FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Power to the Purse

by BRIAN J. FOLEY

Few expect Congress to say No to President Bush’s $87 billion request for the war in Iraq that he said was over. Decent Americans don’t want to abandon the Iraqi people. But we should get more for our money than a guerilla war, and we should limit the risk of being misled into further, unnecessary conflicts. One way is for Congress to attach conditions to any funding:

– Fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz. They cried – and lied – the loudest for war. They promised an easy liberation and ridiculed experienced military brass’s warnings against underestimating the difficulties of war.

– Ditto for Secretary of State Colin Powell. He’s portrayed as reasonable, but his February 5, 2003 speech to the UN Security Council has been exposed as lies by the Associated Press. (See “Charles J. Hanley, “Powell’s Battle Cry Fails Test of Time: Six months after his case swung opinion toward attacking Iraq, his intelligence file looks thin,” August 10, 2003.)

– Eliminate the financial incentives certain Administration officials and their friends may have for advocating war. The Administration shovels cash to companies such as Halliburton Corp., which Vice President Cheney CEOed, to repair oil wells in Iraq, provide meals and deliver mail for troops, build bases in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Jordan and prisons in Guantanamo Bay. Such dealing calls into question whether the Administration’s hawkishness is based on patriotism or cronyism.

– Cancel President Bush’s tax cuts, which reward only the richest Americans. Must working people, whose children are dying in Iraq, also foot the bill?

– Support the troops: let them come home. They’re fighters, not nation builders. Their presence outrages many Iraqis and thus may pose the greatest obstacle to stability and democracy. Military costs far outweigh rebuilding costs in Bush’s request. More important than saving money is that our young men and women are in grave – and gathering – danger. How long until a massive car bomb cripples and kills hundreds?

– Retract the Bush Administration’s National Security Strategy. The Administration’s claiming the right to invade other countries before they acquire nuclear weapons and scrapping weapons-reduction treaties could doom humanity to an atomic free-for-all. The “strategy” gives non-nuclear nations incentive to go nuclear, simply to avoid Iraq’s fate. The more nuclear weapons in circulation, the harder it will be to keep them from terrorists.

If we fail to clean our own house, the rest of the world may try. Much of humanity now views the U.S. under the Bush Administration as the greatest threat to peace. And there’s politics. Few forget how the Administration tried to humiliate the UN last year, threatening that the world body would be “irresponsible” and “irrelevant” if it “failed” to rubberstamp a U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Of course, sweeping action by the UN is probably unlikely, given U.S. veto power. Other nations may well chip in. But imagine a “coalition of the willing” deciding to go ahead anyway to enforce the UN’s will, by adding the following conditions to those set forth above:

– The U.S. must pay the majority of rebuilding costs. Coalition countries could seize U.S. assets abroad and hold them in trust for the Iraqi people.

– No oil contracts, no rebuilding deals for U.S. companies. Nations should not profit from illegal wars of aggression.

– Demand “regime change.” Foreign leaders could broadcast that they “have no quarrel with the American people,” but that our dangerous, lawless leaders must go.

Such improvements are possible now that we hold the power of the purse.

BRIAN J. FOLEY is a professor at Touro Law Center in Huntington, NY. He can be reached at BrianF@tourolaw.edu.

 

 

 Brian J. Foley is a lawyer and the author of A New Financial  You in 28 Days! A 37-Day Plan (Gegensatz Press). Contact him atbrian_j_foley@yahoo.com.

More articles by:
July 26, 2016
Victor Grossman
Horror and Sorrow in Germany
Nyla Ali Khan
Regionalism, Ethnicity, and Trifurcation: All in the Name of National Integration
Andrew Feinberg
The Good TPP
400 US Academics
Letter to US Government Officials Concerning Recent Events in Turkey
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Russell Mokhiber
Bernie Delegates Take on Bernie Sanders
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
Robert Fisk
The Hypocrisies of Terror Talk
Lee Hall
Purloined Platitudes and Bipartisan Bunk: An Adjunct’s View
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of Collective Punishment: Russia, Doping and WADA
Nozomi Hayase
Cryptography as Democratic Weapon Against Demagoguery
Cesar Chelala
The Real Donald Trump
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Propaganda Machinery and State Surveillance of Muslim Children
Denis Conroy
Australia: Election Time Blues for Clones
Marjorie Cohn
Killing With Robots Increases Militarization of Police
David Swanson
RNC War Party, DNC War Makers
Eugene Schulman
The US Role in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict
Nauman Sadiq
Imran Khan’s Faustian Bargain
Peter Breschard
Kaine the Weepy Executioner
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail