The Happy Leftie

For lefties and other normal people who have considered suicide when the mainstream 'news' was enuf

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

House Votes to Block Permanent Iraq Bases, Protect Civilians in Darfur



The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Thursday night, March 16, to prevent the U.S. from establishing permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. Reps. Allen (ME), Lee (CA), Hinchey (NY), and Schakowsky (IL) sponsored the amendment to the emergency supplemental funding bill that states "None of the funds in this Act may be used by the U.S. government to enter into a basing rights agreement between the United States and Iraq."

Now we need to work to ensure that the Senate adopts an even stronger amendment, taking the first steps toward a withdrawal of all U.S. military troops and bases from Iraq. Find out how at http://capwiz.com/fconl/go/iraqfund_sen.

House Demands Change in U.S. Policy

On the same day U.S. military forces launched the largest air-assault since early in the war, the House of Representatives voted to demand a change in policy in Iraq. The vote came just two days after Gen. John Abizaid told Congress the U.S. may want to keep a long term military presence in Iraq.

For the first time since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the House has asserted its right – and responsibility – to demand the administration abandon three years of failed policy in Iraq.

This weekend Iraqis will mark the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion. The war rages, while religious and ethnic divisions in the country appear to be growing, not subsiding. A large majority of Iraqis believe the U.S. has no intention of ever leaving their country, according to opinion polls. Two of every three people in this country now believe the Iraq invasion was a war of choice, not of necessity and there is broad opposition to permanent U.S. military bases. The House vote sends a strong signal to Iraqis and the international community that the U.S. does not have imperial ambitions in that country.

How Did This Vote Happen?

Reps. Allen, Lee, Hinchey, and Schakowsky deserve much of the credit for sponsoring the amendment banning bases. Also speaking in favor of this amendment, were Reps. Conyers (MI), Harman (CA), Jackson Lee (TX), Kucinich (OH), Moran (VA), David Price (NC), Waters (CA), and Woolsey (CA).

House Increases Money to Protect Civilians in Darfur, Sudan

The House of Representatives also voted this week to increase emergency funding for the African Union Mission in Sudan, an important step forward in the process of preventing genocide and protecting civilians in Darfur.

A small African Union peacekeeping force of 7,000 is all that stands between the people of Darfur and horrific violence that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions more in western Sudan. The president in February requested an additional $123 million in funding to support this mission as part of the emergency supplemental legislation debated on the floor of the House this afternoon. On Thursday, March 16, House members voted 213 to 208 to support an amendment offered by Rep. Capuano (MA) to increase funding for that mission by $50 million to a total of $173 million.

Funding for the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) is more crucial than ever. Last Friday the AU authorized the continuation of AMIS until at least September 30th to allow sufficient time for continued negotiations on allowing UN peacekeepers in Darfur. As AU peacekeepers are likely to remain the only force on the ground charged with protecting civilians in the near future, it is all the more critical for AMIS to be fully funded and given the resources to effectively protect civilians and prevent further destabilization in Darfur.