M 7 Bloomington Peace Action Coalition M 6

Press Release - April 4, 2007

Appropriating More Money for the Occupation of Iraq is No Way to End It!

By Christine Glaser and Timothy Baer

Bloomington, Indiana -- On Monday, April 2, 2007, a delegation of nine members of Bloomington Peace Action Coalition (BPAC) and Bloomington Declaration of Peace visited Indiana 9th District Representative Baron Hill's Bloomington office to register their objections to Hill's YES vote on the “U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act.”

The Iraq Accountability Act (HR 1591), which originated as the $93 billion defense appropriations supplemental bill requested by the Bush Administration, was voted on and approved in the House of Representatives on March 23rd, with a vote of 218 to 212.

The Iraq Accountability Act appropriates another nearly $100 billion for the continued U.S. military occupation of the country of Iraq , and for military operations in Afghanistan .

In a 40-minute presentation to four of Congressman Hill's staff members, the anti-war delegation declared their opposition to any more appropriations for the U.S. military occupation of Iraq . The group then presented a “Certificate of Ownership for The War in Iraq ” to Hill's staff, stating that Hill voted to pay for the continuation of the war. Reading from the Certificate, Baer stated, “You bought it, you own it!”

The “awarding” of Certificates of Ownership to members of Congress who support continued Iraq war funding was initiated by “Iraq Veterans Against the War”, “Military Families Speak Out”, and “Veterans for Peace” when HR 1591 passed on March 23rd.

While the Iraq Accountability Act has been portrayed as a measure to end the war at the latest in August 2008, the provisions in this bill by no means guarantee an end to the U.S. occupation by that date.

BPAC organizers, Timothy Baer and Christine Glaser read from and then handed the “Certificate of Ownership” and an accompanying ”Warranty” to Baron Hill's staff. (For downloads of the Certificate and the Warranty, see: http://www.mfso.org/article.php?id=953 )

Timothy Baer then highlighted several provisions in HR 1591 that show why the Act will not bring about an end to the occupation of Iraq in 2008.

Baer quoted from the analysis of HR1591 done by Phyllis Bennis, of the Institute for Policy Studies. http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=3564

1. The Iraq Accountability Act calls for pulling out some troops from Iraq by August 2008.

It exempts whole categories of troops from the withdrawal.

  • Troops "training the Iraqi military" can stay -- currently 6,000, perhaps as many as 20,000 (no limit in the supplemental).
  • Troops engaged in "special operations" can stay -- the Marines say they want 20,000 for Anbar Province alone, perhaps as many as 40,000 for the whole country (no limit in the supplemental).
  • Troops "protecting diplomatic enclaves" like the huge Green Zone and the U.S. Embassy, the largest in the world, and maybe including the numerous U.S. bases established in Iraq , can stay -- 20,000 is a conservative number (no limit in the supplemental).

That means Bush could keep unlimited numbers, perhaps 60,000 - 80,000 troops, permanently in Iraq -- and still be in compliance.

And the bill does not require that the troops withdrawn from Iraq be sent home. They can be immediately deployed to Afghanistan , or to bases in surrounding Arab countries, or to ships in the Persian Gulf -- or be used to attack Iran .

2. The Iraq Accountability Act imposes restrictions on Pentagon deployments, prohibiting the deployment of troops not fully trained, not adequately equipped, and not adequately rested between deployments.

It includes a waiver for President Bush to simply state his intention to override those restrictions, allowing him to send in as many untrained, badly equipped and exhausted troops as he wishes.

3. The Iraq Accountability Act prohibits construction of new permanent bases in Iraq .

It does nothing to close the existing permanent bases the U.S. has built across Iraq and includes billions for "military construction" presumably for those existing bases.

4. The Iraq Accountability Act requires Iraq 's government to pass a new oil law.

The law being debated in the parliament abandons Iraq's long history of maintaining control of its oil resources in favor of allowing international (especially U.S.) oil companies to take control of large sectors of the vital oil industry. The bill hurts Iraq and Iraqi workers, and is hotly opposed by Iraqi unions, particularly the General Union of Oil Workers.

5. The Iraq Accountability Act cuts 10% of the funding for private military contractors.

It allows 90% of the 100,000 or so mercenaries who fight alongside the U.S. military to remain in Iraq .

In conclusion, the Iraq Accountability Act:

  • Does not prohibit an unprovoked attack on Iran .
  • Does not end the occupation of Iraq .

Christine Glaser then stated why, instead of appropriating ANY more money for the occupation, and thus dragging it on for many more months and possibly years to come, the complete withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops should start immediately and be completed before the end of 2007.

• The continued funding for the Iraq Occupation is based on, and feeds, the myth that the U.S. military presence in Iraq will help stop a civil war, or that U.S. troops could somehow militarily enforce political stability in Iraq . U.S. military leaders in Iraq (before Petraeus), as well as British military officers, have stated for years that the stabilization of the country could not be achieved by military force. "Surge" tactics like the one used now in Baghdad have been used before, and they did not bring the desired results. (Baron Hill actually acknowledged this in a recent reply letter to Christine Glaser.) What is happening as the result of concentrating forces in one area is that militant forces just disappear for a while and move on to spots that are not currently heavily controlled by the U.S. and Iraqi military.

• The magazine "Rolling Stone" recently held a panel discussion with high-ranking military, national security and Iraq experts, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Carter; Richard Clarke, counterterrorism czar from 1992 to 2003; General Tony McPeak (retired); Juan Cole, professor of modern Middle East history at the University of Michigan and many others. Not one of these experts thought the continued presence of the U.S. , even at drastically increased troop levels, could prevent the continuation and worsening of the civil war.

• With appropriating more money for the U.S. occupation of Iraq , the Democrats are upholding the myth that the occupation of Iraq not only does something good for Iraqis, but also for the security of the U.S.

Instead, the continued presence of the U.S. is clearly fomenting terrorism in Iraq and around the world , and is the best recruiting tool that any terrorist network could hope for.

• The truth is that U.S. soldiers are an occupying force, undermining Iraqi sovereignty, and supporting a government that does not have much power outside of the Green Zone. As was shown in a recent Mother Jones article, a majority of militants' attacks are still directed against coalition forces, to drive them out of the country. The number of attacks on occupation forces has grown over the years, along with Iraqi on Iraqi violence that usually captures the headlines in the U.S. media. http://www.motherjones.com/news/featurex/2007/03/civil_war.html

• Not surprisingly, a large majority of the people of Iraq have made it clear, in poll after poll, that they -- both Sunnis and Shiites -- want the U.S. occupying forces to leave their country. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070319/wl_mideast_afp/iraqbritainuslife_070319133902&printer=1;_ylt=AvmgZ3FkJesjBMZskZxttxebOrgF

• Voters all over the U.S. were expecting the Democratic majority in the House and the Senate to use their power to bring the occupation of Iraq to an end.

Instead, by voting YES on the Iraq Accountability Act, the Democratic majority, including Baron Hill, has decided to prolong the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and very likely to prolong it for an indefinite period of time.

• While brushing aside the will of the Iraqi and American people, and claiming to be looking out for the safety of U.S. troops, Baron Hill and U.S. Congressional members voting for HR 1591 also disregarded the strong opposition of Iraq war veterans and military families to any more funding for the Iraq occupation. Groups like “Iraq Veterans Against the War” and “Military Families Speak Out” have come out very strongly against continued funding for the war, and over 1,760 active duty military personnel have signed an “Appeal for Redress.”


During the April 2 nd presentation, delegation member Shodo Spring talked about the heavy toll that U.S. soldiers are paying who come back from Iraq alive, yet have to live with severe injuries and post-traumatic stress disorders, possibly for the rest of their lives.

After laying out the reasons for why U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq should start immediately, six members of the delegation took turns in reading the names of Americans and Iraqis who have been killed in Iraq . The names of eleven U.S. soldiers, killed in the days since the House approved the Iraq Accountability Act, were read. It was stated that nine other Americans had been killed in the past week, but, whose names had not yet been released. A memorial listing of some of the names of Iraqi victims of the war, and the names of 60 Indiana soldiers killed in Iraq were then read.

Christine Glaser then pointed out to Hill's staff that for every one U.S. soldier killed in Iraq (the U.S. death toll is now over 3,250), at least 200 Iraqis have been killed.

She pointed out that the Democrats know that a “surge” of U.S. troops cannot stop the violence in Iraq , since they talked about it in their speeches supporting the non-binding “anti-surge” resolution. Baron Hill was one of the Representatives who spoke against the surge, and who supported the non-binding resolution.

Ninety-eight percent of all House Democrats and seventeen Republicans voted in favor of the nonbinding resolution opposing the surge.

Why, Glaser asked, could this majority in Congress not come up with a strong measure to end this occupation, rather than passing yet another bill that perpetuates the U.S. occupation of Iraq .

Timothy Baer then pointed out that Rohm Emanuel, House Democrat from Illinois, has openly told the media that he'd just as soon have the war still going on in 2008, because then President Bush can be blamed for everything that went wrong. Never mind that thousands of U.S. and Iraqi lives will be sacrificed for that political "benefit.”

(“Can Congress End the War?” By David Swanson, March 5, 2007 http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=171335 ).

Kevin Zeese from “Democracy Rising” and “Voters For Peace” said it most succinctly: "The Democrats seem to think the Iraq War is the ‘goose that lays the golden votes.' They hope it is the golden goose that will expand their majorities and bring them the presidency. Keeping the war going, while showing their opposition through non-binding votes, criticizing Bush and conducting high profile hearings that point to the corruption of the administration as well as the mistakes of the commander-in-chief will get them more votes than ending the war. The Democrats can point to the Republicans as the problem and highlight Bush's reckless leadership as commander-in-chief and say ‘elect us.'"

So contrary to how the Iraq Accountability Act is portrayed by Congressman Hill and the media – as a way to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq by August 2008, the U.S. will still be entrenched in Iraq way beyond that deadline.

Isn't that what Bush wants, and what he diligently worked towards with building permanent military bases without Congressional oversight and against the express will of Congress? (Congress passed a measure against permanent military bases in Iraq that Bush completely ignored).

However, President Bush could not have ignored the de-funding of his war. Cutting the funding for U.S. military operations in Iraq would bring the occupation of Iraq to an end.

Congressman Hill had an opportunity to help stop a devastating war.

What Hill chose to do was vote to continue funding the illegal war and occupation in Iraq .



Timothy Baer and Christine Glaser are co-organizers with Bloomington Peace Action Coalition. http://www.BPAC.info
Baer is a national organizer for The Declaration of Peace.
Baer and Glaser can be contacted at: BPACpeace@hotmail.com

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