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General News    H4'ed 5/23/10

46 Congressional Candidates Oppose War Spending

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David Swanson
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Forty-six congressional candidates and 17 activist organizations released a statement on Monday opposing any more funding for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and inviting more candidates, incumbents, and organizations to sign on. The 46 candidates include 16 Libertarians, 15 Democrats, 14 Greens, 1 Independent, and thus far 0 Republicans (and more may be added to the website by the time you read this). Forty-two are candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, and four for the Senate. They do not all agree with each other on many topics, including their reasons for opposing war spending. But they all back this short statement:

"The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Americans over $1 trillion in direct costs, and over $3 trillion altogether. At a time when our national debt exceeds $13 trillion, we can no longer afford these wars. It's time for Congress to reject any funding except to bring all our troops safely home."

The Coalition Against War Spending ( http://warisacrime.org/caws ) has posted online a variety of divergent statements -- in text and video -- from signers elaborating on their reasons for opposing war spending. A wide ideological spectrum finds consensus around opposing more spending to continue or escalate the current wars. The coalition is inviting any congressional candidate, incumbent or challenger, and any national organization to join.

This announcement comes just as Congress is set to vote on whether to spend another $33.5 billion in an off-the-books "emergency" supplemental spending bill to escalate a war in Afghanistan that polls show a majority of Americans opposes.

One candidate who has joined the coalition is Tracy Emblem, a Democrat in California's 50th District (San Diego). Emblem said: "I support our troops. It's time to bring our troops home. The Iraq and Afghanistan 'wars' with thousands of civilian casualties have created more terrorists. Our brave troops have been killed and maimed and they are suffering from post traumatic stress. The military chemicals used are creating havoc on the environment and making our troops sick. Our priorities must change. We can no longer afford to blindly accept that these 'wars' are 'just' or 'necessary' when so many people are suffering the effects of prolonged wars. My neighbor, a Vietnam veteran, who loves and fought for our country has tied a yellow ribbon on his fence to bring our troops home. And I'm joining him. We must start a movement to bring our troops home now."

Another member of the Coalition Against War Spending is John Finger, a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate from Colorado. "Both of these wars are a waste of valuable life and resources," says Finger. "As a veteran, I'd be the first to stand up for a war which is worth fighting. But these wars are going nowhere: there's no mission, there's no measure of success, and we're sending our overburdened troops to die or be injured in wars which do not affect our own national security. It's time to bring our troops home now."

Some candidates suggest where they would prefer to spend $33.5 billion. Clint Curtis, a Democrat in California's 4th District, from which Green Party candidate Ben Emery has also signed on, is focused on jobs. "I would use the $33 billion to create new jobs," Curtis said. "This could be done by beginning to rebuild the roads and bridges that have fallen into disrepair after almost a decade of neglect. Education is in serious need of funding, as are many municipal services. Specifically to this district I would develop broad band throughout the district. Because the district is so vast (larger than Maryland) and mountainous, over 30% of the citizens can not access broadband."

Other candidates do not want $33.5 billion spent at all. Nick Coons, a Libertarian from Arizona's 5th District (Tempe / Scottsdale), said: "The funds being wasted overseas to 'promote democracy' should be given back to the taxpayers from which it was taken so they can use it as they see fit."

Roy Olson, a Green candidate from Washington's 9th District (Olympia) remarked: "I see our flag lowered to half-staff all too frequently. An economy based on perpetual war is hazardous to our health. I am the anti-war candidate and look forward to seeing our flag flying at the top of the flagpole."

Doug Marks, a Libertarian from Illinois' 14th District (Carpentersville) pushed for Congress to accept its responsibilities: "For far too long we have been bent on the Wilsonian path of 'making the world safe democracy'. This whole mentality is unconstitutional, financially devastating to our country, and destroys thousands of families annually. It is way past time to end these wars and bring our troops home. With this, we need to repeal the War Powers Act and force Congress to do the job they were elected to do: either formally declare war or bring all the troops home. After trillions of tax payer dollars and thousands of lives, who is any safer and how does this protect America?"

John Jay Myers, a Libertarian from Texas' 32nd District (Dallas) said simply: "There is nothing conservative about war."

Initial members of the Coalition Against War Spending (being added to at http://warisacrime.org/caws ) are:

Candidates for U.S. House of Representatives:
Nick Coons, AZ-05, Tempe/Scottsdale, Libertarian
Rebecca Schneider, AZ-06, Phoenix, Democrat
Carol Wolman, CA-01, northwest corner, Green
Clint Curtis CA-04, northeast corner, Democrat
Ben Emery CA-04, Nevada City, Green
Mark Williams, CA-12, San Carlos, Libertarian
Mary V. Larkin, CA-17, Monterey, Libertarian
Les Marsden, CA-19, Yosemite/Mariposa, Democrat
Randall Weissbuch, CA-26, Arcadia, Libertarian
Marcy Winograd, CA-36, Los Angeles, Democrat
William Hedrick, CA-44, Riverside/San Clemente, Democrat
Mike Paster, CA-49, Fallbrook, Libertarian
Tracy Emblem, CA-50, San Diego, Democrat
Michael Benoit, CA-52, San Diego, Libertarian
Gary Swing, CO-01, Denver, Green
G. Scott Deshefy, CT-02, New London, Green
Doug Tudor, FL-12, Riverview et al, Democrat
Marleine Bastien, FL-17, North Miami, Democrat
Regina Thomas, GA-12, Savannah, Democrat
Matt Reichel, IL-05, Chicago, Green
Bill Scheurer, IL-08, Lindenhurst, Green / Independent
Rodger Jennings, IL-12, Alton, Green
Doug Marks, IL-14, Carpentersville, Libertarian
Sheldon Schafer, IL-18, Peoria, Green
John Wayne Cunningham, IN-08, Terre Haute, Libertarian
James E. "Jim" Holbert, KY-05, London, Democrat
Peter White, MA-10, Cape Cod, Independent
Kevin Craig, MO-07, Springfield, Libertarian
Thomas Hill, NC-08, Fayetteville, Libertarian
Lon Cecil, NC-12, High Point, Libertarian
Jonathan Tasini, NY-15, New York City, Democrat
Emin Eddie Egriu, NY-28, Buffalo, Democrat
Ebert G. Beeman, PA-03, Lake Erie, Libertarian
Vernon Etzel, PA-05, Oil City, Libertarian
Ed Bortz, PA-14, Pittsburgh, Green
David Segal, RI-01, Democrat
Martin Nitschke, TX-23, El Paso to San Antonio, Libertarian
John Jay Myers, TX-32, Dallas, Libertarian
Claudia Wright, UT-02, Salt Lake City, Democrat
Ron Fisher, VA-08, Arlington, Independent Green/Progressive
Larry Kalb, WA-02, northwest corner, Democrat
Roy Olson, WA-09, Olympia, Green

Candidates for U.S. Senate:
Duane Roberts, CA, Green
John Finger, CO, Libertarian
Cecile Lawrence, NY, Green
Mel Packer, PA, Green

Backbone Campaign
CODE PINK: Women for Peace
Consumers for Peace
The Democratic Activist
Global Exchange
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Jobs for Afghans
Justice Through Music
Liberty Tree
Peace Majority Report
Progressive Democrats of America
Velvet Revolution
Veterans For Peace
Voters For Peace
War Criminals Watch

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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 http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
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