I am on a quest for integrity in Washington this week. The Democratic leadership plan to continue the war in Iraq by supporting yet another appropriations bill that is likely to go to the floor early next year granting an estimated $160 BILLION, the largest appropriation so far for the Iraq war. You can read my comments in an interview with Truthdig yesterday.
There is $70 billion already in the pipeline that can be used to bring the troops home.
There is only one way to end the war in Iraq Â- by cutting off funds. In October this year, $70 billion was appropriated for FY 2007; the $160 billion supplement will take the budget for the war in 2007 to $230 billion. 2006 saw $117 billion spent on the war, 2007 will be almost double. This will expand war, increase the violence, send more troops to the region, and push our nation into even further indebtedness.
Already over 18% of our tax dollars goes to service the interest on our national debt and 28% to the annual military budget (not including wars in Afghanistan and Iraq), whilst only 2% goes on housing and 0.3% on job training. (See tax chart.)
Last week I published a series of articles on the web which analyze the responsibilities of congress, the Campbell v Clinton case, of which I was part, which rules that appropriating funds is implied consent for the war (i.e., voting for appropriations = voting in favor of the war), looks at the voting record in the House and Senate, and puts forth a plan for US withdrawal and UN handover. Click here to read the articles.
Yesterday the Iraq Study Group issued their Iraq report, which I read in full last night and spoke about on the floor of the house today.
The report cites how 500,000 barrels of oil are being stolen per day in Iraq. That is $11.3 billion worth per year. This is interesting, since the Ministry of Oil was the first place our troops were sent after the invasion of Iraq and we now have 140,000 troops there.
How can we expect the end of the Iraq war and national reconciliation in Iraq, while we advocate that Iraq's oil wealth by handled by private oil companies?
It is ironic that this report comes at the exact time the Interior Department's Inspector General says that oil companies are cheating the US out of billions of dollars, while the Administration looks the other way.
Is it possible that Secretary Baker has a conflict of interest, which should have precluded him from co-chairing a study group whose final report promotes privatization of Iraq oil assets, given his ties to the oil industry? Is it possible that our troops are dying for the profits of private oil companies?
What kind of logic is it that says we need to appropriate $230 billion in a single financial year? The largest appropriation for the war in Iraq? The money is there to bring the troops home now.
A defective logic has invaded Capitol Hill. Democrats won the election because the American people want to end the war in Iraq, yet members feel they can say they oppose the war in Iraq while at the same time support an appropriation of $160 billion. They say the appropriation is to "support the troops," yet will result in keeping them in Iraq for another two years.
We must work together to transform this destructive thinking.
I need your help.
Please contact your member of congress and the Democratic leadership, urging them to vote NO on the appropriations bill next year. An appropriation of $160 billion is enough to keep us in Iraq for another two years. In Government Oversight Committee hearings, I have personally questioned military officials, who state clearly that this war cannot be won militarily.
Would you buy a used war from this administration?
There is $70 billion already in the pipeline that can be used to bring the troops home and implement a real plan for stability in the region.
Dennis J Kucinich