Saturday, March 13, 2010

The anti-Afghanistan war resolution in the House

From: Miya Iwataki
Subject: Fwd: The anti-Afghanistan war resolution in the House

>>> David Monkawa <> 3/11/2010 2:08 PM >>>

Gives a picture of current congressional developments re the war. A
resolution by Kucinich, being skewered by liberals in the media are because
of his opposition to the healthcare bill. The anti-war resolution got 65
votes, including many in the Progressive Caucus, but not all of them, full
list below. How the CA delegation voted is interesting. Judy Chu, Maxine,
Diane Watson vopting with Kucinich, others like Mike Honda voting against.

Five Republicans Back Kucinich, but Antiwar Vote Loses
Thursday 11 March 2010
by: Jason Leopold and Yana Kunichoff, t r u t h o u t | Report

A resolution introduced in the House Wednesday, aimed at bringing a swift
end to the war in Afghanistan, was overwhelmingly defeated following a
passionate, three-hour debate on war policy.

But it was a measure that had Republican support, which has eluded Democrats
during their efforts to pass a health care bill.

Since the US invaded the country nearly nine years ago, lawmakers have not
had a formal opportunity to debate the war. The measure, H. Con Res 248, was
introduced by prominent antiwar Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who
has been harshly critical of the Obama administration's decision to escalate
the war in Afghanistan.

"The military escalation cements the path of the United States down the road
of previous occupiers that earned Afghanistan its nickname as the 'graveyard
of empires,'" Kucinich said on the House floor.
Democratic leaders agreed to allow the debate and vote on the resolution to
give lawmakers who are opposed to the war an opportunity to verbalize their
frustration about the war, which has cost taxpayers nearly $260 billion, has
claimed the lives of more than 1,000 US soldiers, wounded thousands more and
has also led to the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Afghan
civilians. Next month, Congress is expected to approve the White House's $33
billion emergency supplemental request to fund Obama's Afghanistan troop

"There are many members in the caucus who are eager to have a vote soon on
Afghanistan," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said last month,
after Kucinich proposed the measure. "This may satisfy that need."

As expected, the resolution was defeated by a vote of 356 to 65. Only 60
Democrats along with five Republicans supported it. It called upon Obama to
end the war within 30 days or by the end of the year if the former proved to
be unsafe.

The resolution invoked the War Powers Act of 1973, specifically Section 5
(c), which says, "at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in
hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and
territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory
authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress
so directs by concurrent resolution."

The War Powers Act was passed by Congress as a way of protesting the
escalation of the Vietnam War by several presidents who did not first seek
authorization from Congress. The Act says Congressional approval must be
obtained if a president sends soldiers to the battlefield for more than 90
days. Lawmakers passed a resolution after 9/11 authorizing George W. Bush to
invade Afghanistan, the legality of which has been called into question by
many activists and even some lawmakers.

"This war is an illegal war, this war is an immoral war, this war is an
unconstitutional war, there is no real purpose to this: the Taliban did not
attack us on 9-11," Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said on the House floor.
"Immediately the concerns were shifted on remaking the middle east. The
majority of Americans still believe that Sadddam Hussein had something to do
with 9-11 ... We need to defend our country and not pretend to be the
policeman of the world."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-New York), who chairs a House Judiciary subcommittee,
said it's "simply not justifiable to sacrifice more lives and more money on
this war."

"Today, our presence in Afghanistan has become counterproductive, fueling
the rising insurgency and emboldening those who oppose foreign intervention
or occupation of any kind," Nadler added. "We are bogged down amidst a
longstanding civil war between feuding Afghans of differing tribes, classes
and regions, whose goals have little to do with our own.

"Rebuilding Afghanistan is beyond both our capability, and our mandate to
prevent terrorists from attacking the United States," Nadler added. "I
believe that a short and definitive timetable for withdrawing our troops is
the only way to minimize further loss of life and to refocus our efforts
more directly at the terrorists themselves."

But Rep. Howard Berman (D-California) countered Nadler's argument, asserting
that if the US withdrew its soldiers from Afghanistan it would amount to a
"national security disaster."

Although Berman conceded that if the the US remains "in Afghanistan there is
no guarantee we will prevail in our fight," he said the Afghanistan war is
decidedly different than the war being waged in Iraq, now approaching its
seventh anniversary, because it was launched in direct response to "those
who attacked us" on 9/11.

"I was here during the frenzied debate when Congress authorized the use of
force against those responsible for the horrors of the day, and I was here
for the vote a year later to authorize military force against Iraq. Please
don't conflate the two ... I do believe this strategy of the President
deserves support."

That's the same flawed rationale President Obama used last December when he
announced his highly anticipated revised Afghanistan war strategy at the US
Military Academy at West Point. Obama repeatedly invoked 9/11 as a way of
justifying his plan to escalate the war.

"We did not ask for this fight," Obama said. "On September 11, 2001,
nineteen men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000
people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took
the lives of innocent men, women and children without regard to their faith
or race or station. Were it not for the heroic actions of the passengers on
board one of those flights, they could have also struck at one of the great
symbols of our democracy in Washington, and killed many more.
"As we know, these men belonged to al Qaeda - a group of extremists who have
distorted and defiled Islam, one of the world's great religions, to justify
the slaughter of innocents ..."

Obama's revised strategy called for the rapid deployment of 30,000
additional US troops to the region by the summer, bringing the total number
of soldiers in Afghanistan to 100,000. Each newly deployed soldier will cost
taxpayers $1 million. Obama waited months before announcing his decision to
deploy more troops and did so despite dire warnings from US Ambassador Karl
Eikenberry, who, in two separate, top-secret cables he sent to
administration officials last November, said sending additional troops would
be a grave mistake.

Eikenberry also said corruption in the government of Afghanistan President
Hamid Karzai was rampant and showed no signs of dissipating.

Last month, the Washington Post reported that a "blizzard of bank notes" has
been "flying out of Afghanistan - often in full view of customs officers at
the Kabul airport - as part of a cash exodus that is confounding U.S.
officials and raising concerns about the money's origin."

"At a time when the United States and its allies are spending billions of
dollars to prop up the fragile government of President Hamid Karzai, the
volume of the outflow has stirred concerns that funds have been diverted
from aid," the Post reported. "The US Drug Enforcement Administration, for
its part, is trying to figure out whether some of the money comes from
Afghanistan's thriving opium trade. And officials in neighboring Pakistan
think that at least some of the cash leaving Kabul has been smuggled
overland from Pakistan."

Kucinich said this was just one example of why the US needs to withdraw
"Nearly 1000 U.S. soldiers have died. And for what? Hundreds of billions
spent. And for what? To make Afghanistan safe for crooks, drug dealers and
crony capitalism?" Kucinich said.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-California), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive
Caucus, said withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan does not mean "ending
American support."
"It would be completely irresponsible of us to wash our hands of
Afghanistan," she said. "There is too much humanitarian work to be done
there, we need a humanitarian surge . . . let's bring the troops home, let's
replace them with more development workers, democracy promotion

Rep. Bob Filner (D-California) pointed out what lawmakers in both parties
have refused to discuss each time they agree on a new round of spending to
keep the war raging: the enormous mental toll the war has had on soldiers,
many of who are on their third and fourth deployment, and are afflicted with
combat related wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or
traumatic brain injury.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have also led to a skyrocketing number of
suicides among veterans of the conflicts, which the Department of Veterans
Affairs have been notoriously slow to respond to.

Last November, a disturbing study released by the Army Mental Health
Advisory Team found that an increasing number of soldiers serving in
Afghanistan suffering from some type of mental health related injury and
"significantly lower morale" compared with previous years due to an uptick
in violence and multiple deployments.

The Mental Health Advisory Team surveyed 638 Soldiers from 27 maneuver
platoons and 744 Soldiers from 25 support or sustainment platoons.

"About 14 percent of the Soldiers surveyed met screening criteria for
psychological problems, which is similar to the findings of the 2007
assessment in Afghanistan," the study concluded. "Soldiers with three or
more deployments had higher rates of psychological problems and marital
problems. The team also found barriers to behavioral-health care were higher
than in previous years."

Remarkably, there are only 40 mental health care professionals in
Afghanistan and about 68,000 US soldiers currently deployed there, thousands
of whom are on their second, third and, in some cases, fourth deployment.

The advisory team recommended "increasing the number of behavioral-health
personnel in [Afghanistan] and maintaining a low ratio as troop numbers
surge, and appointing a senior theater-wide behavioral-health consultant and
noncommissioned officer."

The Army wants to have at least one mental health care professional in place
for every 700 soldiers.

"These are our children, they come home with these unseen wounds, these
silent wounds," Filner said. "They may kill themselves from the demons that
they got from this war, a third of those who have been diagnosed with PTSD
committed felonies in this nation. These kids did not come home to kill
their spouses or their children, they were so wounded but they were not
taken care of by our people who sent them there ... It is time to take care
of them, it is time to bring them home, let's support the resolution on the

"War is hard, but I've got news for you," Filner added, "Peace is harder"

111th Congress
House Vote On Passage: H. Con. Res. 248: Directing the President, pursuant
to section 5(c) of...
Number:House Vote #98 in 2010 [primary source:]
Date:Mar 10, 2010 6:22PM
Result: Failed
Bill:H. Con. Res. 248: Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of
the War Powers Resolution,...

Totals Democrats Republicans Independents All Votes

Not Voting:9(2%)

Required: Simple Majority of 421 votes (=211 votes)
(Vacancies in Congress will affect vote totals.)

More information: (go to for projection
and national voting results. -Ed)
Standard Projection


NayCA-1Thompson, C. [D]
NayCA-2Herger, Walter [R]
NayCA-3Lungren, Daniel [R]
NayCA-4McClintock, Tom [R]
NayCA-5Matsui, Doris [D]
YeaCA-6Woolsey, Lynn [D]
YeaCA-7Miller, George [D]
YeaCA-9Lee, Barbara [D]
NayCA-10Garamendi, John [D]
NayCA-11McNerney, Jerry [D]
YeaCA-12Speier, Jackie [D]
YeaCA-13Stark, Fortney [D]
NayCA-14Eshoo, Anna [D]
NayCA-15Honda, Michael [D]
NayCA-16Lofgren, Zoe [D]
YeaCA-17Farr, Sam [D]
NayCA-18Cardoza, Dennis [D]
NayCA-19Radanovich, George [R]
NayCA-20Costa, Jim [D]
NayCA-21Nunes, Devin [R]
NayCA-22McCarthy, Kevin [R]
NayCA-23Capps, Lois [D]
NayCA-24Gallegly, Elton [R]
NayCA-25McKeon, Howard [R]
NayCA-26Dreier, David [R]
NayCA-27Sherman, Brad [D]
NayCA-28Berman, Howard [D]
NayCA-29Schiff, Adam [D]
NayCA-30Waxman, Henry [D]
NayCA-31Becerra, Xavier [D]
YeaCA-32Chu, Judy [D]
YeaCA-33Watson, Diane [D]
NayCA-34Roybal-Allard, Lucille [D]
YeaCA-35Waters, Maxine [D]
NayCA-36Harman, Jane [D]
YeaCA-37Richardson, Laura [D]
YeaCA-38Napolitano, Grace [D]
YeaCA-39Sanchez, Linda [D]
NayCA-40Royce, Edward [R]
NayCA-41Lewis, Jerry [R]
NayCA-42Miller, Gary [R]
NayCA-43Baca, Joe [D]
NayCA-44Calvert, Ken [R]
NayCA-45Bono Mack, Mary [R]
NayCA-46Rohrabacher, Dana [R]
YeaCA-47Sanchez, Loretta [D]
YeaCA-48Campbell, John [R]
NayCA-49Issa, Darrell [R]
NayCA-50Bilbray, Brian [R]
YeaCA-51Filner, Bob [D]
NayCA-52Hunter, Duncan [R]
NayCA-53Davis, Susan [D]

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