On June 15, Rep. Ron Paul gave the following speech in opposition to the Democrats’ new $106 Billion war funding bill, after it was sent back to the House from the conference committee. (The bill passed Tuesday evening.):
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this conference report on the War Supplemental Appropriations. I wonder what happened to all of my colleagues who said they were opposed to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wonder what happened to my colleagues who voted with me as I opposed every war supplemental request under the previous administration. It seems, with very few exceptions, they have changed their position on the war now that the White House has changed hands. I find this troubling. As I have said while opposing previous war funding requests, a vote to fund the war is a vote in favor of the war. Congress exercises its constitutional prerogatives through the power of the purse.
This conference report, being a Washington-style compromise, reflects one thing Congress agrees on: spending money we do not have. So this â€œcompromiseâ€ bill spends 15 percent more than the president requested, which is $9 billion more than in the original House bill and $14.6 billion more than the original Senate version. Included in this final version — in addition to the $106 billion to continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — is a $108 billion loan guarantee to the International Monetary Fund, allowing that destructive organization to continue spending taxpayer money to prop up corrupt elites and promote harmful economic policies overseas.
As Americans struggle through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, this emergency supplemental appropriations bill sends billions of dollars overseas as foreign aid. Included in this appropriation is $660 million for Gaza, $555 million for Israel, $310 million for Egypt, $300 million for Jordan, and $420 million for Mexico. Some $889 million will be sent to the United Nations for â€œpeacekeepingâ€ missions. Almost one billion dollars will be sent overseas to address the global financial crisis outside our borders and nearly $8 billion will be spent to address a â€œpotential pandemic flu.â€
Mr. Speaker, I continue to believe that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home from Iraq and Afghanistan. If one looks at the original authorization for the use of force in Afghanistan, it is clear that the ongoing and expanding nation-building mission there has nothing to do with our goal of capturing and bringing to justice those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan does not make us safer at home, but in fact it undermines our national security. I urge my colleagues to defeat this reckless conference report.
Antiwar.com contributor Neil Kitson will have his day in court in Vancouver Monday. Kitson is seeking information on prisoners taken by Canadian troops in Afghanistan. His requests have thus far been denied.
The hearing is open to the public. For details, check out Neil’s blog.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says — and he should know — there is no difference between the policy of “absolute support” for Israel between Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Obama’s own spokesman Robert Gibbs affirmed that, as under Bush, “all options remain on the table” with regard to Iran.
A recent executive order from the new president allows the CIA to continue to operate its “safe houses” — possibly a torture loophole.
Even President Obama’s massive stimulus plan continues the print-and-spend insanity preferred by the former administration.
And depending on whom you ask, Obama might want to ramp up military activity in Afghanistan — one area where Bush’s policy wasn’t quite forceful enough for the new president.
Don’t forget Obama’s new Homeland Security appointment of a “cybercrimes expert” as general counsel. You know, instead of abolishing Bush’s gargantuan Homeland Security bureaucracy altogether.
So aside from closing GuantÃ¡namo Bay in an extremely literal sense — after all, many of the detainees will remain such — what “change” have we witnessed thus far?
A frenzy over the 500th U.S. servicemember to die in Afghanistan developed in the media this week. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. death toll in Afghanistan surpassed 500 GIs recently, or perhaps it will reach that milestone soon…or…did we actually cross that line long ago? While the AP admits that accurate casualty figures are hard to come by thanks to lags in Defense Department reports and the difficulty of independent confirmation in the region, the situation gets a little more complicated than that. Operation Enduring Freedom, often referred to as the Afghan War, actually spans several nations. The South Asian country is simply the main focal point of this “war on terror” that was formulated in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The AP specifically counted deaths in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Elsewhere, the New York Times came up with a slightly different set of numbers themselves, but their handy chart quickly reveals just how spread out the operation really is. U.S. servicemembers were also killed in countries as far from Afghanistan as are the Philippines, Mali, and even Cuba, so while the AP admirably tallied the deaths in and around Afghanistan, the worldwide U.S. toll for this military excursion is almost 15% higher. Perhaps AP cherry-picked these particular numbers because 500 is more of a “newsworthy milestone” than 562 deaths (Pentagon figures) or 569 deaths (Icasualties.org), but whatever the reason behind it, keeping the deadliness of the “Afghan War” in the headlines is of utmost importance, especially during this campaign season.
In New York, you cannot ride a subway without being bombarded with posters about Darfur and now, Tibet. Of course I have sympathy for those killed and displaced in Darfur, though the numbers have been overblown and other specifics of the situation have been exaggerated. And I am a sucker for all plainly legitimate secessionist movements, as in Tibet. But I am quite sick of being guilted into protest and “action” with the purpose of fixing problems my government is in no way (currently) responsible for.
The Tibet march poster I saw yesterday mentioned the “atrocities” perpetrated by the Chinese government. How about the atrocities carried out, abetted, enabled, and inspired by the US Government in Iraq? The death toll in Iraq beats last month’s entire cluster of clashes in Tibet practically every hour. Why, outside of a few stickers on newspaper boxes around town, is no significant mention made of what’s going on non-stop in Iraq? Are mainstream liberals just so cowed by the see-through rhetoric of the now completely debunked War Party that they still refuse to criticize a war their military is currently prosecuting?
Why are they demurely and cowardly “supporting the troops” in Iraq while wasting their rage on bullsh*t like a police crackdown against rioters in Tibet? This goes all the way up to top liberals in the country — the disgusting Nancy Pelosi tells the President he should boycott the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing. Who is George Bush to express moral indignation about anything? France’s Sarkozy is just as ridiculous — he rubs his face in Bush’s crack as the Decider bends over to destroy another piece of Iraq, but is contemplating a boycott of the Olympics opening ceremonies over a few scuffles in Lhasa?
How about some priorities reevaluation?
I know that if at first you don’t succeed, you’re supposed to try, try again. But I think that phrase needs an exception: do not keep trying the same thing over and over again, especially after you fail 100 times in as many years.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband should take this to heart, given his country’s embarrassing failure in exporting democracy through colonization and occupation — not to mention the planned starvation of sanctions and the mass murder of war. But no, he stands defiant in the face of reality, insisting that the debacle in Afghanistan and the horror show in Iraq is just another flawless intervention that just went a little wrong because of a few “mistakes.”
He makes a case for endless interventions around the globe for various foreign offenses — and then unwittingly shows himself up by bringing up the miracle of China. Commerce brought wealth and power to the masses of China, not “humanitarian intervention.” The state has done nothing but fight, tooth and nail, the advances of peaceful humanity on every front. The 20th Century was its last great push. It is finally losing, and the tide of prosperity and cooperation is shifting to overtake misery, poverty, and war. If the power-hungry, bloodthirsty, warmongering — or if you prefer, downright stupid — likes of Miliband would just step aside and allow people to decide for themselves what they want, we’d get there a lot faster.