Blog

3/5 of House Dems "Obsessed" with Afghan Withdrawal Timetable

"Obsession" isn't just "a fragrance for men." According to our Commander-in-Chief, "obsession" now also characterizes the widespread interest in the timeline for bringing home 100,000 American boys and girls safely from Afghanistan so they can grow old with their sweethearts and lead economically productive lives, rather than becoming Pentagon statistics or lifelong burdens on their family members and the public purse.

President Obama said there's "a lot of obsession" about the withdrawal date for U.S. troops from Afghanistan, AP reported Sunday.

This "obsession" has so afflicted the body politic that Thursday night, three-fifths of the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted for an amendment on the war supplemental that not only tried to lock in the July 2011 timetable for the beginning of the drawdown that President Obama promised last year, but also would have required the President to establish a timetable for the completion of the drawdown.

Are some of us "obsessed" with a withdrawal timetable for U.S. forces from Afghanistan? Damn straight we are. Advocacy of a withdrawal timetable is the principal means by which Americans outside of the military can act politically to protect the lives of our fellow citizens who are being deployed. Every day by which we can shorten the war is a day on which our fellow citizens won't have the opportunity to be blown up in Afghanistan.

And as for the people of Afghanistan, the withdrawal timetable is our ticket to freedom from having the same relationship with Pashtun residents of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan as the Israeli army has with Palestinian residents of Hebron in the southern West Bank.

McGovern, Obey Lead House Showdown on Afghanistan War

Tonight, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Pentagon's request for $33 billion for open-ended war and occupation in Afghanistan. While press reports suggest that when the dust settles, the Pentagon will have the war money, it's likely that a record number of Representatives will go on the record in opposition to open-ended war and occupation.

Representative Jim McGovern [D-MA] and Representative David Obey [D-WI] are expected to introduce an amendment on the war supplemental that would require President Obama to present Congress with a timetable for military redeployment from Afghanistan.

Ninety-eight Representatives have already signed their names to this policy, by co-sponsoring McGovern's bill, H.R. 5015.

In addition, the McGovern-Obey amendment would try to lock in the President's promise to begin a "significant withdrawal" of troops in July 2011 by requiring another vote on funding if the promise is not kept. The amendment also requires a new National Intelligence Estimate by January, which would hopefully have the effect of forcing the Administration's promised December review of the war policy to be real and its main conclusions public.

So far, the high-water mark for House opposition to the Administration's war policy in Afghanistan came in June 2009, when 138 Members voted for an amendment introduced by McGovern requiring the Pentagon to present Congress with an exit strategy. Among House Democrats, McGovern's June amendment had majority support by a margin of 131-114, a 53-47 split.

JFP 6/30: War Supplemental Expected Tomorrow; McGovern-Obey Amendment Would Force Timetable

Just Foreign Policy News
June 30, 2010

War Supplemental Expected in the House Thursday
Rep. McGovern said today he expects the vote on the war supplemental tomorrow.
Reps. McGovern and Obey have introduced an amendment that would require the President to establish a timetable for withdrawal (same idea as the Feingold-McGovern bill); the amendment would also try to lock in the summer 2011 "serious drawdown" that the President promised.

Background/More detail:
Speaker Pelosi, Put Afghanistan Drawdown On Record with McGovern-Obey
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/speaker-pelosi-put-afghan_b_630971.html

Please contact your Representative
, and ask him or her to 1) vote NO on the war money 2) vote YES on the McGovern-Obey amendment, requiring the President to establish a timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Call:
The Capitol Switchboard is 202-225-3121. Ask to be connected to your Representative's office. Try to get the Foreign Policy Legislative Assistant on the phone; tell whomever you get to speak with that you urge the Representative to vote NO on war funding and YES the McGovern-Obey amendment; try to get them to say how the Representative will vote; report back to us any result of your query at the following link:
http://noescalation.org/2010/05/05/withdrawal-timetable/

Email:
www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern

Peter Hart, FAIR: NYT's Larry Rohter Responds on His South of the Border Slam

Tags:

Speaker Pelosi, Put Afghanistan Drawdown On Record with McGovern-Obey

With the House poised to consider the Pentagon's request for $33 billion for more death in Afghanistan, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told the Huffington Post she expects a "serious drawdown" of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the summer of 2011. The House Rules Committee has now approved an amendment for consideration on the war supplemental that will allow Speaker Pelosi to "put her money where her mouth is."

Some folks in Washington who want the war and occupation in Afghanistan to continue indefinitely are trying to pretend there has been no commitment made for a significant drawdown, or indeed any drawdown at all, in the summer of 2011. Speaker Pelosi is in a unique position to weigh in on this question, since the House could put the drawdown in writing when it considers the war supplemental, by approving an amendment introduced by Representatives McGovern and Obey to try to lock in the drawdown.

In Jonathan Alter's book, The Promise, Vice-President Biden told us that we can "bet" on "a whole lot of people moving out" in July 2011. Under pressure, presumably from people in the Pentagon who want a "serious drawdown" in July 2011 to be hostage to "conditions," Biden's people have tried to walk back this statement by saying it was an "offhand comment" made as Biden was leaving an interview.

But if you actually read Alter's text, "offhand comment" is hard to swallow. Here's the paragraph:

 

JFP 6/28: War Vote Expected This Week; NYT Attacks "Border"

Just Foreign Policy News
June 28, 2010

NYT Attacks "Border" with False Rant of Pro-Coup Reporter
No reasonable person would have bet serious money that news editors at the New York Times would be huge fans of Oliver Stone's new documentary about South America, "South of the Border." But still, there are supposed to be rules for newspapers like the Times. On Friday, the Times ran an attack on Oliver Stone's documentary by Larry Rohter. Not only was the Times attack inaccurate, more importantly, the Times failed to acknowledge the bias of Larry Rohter in running the article. Rohter covered Venezuela for the Times during the period of the April 2002 coup, and during the coup, on April 12, 2002, Rohter wrote a piece for the Times claiming that the coup was not a coup, but a popular uprising. That should have disqualified Rohter from writing a piece on the film for publication by the Times. At the very least, the paper should have acknowledged Rohter's previous advocacy for the coup - and its own.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/nyt-attacks-border-with-f_b_627984.html

FAIR: NYT Reporter, Playing Film Critic, Pans Film About Himself
http://www.fair.org/blog/?p=14962

Stone, Weisbrot, Ali Respond to Attack From the New York Times' Larry Rohter
http://southoftheborderdoc.com/oliver-stone-responds-to-attack-from-the-new-york-times-larry-rohter/

Scheduled screenings:
http://southoftheborderdoc.com/in-theatres/

Tags:

NYT Attacks "Border" with False Rant of Pro-Coup Reporter

No reasonable person would have bet serious money that news editors at the New York Times would be huge fans of Oliver Stone's new documentary about South America, "South of the Border." A key point of the film is that mainstream US press coverage of South America in recent years has generally followed State Department priorities more than objective news standards. The New York Times comes in for specific criticism in the film, which notes that the paper editorially backed the short-lived US-backed coup against the democratically-elected government of Venezuela in 2002. (Key evidence on the U.S. role in the coup can be found here. After the coup collapsed, the Times half-apologized for its pro-coup editorial, as also noted in the film.)

But still, accepting that no-one likes to be criticized, there are supposed to be rules for newspapers like the Times. In an editorial, they can express any opinion they want. But news articles are supposed to be accurate, and if a reporter has a direct interest or bias in a situation, the paper should assign another reporter or at least disclose the interest or bias.

But on Friday, the New York Times ran an attack on Oliver Stone's documentary by Larry Rohter, an attack that claimed the film was full of inaccuracies. Not only was the New York Times attack itself inaccurate in its factual claims, as documented by Oliver Stone, Mark Weisbrot, and Tariq Ali in their response - do they have fact-checkers at the Times?

JFP 6/25: Pelosi "Committed" to War Funds Next Week; NYT Reveals "Plan B"

Just Foreign Policy News
June 25, 2010

Speaker Pelosi, More War Funding Next Week is No "Emergency"
Speaker Pelosi says she is committed to passing an emergency war supplemental before the July Fourth recess. But there is no "emergency" requiring the House to throw another $33 billion into bloody and pointless occupation of Afghanistan before we celebrate the anniversary of our Declaration of Independence from foreign occupation. Representatives McGovern and Obey have demanded answers on Afghanistan and teachers' jobs at home before voting on more money for war. If the House wants those answers, it has to be prepared to call the Pentagon's bluff.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/06/25-10

27 Congress Members Write to Secretary Clinton on Honduras
The Members express "concern regarding the grievous violations of human rights and the democratic order which commenced with the coup and continue to this day."
http://bit.ly/b22zzd

Stone's "Border" Shows Fall of South America's Berlin Wall
The failure of the Bush Administration's effort to overthrow President Chavez sent a new signal about the limits of the ability of the U.S. to thwart popular democracy in the region. Following the reversal of the coup, presidents were elected across South America promising to reverse the disastrous economic policies promoted by Washington. The story of this dramatic transformation has been largely untold in the U.S.. But today, Oliver Stone's new documentary, "South of the Border," opens in New York.
http://www.truth-out.org/stones-border-shows-fall-south-americas-berlin-wall60732

Tags:

Speaker Pelosi, More War Funding Next Week is No "Emergency"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is committed to passing an emergency war supplemental before the July Fourth recess, Roll Call reports.

Let us be perfectly clear, as President Obama might say. There is no "emergency" requiring the House to throw another $33 billion into our increasingly bloody and pointless occupation of Afghanistan before we all go off to celebrate the anniversary of our Declaration of Independence from foreign occupation.

This fact - that there is no emergency requiring an immediate appropriation - is absolutely critical, because the claim that there is some "emergency" requiring an immediate infusion of cash, otherwise there will be some new apocalyptic catastrophe, is the means by which the Pentagon and the White House hope to dodge two sets of questions about the war supplemental urgently being asked by Democratic leaders in the House.

Secretary Gates has complained that if the war money is not approved by July 4, the Pentagon might have to do "stupid things" like furlough civilian Pentagon employees. I am not in favor of furloughs, even of Pentagon employees (can we furlough someone who approves breaking into Afghans' homes in the middle of the night and killing pregnant women?), but as "stupid" goes, furloughing Pentagon employees doesn't hold a candle to laying off public school teachers, which is the likely consequence of allowing the Pentagon and the White House dodge their critics in the House.

The war funding proposal has been sitting in the inbox for six months. What kind of "emergency" is that? The $33 billion represents about five percent of the gargantuan Pentagon budget. The Pentagon can live with a little more delay, while we get answers to some urgent questions.

Tags:

JFP 6/24 - Gareth Porter: Petraeus Could Cut an Afghan Deal; Shimon Peres: Engage with Hamas

Just Foreign Policy News
June 24, 2010

Stone's "Border" Shows Fall of South America's Berlin Wall
In April 2002, a U.S.-backed coup against the democratically-elected government of Venezuela collapsed. The failure of the Bush Administration's effort to overthrow President Chavez was world-historical for South America because it sent a powerful new signal about the limits of the ability of the U.S. to thwart popular democracy in the region. Following the reversal of the coup, presidents were elected across South America promising to reverse the disastrous economic policies promoted by Washington. The story of this dramatic transformation has been largely untold in the U.S.. But on Friday, Oliver Stone's new documentary, "South of the Border," opens in New York.
http://www.truth-out.org/stones-border-shows-fall-south-americas-berlin-wall60732

Media Matters mp3: Bob McChesney talks with co-writer and JFP President Mark Weisbrot about "South of the Border"
http://will.uiuc.edu/media/mediamatters100620.mp3

Is "South of the Border" coming to your town?

http://southoftheborderdoc.com/in-theatres/

98 House Members are on the McGovern bill
98 Reps. have co-sponsored the McGovern bill, calling for a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan, 3 short of our goal of 101. Is your Representative among them?
http://noescalation.org/2010/05/05/withdrawal-timetable/
If not, ask your Rep. to co-sponsor:

Tags:

JFP 6/23: Stone's "Border" Shows Fall of South America's Berlin Wall

Just Foreign Policy News
June 23, 2010

Stone's "Border" Shows Fall of South America's Berlin Wall
On April 13, 2002, an event occurred in Venezuela which was as world-historical for South America as the fall of the Berlin Wall was for Eastern Europe: a U.S.-backed coup against the democratically-elected government of Venezuela collapsed. The failure of the Bush Administration's effort to overthrow President Chavez was world-historical for South America because it sent a powerful new signal about the limits of the ability of the United States to thwart popular democracy in the region. Following the reversal of the U.S.-backed coup, a succession of presidents were elected across South America promising to reverse the disastrous economic policies promoted by Washington. The story of this dramatic transformation has been largely untold in the United States. But on Friday, Oliver Stone's new documentary, "South of the Border" opens in New York.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/stones-border-shows-fall_b_622643.html

Media Matters mp3: Bob McChesney talks with co-writer and JFP President Mark Weisbrot about "South of the Border"
http://will.uiuc.edu/media/mediamatters100620.mp3

Is "South of the Border" coming to your town?

http://southoftheborderdoc.com/in-theatres/

Tom Andrews: 3 Things You Missed in Rolling Stone's McChrystal Profile

Tags: