Sunday, June 19, 2011

War Costs Gutting Our Cities

Detroit Shantytown

Will U.S. Mayors Vote Against War?

By Medea Benjamin
Beaver County Peace Links via AlterNet

June 19, 2011 - Senate Armed Services Chair Carl Levin—a Democrat from Michigan--had just put down the gavel, marking the end of the confirmation hearing for Leon Panetta to be the next Secretary of Defense, when Detroit-born CODEPINK activist Tighe Barry jumped up. “Shame on you, Senator Levin, for supporting endless wars while Detroit is dying,” he shouted. “Your constituents are eating cat food while you’re funding a champagne war.” Levin shook his head in disgust, dismissing Barry as some kind of kook, and walked out of the room.

But Barry’s words ring true. The city of Detroit stands as a mirror to the United States’ battered economy and failing wars. Our nation’s continued military exploits in Iraq and Afghanistan are fueling Detroit’s destruction. Taxpayers from Detroit shell out over two billion dollars a year for war, money that could cover healthcare for over 150,000 children or the payment of some 3,000 teachers’ salaries.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

War and the Power of the Purse

Kucinich Will Force Vote To Cut Off Libya Funding

By Jennifer Bendery
Beaver County Peace Links via HuffPost

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2011 - Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) announced Friday that he plans to offer an amendment to the upcoming Defense spending bill to cut off funding for military operations in Libya—a move that could create political headaches for the White House as well as Republicans.

Kucinich, who earlier this week filed a lawsuit that charges President Barack Obama with illegally initiating military action in Libya without congressional consent, said his amendment will challenge the White House’s argument that bombing operations and support of other countries’ military operations do not constitute war.

“My amendment will provide the first test whether this Congress will defend its own authority under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution,” Kucinich said in a statement. “Congress must use its constitutional authority of the power of the purse to end this war.”

The defense spending bill is expected to hit the House floor in the next few weeks. Current protocol allows lawmakers to offer any amendments to an appropriations bill, so Kucinich's amendment appears poised to sail through to the floor.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Happened to ‘Changing The Mindset’ for Getting into Wars?

Obama's Libya Defense Makes

Bush's Lawyers Look Smart

By David Swanson
Beaver County Peace Links via

June 16, 2011 - The arguments made to "legalize" war, torture, warrantless spying, and other crimes by John Yoo and Jay Bybee and their gang are looking rational, well-reasoned, and impeccably researched in comparison with Obama's latest "legalization" of the Libya War.

Here's the key section from Wednesday's report to Congress:

"Given the important U.S. interests served by U.S. military operations in Libya and the limited nature, scope and duration of the anticipated actions, the President had constitutional authority, as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive and pursuant to his foreign affairs powers, to direct such limited military operations abroad. The President is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of 'hostilities' contemplated by the Resolution's 60 day termination provision. U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo. U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors."

Whatever the president's "foreign affairs powers" may be, they do not, under the U.S. Constitution, include the power to launch "military operations" or "hostilities" or "wars." Nor has the distinction between "military operations" that involve what ordinary humans call warfare (blowing up buildings with missiles) and "hostilities" that qualify for regulation under the War Powers Resolution been previously established. This distinction is as crazy as any that have come out of U.S. government lawyers in the past.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Libya, a War Nobody Wants

Just 26% Favor Continued Military Action in Libya

Beaver County Peace Links via Rasmussen Reports

June 13, 2011 - A plurality of voters now opposes further U.S. military action in Libya, and most say President Obama needs congressional approval to continue those operations.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 26% of Likely U.S. Voters feel the United States should continue its military actions in Libya. Forty-two percent (42%) are opposed and 32% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But 59% agree the president should get the approval of Congress if he wants to continue U.S. military action in Libya. Twenty-one percent (21%) say congressional approval is not needed. Another 20% are not sure.

This marks a jump in support for congressional authorization from mid-March just after the president committed U.S. military forces to helping anti-government rebels in Libya. At that time, 47% said the president should have gotten congressional approval before ordering the military into action in Libya. Thirty-four percent (34%) said the prior approval of Congress was not necessary, but 19% were undecided.

Most voters remain skeptical of how soon U.S. military involvement in Libya will end. Just 32% think it is at least somewhat likely that U.S. military operations in Libya will be over by the end of the year, with 10% who say it is Very Likely. Fifty-four percent (54%), however, think it is unlikely those operations will be done by the close of the year, including 14% who say it is Not At All Likely. Another 14% are not sure.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

2012 Warning: Voters Want an End to the Wars

The Fight for Peace Heats Up

By Tom Hayden
Beaver County Peace Links via

June 8, 2011 - Sixty-four percent of Americans think the number of troops in Afghanistan should be decreased. (CBS News)The New York Times finally acknowledged this week that a significant withdrawal from Afghanistan is a real possibility being considered by the White House.

In a lead story on June 6, the Times reported that the Obama administration is considering a “steeper” reduction of troops than previously discussed or acknowledged.

The fact is that Democratic constituencies and leaders, responding to overwhelming public sentiment against the war, have been uniting in recent weeks behind a call for “substantial and significant” troops reductions and a transfer of war funds to job creation at home.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Antiwar Battleground in the House

GOP Pulls Libya War Powers Resolution
from the Floor Because it Might Pass

By Donny Shaw

June 1, 2011 - The House Republican leadership is worried that Congress might stand up to the Obama Administration and assert its constitutional prerogative as the only branch of government that can declare war. The House was scheduled to vote this afternoon on a a privileged resolution from Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D, OH-10] directing the President, pursuant to the War Powers Act, to remove U.S. armed forces from Libya. But the House leadership has pulled it from the floor because, according to Republican aides who spoke with Fox News, “it became clear that it might succeed.”

“[Republican leaders] hadn’t seen much of a threat from [the Kucinich bill]. He’s kind of this marginal figure and having his resolution go down narrowly would be no big deal and might even send a message to the administration,” said one of the Republican aides. “But once they saw that there was substantial support, they were like, ‘Whoa.’”

Under the War Powers Act of 1973, if a President authorizes military action without approval from Congress, they must terminate the action within 60 days unless they get specific approval from Congress, or unless there is a national emergency due to an attack on the U.S. In the case of Libya, the 60-day period has come and gone without any action from Congress, yet, in a direct violation of the law, U.S. military involvement in Libya continues. In fact, it has now been extended for another 90 days.

The Obama Administration argues that Libya is not a U.S. mission. It’s a NATO mission, they say. But as Kucinich points out in a letter to supporters of his resolution, the U.S. is still in charge. “The fact remains that we’re bombing another country and we pay, by far, the largest percentage of NATO’s military bills,” he says. “This is a war that we’re leading – and it’s a war that violates our Constitution and the War Powers Act.”