Why Vote 'Yes' for the War and the IMF?

War Funding Measure a Hard Sell for Pelosi

The Obama administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are aggressively whipping House Democrats to support the 2009 war supplemental bill
that seeks to steer another $10o billion in US tax dollars into the
quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan while at the same time squandering at
least $5 billion on the failed economic schemes of the International
Monetary Fund.

But the more than 51 Democrats who opposed an earlier version of the
supplemental are giving her a hard time and that's making the project a
hard sell for Pelosi.

And rightly so. This is a very bad bill.

Californian Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey and Ohio Congressman Dennis
Kucinich, leading critics of the Iraq War, pointed out in a letter to
their colleagues that "the primary intent of this legislation is to
continue funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." That, they
point out, is not what President Obama or Democrats in Congress were
elected to do. "Continued funding of war operations in Iraq ensures a
continued occupation thereby undermining the stated U.S. goal for
withdrawal by the end of 2010," argue Woolsey and Kucinich. "Funds for
Iraq should be dedicated to bringing all of our troops and contractors
home immediately."

Masschusetts Congressman Jim McGovern, another anti-war Democrat,
expressing concerns about the administration's push to increase the
troop presence in Afghanistan, says, "As much as I love President
Obama, I believe that this administration needs to come up with some
benchmarks and an exit strategy."

Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur told Congressional Quarterly about personal lobbying of members by Pelosi:

Earlier this week, the Speaker approached Rep. Marcy
Kaptur, an Ohio progressive who sits on the Defense Appropriations
Subcommittee, and asked Kaptur to reconsider her "no" vote.

Rather than making a case based on the policy, Kaptur said, the
Speaker asserted that Obama and congressional Democrats needed to clear
the decks of "the last old business" left over from the Bush

Kaptur was unmoved.

"I don't agree with her analysis that we're cleaning up for Bush,"
said Kaptur, who worries that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are too
costly and that the administration lacks a plan for success in
Afghanistan. "This is Obama's first chance. This is his first wave."

The questioning of the war is appropriate and necessary.

But it is also right to question the money for the IMF, which Kucinich
and California Congressman Bob Filner, another Democrat, worry could be
part of a broader scheme to "bail out private European banks with U.S.
taxpayer money."

Even if the money goes straight into IMF coffers for its loan
programs, that's a problem, as the IMF continues to pressure countries
around the world to cut social services and undermine infrastructure as
part of wrongheaded "structural adjustment" initiatives.

As of now, the word is that the conference report on the war supplemental will reach the floor early next week.

That means that lobbying of members this weekend could be crucial.

As Kucinich says, "From what I can see, [members who so far have
refused to bow to pressure from the administration and Pelosi] are
concerned about going home and having to explain why they voted for the
war when their constituents are opposed to it..."

Opponents of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and of unsound
economic strategies, should feed those concerns by telling their
representatives to vote "No" to war and the IMF.

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