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Why Hayden's Wrong, Why Pelosi's Lying

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Tom Hayden wants peace, but he's sincerely mistaken about how to get it. He claims that Wednesday's unsuccessful vote to end the war in Afghanistan makes ending the war less likely, and that the way to end the war is to pass a bill that would then have to pass the Senate and the President, a bill requiring an exit strategy, any exit strategy -- it could be "redeployment" to Iran in 2038 or anything else.

I'm not against moving bills forward, even meaningless bills if they send a helpful message. I'm not against ending the war in a way that leaves the president in charge of Congress, if that proves the fastest way to end the war -- even though it leaves us in a state in which more wars are inevitable. I don't think we're especially likely to force the House to cut off the funding next month.

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But forcing a debate on the war, and forcing congress members to put their names down on one side or the other, does not make those members more likely to stick with those positions. It makes them more likely to oppose the wars. Why? Because it raises public awareness and public pressure. Those who voted to end the war are now being thanked and rewarded and pressured to vote no on funding what they just claimed to want to end. Those who voted to keep the war in Afghanistan going are now being pressured to change that position in a way that they were not when all was silent. Hayden, of all people, is leaving the public out of his calculations.

If we are handed an opportunity to -- at least temporarily -- block the funding, because all the Republicans vote No for some unrelated reason, we will need to seize that opportunity. It will increase the same dynamic of public involvement. It will advance a strategy that is one of the most likely to eventually end the wars. And it will advance an understanding of power dynamics in Washington that will discourage wars by shifting war powers back away from presidents, something that will also be needed in the coming months if we are to end the war in Iraq that too many people naively believe we've already ended.

Those who think that opposing wars should involve, you know, opposing wars, should build on the recent debate and vote, by joining in upcoming actions including:
Brown Bag Vigils, and
Peace of the Action.

Pelosi does not sincerely want anything substantive and tends to lie whenever her lips move. And here's what she says about war and impeachment:

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Pelosi: The issue that " bothers me the most is the issue of the Iraq War. There's so much evidence that there was no reason for us to go into that war at that time or to go into it period. But to think that thousands of lives have been lost, lives affected to the tune of hundreds of thousands, the cost in terms of our military readiness it has not made our military stronger, in terms of dollars to the treasury, but again most of all loss of lives our precious treasure on this war and there was really no price to pay for it so . . .

Maddow: Do you regret having taken impeachment off the table?

Pelosi: No, no, I believe that the if there was evidence, if we could have the evidence to impeach the president then that could come forward. Just because I say it's off doesn't mean if the evidence is there that something wouldn't go forward. It's not a question of not knowing where the culpability is, it's what you can demonstrate and what you can prove. But I do think that those who had a hand in perpetrating not just going to war but misrepresentations to the American people - . Every piece of evidence that we have points to the fact that there was no reason in terms of weapons of mass destruction to go into Iraq". It's one of the great tragedies.

So it is. And truly tragic as well is the brazenness of it. Pelosi's poodle, John Conyers, who backed off impeachment at her command, offered a wide and varying and self-contradictory list of excuses why, but never present among those excuses was any claim of lacking evidence. Conyers' committee staff spent most of the relevant years publishing books documenting the evidence. His excuses were about electoral campaigns and the corporate media and the likelihood of winning conviction in the Senate.

The level of mendacity in Pelosi's remarks above, her dedication to obeying the president (articulated just prior to what I've quoted), and her allegiance to the war machine: this is what we are up against. We will not defeat it without a massive public movement. We will not generate a massive public movement if we are afraid of raising the issue, pressing our demands forward, naming names, and rewarding and punishing elected officials as merited. This is a life and death struggle, brothers and sisters, and it's not going to be won through fear, stealth, or timidity.

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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 and and works for the online (more...)

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