Now you'd think that the Democrats would kill that request on arrival. After all the people elected them to end the war. But no, they've painted themselves into a corner by only giving Bush until 08 to begin to withdrawing troops, but offering 124 billion instead of the already outrageous 93. You know that big tent the Dems always claim to have? Well in that big tent about a third of them are hawks, “blue dogs”, including Hillary Clinton (this week), Joe Leiberman, Rahm Emanuel, Steny Hoyer. Bottom line, they want this war to keep going. A major influence on them is AIPAC, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee…a benign name for the most powerful foreign policy lobby in Congress. AIPAC represents the right wing of the Israeli government, and is the most aggressively inclined toward Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon…you know the list. Israel, openly hated by these countries responds in kind. So what have we got? A lethal chokehold between two entities, who fuel their politics, their economies, their very lives by despising each other.
At the center of AIPAC's existence is that enmity. It feeds off it like a hyena off garbage and Congress' fear of crossing AIPAC is palpable. In addition to making huge contributions to campaigns, it is basically ruthless. It makes political careers (it kept Jesse Helms in office long after he was brain dead) and it breaks them (Cynthia McKinney is but one example.) At its recent summit conference attended by 6000 people it gave a standing ovation to Dick Cheney and John Boehner for wanting the war to continue and it booed Nancy Pelosi for wanting it to end.
AIPAC of course supports Bush's supplemental billions. We, the people, oppose it. However, if the supplemental money comes to a vote on the floor of the Congress next Thursday as scheduled, forget the people. It will pass, and the Iraq war may go on forever. In my opinion, there is only one thing left to do. Keep it from coming to the floor. I have written the following letter to Nancy Pelosi which I now share with you:
Since you've known me for over 30 years you already are aware that I am Jewish. Let me put this bluntly. AIPAC does not speak for me, any more than the MAFIA speaks for the majority of Italian Americans. To identify AIPAC, as “the Jewish community” is not only insulting, it is inaccurate. The majority of Jews are devoted to economic and social justice and, above all, a deep commitment to peace.
The supplemental of 93 billion dollars demanded by George W. Bush and AIPAC, if passed by the Congress, will guarantee that the war will go on indefinitely. You know that. We all know it. The only way to stop the supplemental is by never allowing the request to come to the floorfor a vote. Let us take a page from the Republican book. For six years, while they had the majority, they kept everything they didn't want to happen from coming to a vote. Amendments to the Patriot Act, Environmental safeguards, saving Medicare, benefits for our children and the poor…whatever helped the people but was inconvenient for Corporate America was choked off before it could breathe. Speaker Hastert and Senate leader Bill Frist, the Republican leaders, were great at that. Now we have you and Harry Reid, both Democrats. We know that it is up to the Speaker and the Senate President to decide what comes to the floor and what doesn't. What is keeping you from stopping it?
This supplemental if passed. will cost thousands, if not millions of lives. It can easily extend the war to the entire Middle East. Stop it now! If it does not come to the floor it cannot go forward. The war will have but one choice, the sane choice, and that is to end. It's up to you, Nancy Pelosi. Let it be a woman who brings peace despite the enormous pressure by the feint hearted around her to fall into the trap of more war. Show the world what true leadership looks like.”
That was my letter to Speaker of the House Nancy. Pelosi. She cannot know what we're thinking unless we tell her. And neither can the rest of our Congress people. If you feel inclined to write her a letter of your own or use this one, Email it to: American.firstname.lastname@example.org or FAX:202 225 4188. Or call the HOUSE at 202 225-3121.
In the end, the responsibility for our country's future is ours.