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Black Caucus on Libya War: The Good, the Confused, and the Hopeless

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"These 24 members of a caucus that claims to be the "conscience of the Congress" will sign any check and authorize any amount of killings."

When the crunch came on June 24, only six members of the Congressional Black Caucus showed themselves to be of any use whatsoever to humanity and the cause of peace. We shall call them The Good. These three ladies and three gentlemen voted both to cut off funds to President Obama's war against Libya -- which he bizarrely insists is not really a war -- and to directly withhold congressional authorization for that war, authority Obama claims he does not need.

Obama's bombers won the fight over funding, 238 to 189, with only 36 Democrats willing to pull the money plug on the Nobel Peace Prize-winning warmonger. Six of those Democrats comprise the fraction of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) that is worth a damn:

The Good

John Conyers, Jr. (MI); Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL); Barbara Lee (CA); Laura Richardson (CA); Bobby Scott (VA); Maxine Waters (CA)

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Thirty-one CBC members opted to allow Obama to continue spending on the Libyan operation, which will have cost $1 billion by September. Three failed to vote at all.

Obama's defeat came on the question of barring the U.S. military from taking part in the NATO assault on Libya. By a vote of 295 to 123, the U.S. House withheld authorization for the war. On the losing side, 115 Democrats, including 24 Blacks, gave Obama their assent to U.S. participation in NATO's bombing, whether he claims to need it or not.

As was logical, all six CBC members who voted to cut off funds to Obama's Libya war ("The Good") also opted to pull U.S. forces out of the NATO operation. They were joined by eight CBC members who had supported giving Obama all the money he needs to bomb Libya, but also wanted to withdraw congressional authorization for the war. The eight vote-splitters could be described as schizophrenic -- throwing money at a war that they want to pull out of. We will call them:

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The Confused

Sanford Bishop (GA); Andre Carson (IN); Yvette Clarke (NY); Hansen Clarke (MI); William Lacy; Clay (MO); Danny Davis (IL); John Lewis (GA); Gwen Moore (WI)

With a total of 14 CBC members withholding authorization for Obama's North African war (6 "Good" -- 8 Confused"), that leaves 24 members who have absolutely no redeeming political value. When it comes to an undeclared (actually, fiercely denied) war against an African country that has done nothing to harm the United States, these 24 members of a caucus that claims to be the "conscience of the Congress" will sign any check and authorize any amount of killings. It is far too kind to call them:

The Hopeless

Karen Bass (CA); Corrine Brown (FL); Emanuel Cleaver (MO); James Clyburn (SC); Elijah Cummings (MD); Donna Edwards (MD); Keith Ellison (MN); Chaka Fattah (PA); Marcia Fudge (OH); Al Green (TX); Alcee Hastings (FL); Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Hank Johnson (GA); Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX); Gregory Meeks (NY); Donald Payne (NJ); Cedric Richmond (LA); Charles Rangel (NY); Bobby Rush (IL); David Scott (GA); Terri Sewell (AL); Bennie Thompson (MS); Mel Watt (NC); Frederica Wilson (FL)

G.K. Butterfield (NC) and Edolphus Towns (NY) did not take part in either vote. Call them Irrelevant and Hopeless.

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In the Black Caucus of the 112th Congress, there are more Confused members (8) than Good (6), and The Good are outnumbered four to one by The Hopeless (24). The authoritative Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, reports that Democratic and Republican "whips" didn't enforce discipline in the party ranks on either of the June 24 votes, which would indicate that members were guided in their votes by their own moral and intellectual imperatives -- a depressing thought, given that peace lost by wide margins in the Black Caucus.

Among The Hopeless is the small slice of the CBC that talks and behaves very much like their white nationalist colleagues. For example, David Scott, the bankers' representative from Atlanta, said he didn't want to "pull out the rug" from under NATO. Keith Ellison's argument is far more dangerous because it purports to have a moral -- and even pro-African -- underpinning. The Minneapolis congressman's spiel is also perfectly aligned with the ravenous "humanitarian" interventionist hawks of the Obama administration, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and adviser Samantha Power. Ellison explained:

"I voted against two resolutions concerning U.S. involvement in Libya because they would have limited our ability to respond to humanitarian emergencies.

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Glen Ford is aveteran of Black radio, television, print and Internet news and commentary. He is executive editor of BlackAgendaReport.com and was co-founder of BlackCommentator.com.

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