House Votes Today on Afghan, Pakistan Wars

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this afternoon on
the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This morning, the Senate version of the Afghanistan war supplemental
was brought up under "suspension" rules, which require a 2/3 majority
to pass. This expedited procedure is generally used for measures
considered "uncontroversial," which is odd, to say the least, since
the war in Afghanistan is anything but uncontroversial, with the most
recent evidence being the release by Wikileaks of secret documents on
the war, which the New York Timesreported
"offers an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan
that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal."

House Appropriations Chair David Obey, who will vote no on the war
supplemental, asked for a roll call, which is expected this afternoon,
some time after 2pm Eastern.

On July 1, 162
Members of the House voted
for the McGovern-Obey-Jones amendment
that would have required President Obama to establish a timetable for
the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, the position of 54% of
Americans, according
to a recent CBS poll
. The measure being voted on this
afternoon contains no provision concerning a timetable for withdrawal.
Nor does it include the money to prevent the layoffs of teachers that
the House attached to the war supplemental on July 1.

If 90% of the Members who voted for the McGovern-Obey-Jones amendment
on July 1 vote no this afternoon on the war supplemental, the measure
will fail.

That wouldn't imply that the war supplemental wouldn't pass the House
in some form eventually. It would mean that the war supplemental
couldn't be rushed through the House under expedited procedures. And a
defeat of the war supplemental under suspension rules would send a
strong signal from the House that it's time to change policy from
death, maiming, and destruction for no reason to serious efforts to
reach a political settlement that ends the war and brings the troops

Also on the House
calendar today
is H.Con.Res.
, a "privileged resolution" introduced by Reps. Dennis
Kucinich, Bob Filner, and Ron Paul, which invokes the War Powers Act
to force a debate and vote on the deployment of U.S. forces in

As Representative Kucinich points out, what U.S. forces are doing in
Pakistan has never been authorized by Congress. The 2001 authorization
of military force targeted those who planned and carried out the
September 11 attacks and those who harbored them. It was not a blank
check to attack anyone we don't like, or anyone our friends don't
like. U.S. forces in Pakistan are targeting people who did not, as far
as we know, plan or participate in the September 11 attacks, and
against whom no evidence has been presented that they harbor those who
did. Whether one thinks the enterprise worthy or not, U.S.
participation in a war against the internal foes of Pakistan has never
been authorized by Congress. There's nothing in the 2001 authorization
of military force about a barter agreement in which we attack people
in Pakistan that the Pakistani government doesn't like in exchange for
permission to attack people in Pakistan that we don't like.

You can urge your Representative to vote no on the war supplemental
(HR 4899) and yes on Rep. Kucinich's resolution against the presence
of U.S. troops in Pakistan (H.Con.Res. 301) by using the toll-free
number established by FCNL: 1-888- 493-5443.

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