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Submitted by Robert Naiman on 6 September 2013 - 2:39pm
We are within reach of doing something unprecedented: stopping a U.S. war before it starts by means of a Congressional vote. We have public opinion our side including a majority of Democrats, a majority of Republicans, and a majority of Independents. We have MoveOn, CREDO, VoteVets, and Win Without War, among many other groups, active on the left; meanwhile the Campaign for Liberty and Heritage Action are active on the right. ABC's whip count has 217 Members of the House as "oppose" or "likely to oppose."
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 26 August 2013 - 6:40pm
On Sunday, Republican Sen. Bob Corker and Rep. Eliot Engel - a Democrat who voted for the Iraq war - told Fox News that President Obama should strike Syria first and get Congressional approval afterwards.
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 22 August 2013 - 3:13pm
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 15 August 2013 - 12:49pm
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 19 July 2013 - 12:55pm
If you've been worn down by too much bad news into thinking that nothing good can ever happen in Washington, here's proof that it ain't so: "the biggest ever pro-Iran diplomacy letter from the Hill."
Days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the incoming Iranian president's plea for engagement with the United States and called for ratcheting up military pressure, a bipartisan letter circulating in the U.S. House of Representatives is urging President Obama to test Hassan Rohani's offer.
The letter, spearheaded by Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and David Price (D-N.C.), had garnered 118 signatures by Thursday afternoon, more than a quarter of the House. The bulk of the signatories are Democrats, but 15 Republicans have signed on as well.
With 200 Democrats in the House, that means that the majority of House Democrats signed the letter.
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 8 July 2013 - 11:58am
On Friday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that Venezuela would offer political asylum to NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Regardless of what happens next, President Maduro's announcement was world-historical. With his announcement, Maduro has invited Americans to live in a new world: a "multi-polar" world in which the U.S. government's power is limited, not by a single "superpower adversary," but by the actions of many independent countries which are not U.S. "adversaries"; countries which agree with the U.S. on some things and disagree with the U.S. on other things, as is their right; countries which do not always accede to U.S. demands, as is their right. The day after Snowden claims political asylum in Venezuela, the U.S. and Venezuela will continue their robust economic trade; in particular, Venezuela will continue to be one of the top four suppliers of foreign oil to the United States.
It's a general constant in human affairs that no-one likes to be told that they have too much power for the general welfare. Nonetheless, we're all capable, when we want, of seeing things from the other guy's point of view.
And from the point of view of most people in the world, it's not a good thing for the United States to have too much power in world affairs; from the point of view of most people in the world, it's not a good thing for any one country to have too much power in world affairs.
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 12 March 2013 - 7:28pm
As the war in Afghanistan is being wound down, there is less and less justification for having an account for "Overseas and Contingency Operations" separate from the base Pentagon budget.
1. War spending is predictable - as predictable as other spending - and is becoming more so. The main cost in OCO currently is deployment of thousands of U.S. troops to Afghanistan. It's possible for the Administration and Congress to plan for how many U.S. troops - if any - will be deployed to Afghanistan until 2014 and beyond, and the cost of this should be transparently accounted for.
2. There is no clear line that distinguishes "war costs" from costs in the base Pentagon budget.
3. The fact that there is no clear line that distinguishes war costs from costs in the base Pentagon budget, the fact that OCO was not capped by the Budget Control Act, and the fact that the initial outyear numbers for OCO have been fake, together have been an invitation for abuse. As the fake initial OCO numbers have been replaced by real numbers in recent years, defense appropriators have used the fake savings to protect the base Pentagon budget from agreed cuts by moving expenditures from the base Pentagon budget into the OCO budget.
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 11 March 2013 - 3:17pm
The New York Times editorial board has come a long way since its days of upholding the false dichotomy of sanctions versus war as the only options for US-Iran relations. It was less than two years ago that the Times published an editorial assessing the potential paths for addressing the US-Iran impasse—and completely neglected to mention diplomacy or negotiations.
But a Saturday editorial shows that the Times's vocabulary and outlook on the subject has since undergone a significant expansion:
If there is any hope for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear dispute with Iran, President Obama needs Congress to support negotiations. But negotiations and compromise are largely anathema in Washington, with many lawmakers insisting that any deal with Iran would be unacceptable — a stance that would make military action by Israel and the United States far more likely.
Not only did the editorial board recognize that "the best way to avert military conflict is by negotiating a credible, verifiable agreement," but it also slammed two new AIPAC-sponsored Congressional initiatives aimed at sabotaging negotiations. On Sens. Lindsay Graham and Robert Menendez's "backdoor to war" resolution, S. Res. 65, the Times wrote that
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 13 February 2013 - 11:57pm
Different Senate committees are supposed to do oversight of different federal agencies. The Senate Judiciary Committee is supposed to oversee the Department of Justice. The Senate Armed Services committee is supposed to do oversight of the Pentagon. And the Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to do oversight of the Central Intelligence Agency. Since the CIA is conducting drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and since this is, to say the least, a controversial policy, the Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to be doing oversight of that.
But contemplating the Senate Intelligence Committee's past oversight of the drone strike policy evokes the quote attributed to Gandhi when asked what he thought about Western civilization: "I think it would be a good idea."
Now that criticisms of the drone strike policy are getting some play in the press, people are floating ideas for various reforms. That's great! Let a hundred flowers bloom. But please call on me. I have an idea for a reform.
Why don't we ask the Senate Intelligence Committee to do its job of overseeing the CIA?
Now, you might think, that's a pretty arrogant claim, saying that the Senate Intelligence Committee has been asleep at the switch. Here, therefore, are three pieces of evidence for the claim.
Exhibit A: No public hearings.
Reporting on the Senate Intelligence Committee's confirmation hearing of John Brennan to head the CIA, Ken Dilanian of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the Senate Intelligence Committee
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 24 January 2013 - 12:31pm
France has launched a major military intervention in Mali. The U.S. is supporting the French intervention politically and to some extent, militarily. According to press reports in the Los Angeles Times ["Mali conflict exposes White House-Pentagon split," Jan. 18] and the Washington Post [“U.S. weighs military aid for France in Mali,”, Jan. 16], to what degree the U.S. should support the French intervention militarily has been a cause of dispute between the Pentagon and the White House, with the Pentagon advocating for greater U.S. military action and the White House resisting a direct role in combat.
To date, according to press reports, the U.S. has supported the French with intelligence, communications, and transportation, but has not decided to send armed drones to Mali; it has been reported that plans for sending armed drones were being reviewed [“U.S. weighs military aid for France in Mali,” Jan. 16].
If the Administration were to carry out drone strikes in Mali without Congressional authorization, that would have significant implications for Congressional war powers.