Small Blessings Dept: While the House approved $37 million Thursday to fund the
ongoing carnage in Afghanistan, the close vote (215-210) and the
rhetoric around it reflect a growing recognition that the war is an
unacceptable, unwinnable drain on US "blood and treasure." Before
approving the funding, a block of Democrats opposed to the war insisted
on voting on measures requiring a withdrawal plan by April and
restricting use of funds to that withdrawal. Unsurprisingly, they failed
to pass. But they suggest a modestly hopeful turning of the tide.
standing here to say that we're committed to vote, over and over again,
no, no, no." - Rep. Barbara Lee of California, one of 21 legislators in
the "Out of Afghanistan Caucus."
Another member of the Caucus, Rep. John Conyers, was remarkably blunt
on the prospects in Afghanistan.
"It's never been clear to me that through war we
can bring peace, especially when we're the invaders, we're the ones
using drones. We're causing civilian deaths to many people who would
otherwise be more friendly to us. We're creating the terrorists. This is
not being lost on most of the people in the country now. Our
constituents now want us out of both Afghanistan and Iraq, and what
we're doing now is forming a way to discuss this with our president in
an effort to make him more comfortable with doing what most people want
him to do and what we thought he was going to do in the first place,
namely, to clearly disengage from the military, increase the diplomatic
activity, and bring in some help in terms of food supplies, aid, and
positive build up of these countries and to make as many friends as we
can over there rather than this ninth year of what has now become a
debacle in every respect."