SILVER SPRING, Maryland - June 14 - On Thursday June 15th the House of Representatives, due in large part to the efforts of Peace Action Education Fund (PAEF) and its allies, will finally stage a debate on the Iraq war. While the organization applauded movement by Congress towards an open debate on the war, the Republican-crafted resolution seems unlikely to generate genuine debate and affect substantial change in the Bush Administration's failed policies. The House leadership is denying the bid of a bipartisan group of 124 Representatives led by Walter Jones (R-NC) and Neal Abercrombie (D-HI) to hold a open debate.
The debate on the House floor results from growing public disapproval of the war and of Congress itself. "The Republican leadership's nakedly partisan resolution is a weak attempt to deflect some of the political heat they are currently melting under. However, the public will see that this resolution is nothing more than a tacit endorsement of the status quo" said Paul Kawika Martin, PAEF's Political Director.
The resolution relies on Bush's tactic of equating the quagmire in Iraq to the greater "war on terrorism," emphasizing that terrorists "have called Iraq the central front in their war." It fails to say that the U.S. invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq are the primary reasons the country has become a breeding ground for terrorism.
The resolution will prohibit amendments from being offered, including options for bringing troops home and ending the war. The debate will last about 10 hours far short of the 17 hours requested by over a fourth of the House.
"To be clear, this is not what we have wanted or demanded, or what the American or Iraqi people deserve," said Kevin Martin, executive director of PAEF. "The Republican leadership is looking to divert attention from its miserable political standing with the public by offering this pseudo-debate, but rest assured we will not ease up our pressure to end the war one iota."