Stop the War and Bring the Troops Home with bipartisan "cooperation" and "vigorous oversight": - "You can expect Democratic-led committees, in many cases in cooperation with the Republican leadership at the committee level, to have some vigorous oversight until there is some consensus on what to do on Iraq." --David Dumke, former legislative director for Representative John D. Dingell(D-MI), who is expected to head the Energy and Commerce Committee, The Boston Globe, 11/11/06 What part of Stop the War and Bring the Troops Home do these people not understand? How many months or years of committee meetings, contemplation and deliberation will it take before they arrive at the decision that it is time to Stop the War and Bring the Troops Home! Right now, the Democrats have the momentum of the election and millions of Americans ready to back their move against Bush and his war. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found only 21 percent of Americans wanted Bush to set the policy, while 59 percent wanted the incoming Democratic-led Congress to do so (Reuters, 12/14/06). - "Support for sending additional troops to Iraq is at 11% (CNN) or 12% (LA Times). Opposition to the war is at 67% (CNN), and 54% want all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2007 (CNN). U.S. voters want the war to end. A "troop surge" is a betrayal of the voters, as is maintaining current troop levels." --David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org. 12/20/06 So, what are they waiting for? The time for talking is over. Bush is not going to change his mind. He is deaf to the voice of the American people. He has dismissed the recommendations of the Baker /Hamilton Commission; and now he is even ignoring the advice of our military leaders. George W. Bush is not going to voluntarily end his war and bring the troops home. Congress is going to have to stop it for him, and prevent him from starting another one. So, please take a few minutes to write or call your representatives and let them know that you will support their efforts to Stop the War and Bring the Troops Home. Urge them to use every Constitutional power available to them in this confrontation with the Bush Administration--including the power of the purse and impeachment, if necessary. They must do whatever it takes. This is a matter of life and death. - "[The next two years] will tell if the Democrats are going to rescue the nation from a deepening war in Iraq, or whether we are going to permit the administration to carry the war through the end of [Bush's] term.... You can't simultaneously say you oppose the war and vote for the funding, and you can't maintain [that] this is for the troops in the field when the money is there now to bring the troops home. So the moment of truth is fast approaching." --Senator Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), in an interview for A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion, 12/4/06 Let's make 2007 remembered as the year that We The People took back our country, rather than the year that George W. Bush started WWIII.

 

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Mick Youther is an American citizen, an independent voter, a veteran, a parent, a Christian, a scientist, a writer, and all-around nice guy who has been aroused from a comfortable apathy by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.
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