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 Day 19

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Congress to the People: Get Lost!

Congress Gives War Profiteers Another $100 Billion

by EVELYN PRINGLE

Congress has demonstrated its unconditional love for the Bush administration by handing the war profiteers another $100 billion worth of good reasons to keep the war in Iraq rolling along at full-throttle.

And today there was the President, whose only military experience consists of draft-dodging, going AWOL from a cushy stint in the National Guard set up by daddy, and finishing his term of duty as grounded fighter pilot, calling a press conference to inform Americans for the umpteenth time that the only way to the keep the terrorist at bay is by allowing the slaughtering in Iraq to continue; forever apparently.

Over the past month, the majority of political discussions on cable news talk shows related to Iraq funding bill were focused on how members of Congress and especially those who are presidential candidates are consumed with worry over how their votes on funding will affect the results of the next elections.

Once elected, it would be interesting to find out exactly how long it takes for politicians to lose the ability to feel and vote with their hearts when they know that a policy such as the Iraq war is terribly wrong, without thinking about how the decision will effect the vote tally in the next election.

As citizens, we have no control over our own government. Never in my 57 years on this earth have I been so ashamed to be an American knowing that every day that the war continues we are knowingly allowing our soldiers and innocent Iraqis to be killed or injured with absolutely no justification, other than because politicians believe it will be beneficial to their careers to allow Bush’s failed war policies to continue.

While political commentators discuss voter odds, myself and probably most Americans are sitting at home unable to watch the news without breaking down crying as the latest pictures flash on the screen showing the happy faces of the young soldiers who are now dead, knowing full well that the next night there will be more pictures of dead soldiers because the politicians have made it clear that the citizens paying their salaries have no right to demand that their elected officials put an end to the killing in Iraq.

It would be interesting to take a poll to see how often each politician even looks at the smiling faces of the dead soldiers and the second question in the poll should be, for those who claim that they do look at these faces every day and still vote to give Bush more funding, how many had to use drugs or alcohol to get to sleep during the 7 days following the vote.

For this poll, a high number of drugs and alcohol users would be viewed as positive because the reason for the question is to determine how many politicians still have the capacity to feel guilt.

Congress needs to get one thing straight, the war funding is not about politics, it is about more deaths and injuries every single day that ticks off the calendar all because Bush took this country into a senseless war based on lies. Every single day matters to the soldiers and their families, and to those of us who feel extremely guilty about not being able to find a away to get them out of Bush’s war.

Why is there no in-depth discussion by any members of Congress on political talk shows about where these tax dollars are actually ending up, aside from an occasional flare-up of indignation about Halliburton?

There is nothing positive in Iraq to hold up to show Americans how Iraqis have benefited from all the tax dollars already poured into a bottomless pit.

The issue of war profiteering is like the elephant in the middle of the living room, every member of Congress knows where the funding is going but Americans don’t hear them on talk shows letting people know that these kids are being killed in the name of war profits.

And the statements in speeches made by members of Congress while debating the bills don’t mean anything because 95% of Americans never hear those speeches. Honest politicians should be out screaming to any reporter who will listen to educate Americans about where the hundreds of billions of tax dollars have ended up.

This war is 100 times worse than Viet Nam. A least with Viet Nam, the war profits were not being funneled over the backs of our dead soldiers in plain sight directly into the bank accounts of current and former members of the administrations in power at the time.

Nor were they being funneled to the family bank accounts of the Presidents who were in office during the Viet Nam war.

Former Nixon administration official, John Dean, has said that the Bush administration is worse than the Nixon’s. He’s right; the Bush gang makes the Nixon administration look saintly and gives a whole new meaning to Nixon’s famous line of "I am not a crook." In comparison to the actions of the current regime, it could indeed be said that Mr Nixon was not a crook.

Its easy to understand why most Republicans are not about to tell the world that the leader of their party is a war profiteering crook but the question remains, when are Democrats going to start addressing the issue of who is benefiting from all this war funding and start publicly naming names along with the companies they are connected with.

They have the ability to draw press coverage and give the specific names of current and former administration officials and Bush family members who have set up companies to profit off the war or steered contracts to companies they now work.

Last year, most clearly in the fall elections, Americans told Bush and Congress to get our troops out of Iraq. Democrats took control of Congress at the new year, and there was Bush in a televised address on January 10, 2007, announcing that he had ordered the deployment of five more combat brigades to serve as sitting ducks in Iraq, in addition to the 15 brigades that were already there. Since then, he has extended combat tours from 12 months to 15 months and announced the deployment of still more troops.

According to an analysis by Hearst Newspapers, when support troops are added in, the total number of soldiers in Iraq is about 162,000, and could be 200,000 by Christmas.

In the years to come, the history books will describe the Bush Presidency and the details of a grand war profiteering scheme nicknamed the "war on terror," and with that in mind, members of Congress would be wise to start speaking out against the war profiteers to make damn sure that the historians will be able to report that that they were out there calling a spade a spade and trying to put an end to the death for profit disaster in Iraq.

One commentator on a recent cable talk show made the statement that when voting on the Iraq funding; politicians are not in lock step with how strongly Americans feel about ending this war. That comment was an understatement, because Americans are as fed up with politicians debating over the money as much as they are with the war itself.

Members of Congress and the Presidential candidates should quit trying to second guess how American will vote in the next election and think about how much longer they are going to be willing to sit at home in front of their television sets depressed and driven to tears by looking at flashes of the happy faces of soldiers who were killed that day.

As for presidential candidates, the name John Murtha should be added to the ballot, as he seems to be about the only member of Congress willing to go public and speak from the heart when trying to get the rest of Congress to recognize the need for an immediate plan to rescue our young men and women stranded in Iraq.

The candidates that are working hard to try to end the war get little credit or media coverage. Dennis Kucinich is rarely mentioned and he is working tirelessly to come up with ways to get our soldiers out of Iraq.

By the time the 2008 election rolls around, who knows, after weighing the few options available maybe Americans will decide that no candidate who is a current member of Congress and refused to listen to the people on such an important issue as the Iraq war can be trusted to serve as President.

EVELYN PRINGLE can be reached at: evelyn-pringle@sbcglobal.net