by Peter Freyne
What a beautiful day before St. Valentine's Day. It's 10:50 and I'm watching the U.S. House of Representatives actually debate the Vietnam, sorry, the Iraq War. The crooked, corrupt and positively dishonest Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld War in Iraq.
"No more troops. No more phony intelligence. No more blank checks,"says Vermont Rep. Peter Welch on the House floor (live on C-Span). "Wemust end this war."
And I've got VPR's live feed from Montpeculiar of the Vermont House - live on the computer.
And on today's agenda?
The crooked, corrupt and positively sleazy Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld War in Iraq.
At last. Let the debate begin!
Whereas,in March 2003, the United States initiated a military incursion into Iraq, and
Whereas, every member of the House of Representatives has onlythe greatest respect for our military forces now deployed in Iraq and thesurrounding nations, and any criticism of our nation’s policy in the regionmust not be interpreted as lack of support forthe men and women in our armed forces whose bravery is on display each day asthey risk their lives, and
Whereas, approximately 2,300 Vermont National Guard troops haveserved in Iraq since March of 2003, and
Whereas, Vermont has had the highest number of soldiers percapita who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in this war,and
Whereas, approximately 80 Vermont National Guard troops are nowdeployed in Iraq, and more could be deployed in the coming months if the BushAdministration policies continue in the current direction, and
Whereas, at the time the Iraq conflict started in March 2003,the American public was told that the primary reason for this incursion was toeliminate weapons of mass destruction that the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein,had allegedly stockpiled, and it has been since documented that no weapons ofmass destruction were stockpiled in Iraq at the time the American militaryforces entered that country, and
Whereas, it is now apparent that the U.S. Department of Defensedid not develop an exit strategy prior to the invasion, falsely assuming thatthe Iraqi people would welcome United States forces with open arms, and thatwithdrawal would not be a difficult problem, and
Whereas, the continuing and daily onslaught of sectarianviolence and indications of ethnic cleansing in some areas of the nation haveproven disruptive to nearly all aspects of Iraqi society, and
Whereas, over 3,000 American military personnel have died sinceMarch 2003, and
Whereas, many Vermont veterans have returned home from Iraq andthe region with significant unmet physical and mental health care needs, and
Whereas, the cost of this war according to the CongressionalResearch Service is at least $379 billion, and
Whereas, based on the state’s population, Vermont’s share of thecost exceeds $750 million, and
Whereas, these costs will have a significant impact on Vermont households and the Vermont state budget process for years to come, and
Whereas, the Bush Administration recently called for and hasstarted to implement an escalation in the number of American military troopsactively engaged in Iraq, now therefore be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives:
That this legislative body believes that an escalation of Americantroops in Iraq is exactly the wrong foreign policy direction, and that thepresence of American troops in Iraq has not, and will not, contribute to thestability of that nation, the region, or the security of Americans at home orabroad, and be it further
Resolved: That this legislative body urges Governor Douglas toenlist the support of other members of the National Governors Association tospeak out against the war in Iraq and the announced troop surge and to supporta withdrawal from Iraq of American troops, and be it further
Resolved: That this legislative body urges the President andCongress to commence immediately the orderly withdrawal of American militaryforces from Iraq, and be it further
Resolved: That this legislative body calls on the BushAdministration and Congress to fund fully all veterans’ benefits to careappropriately for our brave men and women when they return from this war, andbe it further
Resolved: That the clerk of the house be directed to send acopy of this resolution to Governor Douglas, the President of theUnited States, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and the VermontCongressional Delegation.
How would you vote?