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Even Vermont's Senators Just Don't Get It

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Yesterday was a red-letter day in my email in-box. I heard from both of my U.S. senators, Pat Leahy and Bernie Sanders. Leahy was lamenting the cost of the Iraq occupation, and wishing that we weren’t spending so much. He was pleased to have entered a recent article by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes outlining the occupation’s true cost into the Congressional record.

     Sanders wrote to inform me that me must consider three trends when considering the nation’s budget: inequality of wealth, children in poverty and the growing debt. Below are two open letters to St. Patrick and St. Bernard.


Dear Senator Leahy,

 My question to you is; why aren't you doing anything about it? Your voice (and Bernie's) should be dominating the airwaves calling for an end to the occupation.  Instead of repeatedly caving in to the "President's" requests for funding, you should be leading filibuster efforts refusing one more nickel unless it's for withdrawal.

     Instead of being pleased with your efforts to nibble around the edges of Pentagon contractor fraud, or worrying about Harriet Meyers and whether you dare have her arrested for contempt, you should be going after the real villains from this crime scene: Bush/Cheney.

Your fine words are a cheap currency sir, better left to those of us who hold no power. You are in a position to do something about this administration that has lied us into war, has decided to use torture has spied on Americans, to mention just a few of their crimes. I don’t need to hear your lament; I want Congressional action.


Sincerely, Dan DeWalt

South Newfane VT


Dear Senator Sanders,

 You list three major trends that must be addressed to better our nation, but, incredibly, you don't even mention the two that are most significant: Iraq and the suspension of the rule of law and Constitutional adherence by the Bush/Cheney administration.

     You would like to garner a few billion dollars here and there by increasing taxes on millionaires (a fine idea), yet you say not one word about the occupation in Iraq, which costs more in one month than your tax plan will reap in a year. And how can see importance only in economic terms, when this occupation has degraded us morally, debased us in the eyes of the world, and helped to foster a new status of America as a pariah nation, embracing torture as an important "tool" of our foreign policy, and engaging in an illegal war of aggression?

     Equally incredible is your decision to blatantly ignore the flagrant violations of the Constitution and American law by the Bush/Cheney administration. The proud maxim once promulgated by our political leaders that we are a country of laws, not of men, has been disgracefully reduced to sniveling about getting a veto proof majority and the rule of law be damned.

     I admire your interest in economic justice. But putting your head in the sand about Iraq and the Constitution does nothing but make your objectives unattainable.

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Dan Dewalt is a musician/woodworker/teacher who authored the Newfane impeachment resolution passed at March 2006 town meetings.
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