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Friday, December 08, 2006

The missionary

Truthdig interviews Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH):
Kucinich: People first of all need to know about this. People need to know that there is an attempt by our leadership to support the supplemental, and what the consequences are.... The most difficult part of the challenge is to get members of Congress to understand that they themselves voted for a bill which went into effect on Oct. 1 that appropriated $70 billion, which could be used to bring the troops home. Unfortunately, our leadership is saying they're supporting the supplemental as a way of supporting the troops. So if we continue to ignore the money that's there right now to bring the troops home, we're losing an opportunity to bring the troops home now. People are now saying that they oppose the war, but they're continuing to fund it in the name of supporting the troops.

They say they're not going to abandon the troops in the field. We're professing a strange love for these troops by keeping them there, because the money's there to bring them home. So this is going to shape up as a major discussion across this country. People are going to want to know why Democrats would not bring the troops home now, when the money is there now.

Truthdig: For me this is really disheartening, because I feel like I have been lied to, and the American people have been lied to, because the [Democratic] Party was so against extra funds for the war. It's almost like the party has done a bait-and-switch.

Kucinich: I think there's going to be a concern around the country that this does represent a bait-and-switch. I'm hopeful that this position will be reconsidered and that the Democrats will not vote to keep the war going. But at this point, if the Democrats go forward and support a supplemental which by some accounts is now rising to $160 billion, they'll be providing enough money to keep the war going through the end of George Bush’s term.

Now, this is a serious moment. I believe the public is largely unaware that this is happening, and I think a lot of people are going to be very surprised to learn that less than one month since this great realignment, that Democrats leaders, who came to power because of widespread opposition to the war in Iraq, are now saying that they will vote to continue funding the war.

Truthdig: Is there any hope to end the war now, and not go for this extra $160 billion in supplemental funds? Was there anything that happened in the room that gave you hope?

Kucinich: There's a type of thinking which equates staying in Iraq as demonstrating strength. There's a type of thinking which equates support for the supplemental with supporting the troops. This type of thinking is inherently flawed. It is circular in its nature. It will keep us in war. It will damn our troops to the horror of getting shot at from all sides. This is the time for Democrats to be uniting to exit from Iraq. And the exit door is already well lit with a sign that says $70 billion. If we support the troops, why in the world would we not use the money to bring them home, instead of spending more money to keep them in? Why would we, when we have money to bring them home right now, appropriate another $160 billion which would keep them there, possibly through the end of George Bush's term?
Now, I'm not sure where Dennis got the idea about the bait--very few Democrats ran on anti-war platforms. And this voting for supplementals has been going on for over three years. Remember John Kerry voted for one before voting against it? Well, most Dems have voted for all of them.

On election night, I turned on CNN for a few minutes. They had a panel of "experts" to tell us what we meant with our votes. James Carville and Paul Begala represented the Democrat's side. As the positive results for Dems came in, one of them said "I hope the Dems don't take this as an opportunity to defund the war." Aargh! But that basically is the Pelosi-Reid-Emanuel-Clinton position; keep the quagmire going, and we can run against it again in 2008.

When Kucinich was here in Ann Arbor a few years ago to speak, someone asked him why he was a Democrat, even though most of the rest of the party has exited stage right. He said "I'm a missionary." Unfortunately, the heathens like their wars too much for Dennis to convert them.

BTW, I wouldn't buy a used car from Rahm Emanuel--what a sleazeball. Read John Walsh's article from October to learn why the next supplemental will likely pass--the new Dems, hand-picked and funded by Emanuel, are not in favor of stopping the war any time soon.