This November we will have a chance to completely turn this country around by picking a new president. In addition, we will be afforded the choice to replace incumbent members of Congress based on their past performances. My advice to voters is to look at your member of Congress' voting record in comparison to the member's campaign slogans. My advice to the candidates running is to make ending the war in Iraq the # 1 priority of their campaign.
The unconscionable war/occupation of Iraq is the root of all evil in this country. I am referring to the current recession, rising gas prices, the national debt, the significant decline in social welfare programs, lack of health care for millions of Americans, our broken military, the decimation of our national security, and our image in the world community -- that is in the toilet, courtesy of George W. Bush.
I'm no economist by any stretch of the imagination. However, the 500 billion dollars we wasted on Iraq could have been spent more wisely on the betterment of America -- not an unnecessary war on a country that posed no threat to the United States, and furthermore, that did not want war with us.
In case some of us forgot, we were totally duped in 2006 by Democrats who won both houses of Congress on a platform of "changing course in Iraq" and "holding President Bush accountable."
In retrospect, I don't know if I should laugh or cry at those campaign promises -- being that they turned out to be total bullshit.
There has been no change of course in Iraq, except the escalation, and President Bush remains as defiant as ever in his final months in office.
How do the Democrats respond to this defiance? Speaker Pelosi takes impeachment off the table in regard to any crimes committed by President Bush -- so much for that accountability process.
And while I'm on the topic ...
I'm not saying Congress has to impeach the fool, but it is quite irresponsible to send a public message that Bush is free to do whatever he wants without facing any consequences for his actions, even if they are criminal. (For example, lying us into a war in Iraq).
Now we get to endlessly listen to President Bush and Republican presidential nominee John McCain, on a daily basis, carry on a delusional message of success in regard to the "troop surge" in Iraq.
Call me crazy, but 4,000 dead U.S. troops, along with over 30,000 wounded, an uncountable number of Iraqi civilians killed, and the start of our sixth year of war is anything but success.
The "surge" forces were implemented to create an atmosphere peaceful enough for the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds to have a political reconciliation. It hasn't happened and we still have more boots on the ground than we invaded with five years ago.
In the meantime, Bush and McCain tout that they will accept nothing short of victory, yet they still have not defined what victory actually is in Iraq.
To me it is quite clear.
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The Bush administration wants control of the Iraqi oil reserves and to establish permanent military bases in Iraq in order to influence Mideast policy by making Iraq's neighboring countries fearful that they too could feel our wrath.
President Bush thought this would be easily accomplished by demonstrating a three week conquering of Iraq where we would be greeted as liberators. Too bad it backfired in our faces and we created more enemies than we can count, not only in that region, but in the world community.
All while most members of Congress stand idle and sit on their hands.
Go ahead and complain to your member of Congress. They'll be quick to respond with "Republican obstructionism" or "our hands are tied."
Afterward, their reelection campaign will send out a blast email to their constituents bragging about all the positive changes they have achieved on Capitol Hill, along with a link stating "please donate here."
Not only do they think we are dumber than dog shit, but they also want us to pay them for that service.
In the past I have been foolishly critical of methodologies of anti-war groups that I am in total cahoots with -- reason being is I thought it would push away the silent majority. There is no "profile in courage" award for those who refuse to take a stand against injustice in these dire times because of possible differences of opinion with groups considered to be out of the mainstream -- as I have more than learned.
This past week I got a newsflash. The silent majority is not so silent anymore.
On the fifth anniversary of the war I was in Washington, D.C. witnessing mass protests all over the district. For the most part, those in participation were very much indeed your "average" Americans. They are the heart and soul, very diverse, and from all walks of life. All I can say is it was extremely powerful ... and even more powerful than my experience is that thousands of similar events took place nationwide.
In the words of Neil Young: The people have heard the news, the people have spoken, you may not like what they said, but they weren't joking.
Who could say it better? I don't know, but it's perfect.
If only Congress (as a whole) could hear it.
John Bruhns now serves as the Legislative Coordinator for the United for Peace and Justice coalition.
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