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By John Isaacs, Council for a Livable World
There were mixed views on the Senate votes Tuesday on Iraq. Many saw the votes as a watershed in Congressional criticism of the President’s Iraq policies and a clear vote of no confidence.
Others, however, after reading the actual language, wonder what is the big deal, especially the Warner-Frist language that was adopted 79 – 19 with most Democrats and Republicans voting "aye."
The skeptics are confusing substance with symbolism.
It is true that the adopted language does not remove a single soldier from Iraq; set a timetable for withdrawal; or cut off funds. That is the reality of the substance.
From Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Contact: Mikael Moore (202)225-2201
Washington, DC - Today, twenty members of the 'Out of Iraq' Congressional Caucus held a press conference to announce the beginning of a drive to secure 218 signatures for a discharge petition on H J Res 55, a bill authored by Congressman Neil Abercrombie (HI) and Congressman Walter Jones (NC). If passed by Congress, H J Res 55 would require the President to begin bringing US soldiers home from Iraq.
Attending the press conference were Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congressman William Delahunt, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, Congressman Neil Abercrombie, Congressman Xavier Becerra, Congressman William Lacy Clay, Congressman Sam Farr, Congressman Barney Frank, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Congressman Jim McDermott, Congressman Jim McGovern, Congressman Major Owens, Congressman Jose Serrano, Congresswoman Hilda Solis, and Congresswoman Diane Watson.
For Immediate Release: October 25, 2005
Contact: Michael Mershon, (202) 225-6101
U.S. REP. JIM MCGOVERN TO INTRODUCE BILL ENDING FUNDING FOR IRAQ WAR
As the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq reaches 2,000, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) this week will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to deploy United States Armed Forces to Iraq. The bill will allow funds to be used for the safe and orderly withdrawal of our troops; for transitional security provided by other countries – including international organizations like NATO and the United Nations; and for continued support for Iraqi security forces and international forces in Iraq – as well as funding for reconstruction efforts.
From Congressman Jim McGovern
A War Begun with Lies and Deception
Requires that an Honorable Withdrawal Begin Now
Cosponsor H.R. 4232: The End the War in Iraq Act
I would like to bring to your attention the November 15th editorial by the New York Times that responds to the recent attacks by President Bush against critics of the war in Iraq. The United States is engaged in a war born out of deceit and lies - and it needs to be brought to an honorable end now. I urge you to join me as a cosponsor to H.R. 4232, the End the War in Iraq Act.
H.R. 4232 would end all funding for the deployment of U.S. troops in Iraq, but it would provide the defense funding needed to ensure a safe and orderly withdrawal of our uniformed men and women from Iraq. It would also provide defense funds to finance and equip the Iraqi security forces and for the consultation with other governments and international organizations - such as NATO and the United Nations - to create and deploy a transitional, international security force to provide for Iraqi security as the U.S. withdraws. Under H.R. 4232, the United States could also provide financial support and equipment to this international security force(s).
Reid snaps back at Cheney on Senate floor
LINK TO ORIGINAL
Washington, DC – Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid gave the following speech on the Senate Floor tonight.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Tonight the Vice President has come out of his bunker and is speaking at a gathering of Washington DC insiders, which is closed to the press.
“Unfortunately, he brought his bunker mentality with him. He is repeating the same tired attacks we’ve heard from administration officials over the last two weeks.
By Congresswoman Waters
Washington, DC - Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35), Chair and Founder of the 'Out of Iraq' Congressional Caucus, announced that the 'Out of Iraq' Caucus has filed a discharge petition on H J Res 55, authored by Congressman Neil Abercrombie (HI-1) and Congressman Walter Jones (NC-3). If passed by Congress, H J Res 55 would require the President to begin bringing US troops home from Iraq.
A discharge petition is a House rule that permits members to bring to the floor for consideration a measure not reported from committee if 218 members sign the petition. The discharge petition, as drafted, provides 17 hours of debate and permits consideration of any germane amendments including amendments that would move up the date at which US troops would begin to return home. The discharge petition, which was filed on November 9th, takes seven legislative days to ripen.
GOP senator hits Bush for attacking war critics; Hints Congress endorsing another Vietnam by staying silent
Filed by RAW STORY
Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a Vietnam veteran and critic of Bush policy on Iraq, excoriated the Administration Tuesday in a speech to Council on Foreign Relations Tuesday, RAW STORY has learned.
Hagel blasted the Administration for going after Iraq war critics and turning the war into a political cause.
"The Iraq war should not be debated in the United States on a partisan political platform," the Nebraska senator remarked. "This debases our country, trivializes the seriousness of war and cheapens the service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. War is not a Republican or Democrat issue. The casualties of war are from both parties. The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years. The Democrats have an obligation to challenge in a serious and responsible manner, offering solutions and alternatives to the Administration’s policies."
The following is the Original Letter by the Senate Select Committee on Intellegence to Senator Frist. Phase two is still being stonewalled and supressed by the majority party.
Thank you Think Progress.org for posting this letter.
"U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East"
by U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel
November 15th, 2005 - Delivered at the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, DC - Last year, I wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine that "a wise foreign policy recognizes that U.S. leadership is determined as much by our commitment to principle as by our exercise of power." For decades, the strength of U.S. leadership has brought together allies in common cause, addressing common challenges with common action. In February 2003, three weeks before the U.S. invaded Iraq, I said in a speech at Kansas State University:
Reid Statement on Iraq
LINK TO ORIGINAL
Washington, DC - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid delivered the following statement at a press conference today following the Senate's vote on Iraq amendments.
“Let me tell you the President’s strategy in Iraq - no plan and no end in sight. Our troops deserve better. That’s why Democrats forced Republicans to admit that “staying the course
Contact: John Isaacs (202) 543-4100 x.131
Washington, D.C. . . Council for a Livable World hailed today’s Senate votes on the Iraq war as an important milestone in a war that has now dragged on for two and a half years.
Today’s votes were the first in the Senate on the Iraq war since the October 2002 authorization to use force, and they marked a clear repudiation of President Bush’s “stay the course
Senators Reach Gitmo Detainees Compromise
By LIZ SIDOTI
The Associated Press
Monday, November 14, 2005; 10:26 PM
LINK TO ORIGINAL
WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of senators reached a compromise Monday that would allow detainees at Guantanamo Bay to appeal the rulings of military tribunals to the federal courts.
Under the agreement, detainees who receive a punishment of 10 years in prison to death would receive an automatic appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Lesser sentences would not receive automatic review, but detainees still could petition the court to hear their cases.
Kerry Takes Bush to Task on his Veteran’s Day Speech
LINK TO ORIGINAL
John Kerry took Bush to task on his Veteran’s Day Speech, on the Senate Floor today. In a fiery rhetoric, Kerry blasted Bush today, on the lies he spewed in his speech, last Friday —from the rush to war based based on faulty intelligence data, to the spin Bush put on Kerry’s own statements, John Kerry pinned Bush on the carpet.
The following is the text of John Kerry’s Floor Statement:
MR. PRESIDENT, Veterans Day is sacred - or it is supposed to be. Veterans Day is a day to honor veterans, not to play attack politics. The President, who is Commander in Chief, should know and respect this.
Reid Throws Down Democrats' Iraq Demands
by Hoffmania, Daily Kos
Mon Nov 14, 2005 at 02:28:28 PM PDT
LINK TO ORIGINAL
[Title revised for accuracy]
Senate Minority (Until 2006, anyway) Leader Harry Reid and Sens. Carl Levin and Dick Durbin held a press conference unveiling the Democratic plan for resolving Bush's Iraq shitstorm. Hey - SOMEONE had to come up with a friggin' plan...
Oh, this is good. This is VERY good. It paints Bush as a totally immature whining boob with no vision - and paints the Dems as the can-do truth tellers we've always been. We LIKE this, we LIKE this. And it's SOMETHING - which counters the White House's NOTHING.
By georgia10, dailykos
Bush calls me, a war critic, "irresponsible" and says I'm helping the terrorists and emboldening the enemy and doing everything short of strapping explosives to my chest. It may be the Johnnie Walker talking, but that still hurts.
I was sans computer for about five days, and come back to reality only to see that the punk ass president has resurfaced with the tired talking points and, on a side note, some of the tightest spandex I've seen in a while.
Pre-emptive striking didn't work in Iraq War, and it sure as hell won't work in the war of public opinion.
See, Bush is kicking up all this dust against the peace-lovin'-pinko-commie-koolaid-resistant masses in an effort to cloud the fact that it's just about deadline time, and the shit is about to hit the fan.
By Senator Russ Feingold, dailykos
On Veteran's Day, the President gave yet another speech trying to defend his Iraq policy. He uttered over 5800 words, but not once did he provide the American people any timeframe for our military mission in Iraq or any sense that he has a plan for bringing that mission to a successful end. Instead, he used the same platitudes and empty rhetoric that the American people have already made clear they don't buy. Rather than putting his efforts into a major media spin operation, the President should concentrate on getting our Iraq policy straight, and putting our nation's national security on track.
Reid Outlines Way Forward in Iraq, Previews Democrats Iraq Amendment
Washington, D.C. - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid delivered the following remarks at a press conference today with Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin and Senator Carl Levin.
"Our troops deserve a strategy in Iraq that is worthy of their sacrifice. That is why, for three years, Democrats have pushed the White House to lay out a plan for success.
"Unfortunately, the President has rejected our call, and instead, insisted America needs to "stay the course." With more than 2,050 Americans killed... more than $250 billion spent... and no end in sight after three years of war -- "staying the course" is no longer an option.
By John Isaacs, Council for a Livable World
On Monday, the Senate will debate two amendments related to troop withdrawal from Iraq, (analysis and text below), and vote on those amendments Tuesday:
Warner (R-VA) - Frist (R-TN) amendment No. 2518 on Iraq, which is based on the Levin amendment No. 2519 with some differences
Levin (D-MI) amendment No. 2519 on Iraq
The Senate votes on Iraq are significant:
They will be the first Senate votes on troop withdrawal (see texts below).
This is the first time Senate Democrats have been willing to offer an Iraq amendment for a vote, and Republicans are to a considerable degree saying “me too.
Because every bill to investigate war lies or end the war is killed in committee, leaders of the Out of Iraq Caucus are seeking to collect the signatures of a majority of Congress Members on a discharge petition, which would force a real and open debate of the war onto the floor of the House. The discharge petition is using H.J.Res. 55 as a vehicle, but once the debate begins, the content of any other bill can be offered as an amendment.
Congressman Howard Berman is now claiming, through his staff, that he would have voted for H Res 505 last week, but that he couldn't make it back to DC from California in time. H Res 505 was a Resolution of Inquiry into the White House Iraq Group, and it lost by two votes after picking up two Republican supporters. Two Democrats, Berman and Congressman Faleomalvaega, failed to show up and vote. Other Congress Members from California did make it to the vote on time.
By Patrick Condon, Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Minn. -- For better or worse, Coleen Rowley the candidate for Congress sounds a lot like Coleen Rowley the FBI whistleblower.
The former FBI agent who scathingly exposed the bureau's failure to uncover the Sept. 11 plot is running for a House seat in Minnesota in 2006 as a Democrat, and she is employing her fearlessly blunt style on the campaign trail.
"This was a lied-into war that is a quagmire now," the 50-year-old Rowley recently told a group of rural Democrats in a garage in this small town south of the Twin Cities. "It could be worse than Vietnam. The truth is we can't win, and there's still an ongoing deception."
By Clara Gutteridge, http://www.end-unlawful-imprisonment.org.uk
On Thursday 10th of November the US Senate passed an amendment to the Defence Appropriations Bill introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham
This amendment would strip all those designated by the US Administration as enemy combatants of the right to seek Habeas Review in Federal Courts. It would also limit judicial inquiry at Guantanamo to the US Military’s compliance with its own regulations relating to the bogus legal category of "enemy combatants".
Not only is this Bill an unconstitutional usurpation of US judicial authority by Congress, it also presents serious problems for other States seeking to protect the rights of their own citizens. Whilst the current focus is on detainees at Guantanamo, the provision extends to anyone designated by the US Military as an "enemy combatant". The US is in the process of passing a Bill which could deny rights of Habeas Relief for a British Citizen held abroad.
Statement of Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Bush's speech on Iraq and the war on terror.
"On this Veterans Day, the President had the opportunity to honor our troops, both those who have served and those who are currently serving, by laying out a clear strategy for success in the war in Iraq. Instead, the President resorted to his old playbook of discredited rhetoric about the war on terror and political attacks as his own political fortunes and credibility diminish.
"Attacking those patriotic Americans who have raised serious questions about the case the Bush Administration made to take our country to war does not provide us a plan for success that will bring our troops home. Americans seek the truth about how the nation committed our troops to war because the decision to go to war is too serious to be entered into under faulty pretenses. While the Bush administration continues to stonewall the Congress from finding the truth about the manipulation of prewar intelligence, Democrats will continue to press for a full airing of the facts. We stand with our troops when we ask the hard questions, and with their families when we fight to get them, their families and our veterans the benefits they deserve.
By Congresswoman Barbara Lee
(Washington, DC) – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) issued the following statement today after 25 Republican Members of the House International Relations Committee denied a bipartisan effort to obtain documents and communications from the White House Iraq Group (WHIG):
“Yet again the Republican majority in the House has thwarted the will of the majority of Americans who are demanding answers about the war in Iraq. And yet again, the American people have been denied a fair and open debate around the extent to which the Bush administration misled the nation and the world in making its case for war against Iraq.
By Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) led 61 bipartisan Congressional Colleagues in sending a letter to President Bush today calling for U.S. policy in Iraq to change course by engaging in greater multilateral cooperation with our allies; pursuing diplomatic/non-military initiatives; preparing for a robust post-conflict reconciliation process; and withdrawing the U.S. Armed Forces.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey was the first Member of Congress to call for U.S. troops to return from Iraq and has led a series of important activities aimed at ending the war:
Senate Asks Pentagon to Probe Feith Role on Iraq
Washington - The Pentagon's inspector general has been asked to investigate the prewar intelligence role of a planning office headed by former US defense policy chief Douglas Feith, a main architect of the Iraq war, officials said on Tuesday.
The request was made by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in a letter sent in August.
It said the Defense Department should determine whether Feith and his Office of Special Plans wielded excessive influence over intelligence that claimed Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.
From Marty Walsh, Campaign Manager, Kennedy for Senate 2006
Public pressure is mounting on President Bush to come clean about the case he made for war in Iraq. Last week's special Senate session -- where Harry Reid put the spotlight on the Senate's stalled investigation of pre-war intelligence -- wouldn't have succeeded without the broad-based skepticism growing among Americans about integrity in the White House.
The long-due concern sweeping through this country is a direct result of communities like ours. Our activism spreads the truth Americans need to know. Many times, I'm left to think: If we don't, who will?
H Res 505, introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich to require the Bush administration to turn over all documents relating to the White House Iraq Group, failed to be reported out of the House International Relations Committee on a 23-25 vote this morning.
H Res 505, which was co-sponsored by 104 House members, picked up two Republican votes from Rep. Jim Leach and Rep. Ron Paul. Two Democratic committee members failed to appear for the vote: Rep. Eni Faleomavaega of American Samoa and Rep. Howard Berman of California's 28th district.
Please contact the following House members to thank them for their extremely hard work on this resolution:
Please ALSO contact the two Democrats on the committee who failed even to show up for the vote, and ask why this happened:
TEXT OF H RES 505:
By Steve Cobble, Huffington Post
The Republican majority on the House International Relations Committee today again refused to investigate its own party. Barely.
With a 4-member advantage on the IR committee over the Democrats, the GOP managed to hang on to a 25 to 23 vote win, defeating H.Res. 505, Rep. Dennis Kucinich's attempt to actually investigate the secret activities of the WHIG, his Resolution of Inquiry (ROI) to look into the White House Iraq Group.
More than 100 House Democrats joined Kucinich in cosponsoring this resolution, even before it never made it to the floor!
Only 2 Republicans stood up for finding out the truth--Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Paul, who seems to be an extremely rare species, an honest conservative who is angry about the lies that took us to war, even had the decency to publicly compliment Kucinich for being consistent by not just investigating the war now but also opposing it beforehand.
November 9 , 2005
The Honorable Christopher Shays
Subcommittee on National Security,
Emerging Threats, and International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Chairman:
I understand that you intend to hold a private briefing for members of the Government Reform Committee with Iraq Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi on Thursday, November 10, at 10:00 a.m., to discuss Iraq’s reconstruction and political future. I agree that Mr. Chalabi should come before the Committee, but he should do so at a public hearing where he appears under oath to answer questions about his role in providing false intelligence to the United States, as well as the topics you propose.