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tend to think of war as resulting from an excess of aggression or
disorderliness or rebellion. Western academics hunt in the genes of
foreigners and study chimpanzees to find the root of the nastiness.
one would be hard press to count the number of people who have lost
their lives to an excess of cowardice in the halls of the United States
Congress. "This chamber reeks of blood," said Senator George McGovern,
who would have been shocked anew this week.
On Constitution Day,
the House of Representatives -- followed the next day by the Senate --
decided to put off until after the next U.S. elections in November any
possible consideration of the new U.S. war already underway in Iraq and
Syria, but voted in the meantime to approve of shipping weapons over to
Syria to fuel the violence.
Here's a website that tells you how your Representative and Senators voted and lets you send them an appropriate message with one click.
Congressman Jim McDermott, who voted No: "This amendment, which is
valid only through early December, serves as nothing more than a faux
authorization designed to get Congress through the election season.
Moreover, it addresses only one aspect of the strategy the President
outlined last week. That is not a responsible way to conduct public
So, the President announced a three-year war, based on
no timetable anyone has produced other than that of U.S. presidential
elections. And Congress declared that it would consider looking into the
matter after the next Congressional election. But it's not as if we
don't all know that they are allowing the war to go on and worsen each
and every day. Numerous Congress members denounce
Congress for what they themselves call a shameful act of cowardice. But
which of them are protesting their "leadership"? Which of them are
moving a discharge petition to force a vote? Which of them are using the
War Powers Resolution to compel a vote regardless of what the
Back on the 25th of July the House
overwhelmingly passed the McGovern-Jones-Lee resolution which required
the President to seek Congressional authorization before sending troops
to Iraq. The President went ahead and ignored that. Will Congress cut
off the funding? Censure? Impeach? Nope. Congress voted to approve
weapons and training for Syrians who are closely allied with the forces
Obama is already waging an air and ground war against in Iraq.
Senator Tim Kaine had been leading the charge to demand that Congress
vote before any new war. (As noted, the House did, and the Senate did
not follow suit.) Now Kaine says a discussion of that following the U.S.
Congressional elections will be sufficient. Until then, the United
States will fuel the violence on both sides of a complex war, while
repeating incessantly "There is no military solution" and deploying the
military and military weaponry in a counterproductive effort to find a
Remarked Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who voted No on
weapons to Syria: "The consequences of this vote will be a further
expansion of a war currently taking place and our further involvement in
a sectarian war. . . . What is missing from this debate is the
political, economic, diplomatic and regionally-led solutions that will
ultimately be the tools for security in the region and for any potential
future threats to the United States."
Also missing was an organized opposition. Republicans voted yes and
no, as did Democrats, as did the so-called Progressive Caucus, as did
the Black Caucus. These people need to hear the message that cowardice
is not a campaign strategy. They must be confronted with the demand that
they stop this war, just as they were a year ago, when scary ISIS
videos weren't manipulating Americans into once again doing the bidding
of terrorists who gain strength from U.S. attacks. A year ago we spoke
up. We confronted Congress members at town hall meetings. We stopped
Now they've literally cut and run. They're taking a two-month
vacation in order to pretend they have nothing to do with the escalating
violence. They need to hear from us in person. But we can start by sending them a note to let them know what we think.
Remember, their duty is not to vote approval for a new war, which
will then somehow make everything OK. Their duty is to uphold the
Kellogg-Briand Pact, the U.N. Charter, the wisdom of most of the world,
the lessons of the past decade, and basic common decency by stopping the
David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)