Left Justified: Congress won’t stop war in Iraq

Congress cannot stop the war in Iraq. It lost the last fight with President George W. Bush, but a new battle over the latest appropriation for the war is beginning. The president wants to throw $145 billion more down that rat hole.

Mary Shesgreen from the Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice (yes, even in the conservative suburbs there’s peace groups) raised some interesting points in a proposed letter to the editor:

The people want the war to end. The Democrats used strong rhetoric in their fight for peace against the president. But they couldn’t even pass suggested timelines for withdrawal. Democrats caved because the administration and mainstream media accused them of “betraying the troops” by denying them basic necessities for survival in the field. No one mentions the betrayal of sending those troops into this hellhole in the first place.

Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee will host a program this Saturday, July 28, that will explain media recalcitrance toward reporting the truth about the war (see below).

But there’s plenty of money in the Pentagon pipeline for an orderly withdrawal. Not even Halliburton can steal that much. We can expect the same distorted terms in this new debate.

The actual supplemental appropriation is $36 billion for procurement of weapons, most of which won’t be delivered for 18 months to three years. This is not necessary for day-to-day survival of our troops.

Another $46.2 billion is requested for Operations and Maintenance. This includes weapons repair and other logistical items that would be necessary if the troops were going to stay in Iraq for an indefinite future. But if they were withdrawn from Iraq in a timely fashion, most of this money would not be needed.

Mary Shesgreen says, “We fear that a substantial percentage of the funds, if they were appropriated, would end up in the pockets of defense contractors who have already made fantastic profits from this war. These companies not only profit from war. They also lobbied for the Iraq war and are now lobbying for future wars. Such war profiteering would have been considered treason during World War II.”

Mary wants us to call upon members of Congress of both parties to say no to the 2008 appropriation for the war in Iraq. “We call upon them to challenge the phony arguments put forth by war supporters and the media about how this money is needed to “support the troops,” she says. “Let us support the troops by bringing them home now.” Yes, I know our congressman is so pro-war that I’m sure he would enlist if he weren’t representing us in Washington.

More info on the war: Rockford Peace group’s first Saturday morning Coffee Talk starts 10:30 a.m. Saturday July 28, with Steve Macek, a North Central College communication professor. Mr. Macek will talk about “Censorship and Propaganda in the War on Terror.”

The program will take place at JustGoods’ Listening Room, 201 Seventh St., sponsored by Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee. Call me for more info: 815-964-7111.

For the past 25 years, American culture has been marked by an almost palpable sense of anxiety about terrorism. Steve Macek documents the scope of these alarmist representations and takes a hard-hitting look at the role of political ideologues and the mass media in terrorizing America.

Mr. Macek is the winner of the Urban Communication Foundation Publication Award as the author of a new book out now from University of Minnesota Press: Urban Nightmares: The Media, the Right, and the Moral Panic over the City ISBN: ISBN 0-8166-4361-X. Steve Macek teaches media studies, urban and suburban studies, and speech communication at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. The program is, of course, free and open to the public.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

from the July 25-31, 2007, issue

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