Keep the Pressure On: Oppose the Escalation of the War

February 6, 2007

Since Bushs announcement of a military surge of 21,000 US troops a month ago, a massive, outpouring of opposition has propelled Congressional action. From union leaders to religious organizations to presidential candidates, all have called the surge what it is, an escalation of an immoral war. Over a thousand actions were organized within 24 hours of Bushs announcement in small towns and big cities saying no to escalation and demanding Congress bring the troops home! On Saturday, Jan 27, hundreds of thousands marched on Capitol Hill and over a thousand flooded the halls of Congress on Monday, Jan 29, calling for Congress to make real the mandate of the 2006 midterm elections: end the war in Iraq.

Military analysts now say that the Bush administration has once again lied to the American people. Experts say sending 21,000 US troops would require an equal amount of US support personnel be mobilized.

An initial bipartisan initiative saying no to the escalation passed in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 24. A compromise resolution was made between the initial hard-hitting but non-binding rebuke of the Bush administration and another Republican resolution. While a number of Democratic Senators have spoken out that it is too weak, it has more chance of gaining the necessary 60 votes required to block a right-wing Republican filibuster. With a one-seat majority, bipartisan action is necessary to reach the 60 votes.

The debate begins today on the floor of the Senate, a national dialogue will continue as the showdown between Congress, and the Bush administration unfolds. The peace movement must be clear: oppose the escalation and move forward to end the war as a whole.

The Bush administration and its circle of Senate supporters fear the rebuke of a Senate resolutionno matter what the wordingbecause they know it will embolden the massive opposition in the country.

Any resolution that challenges the escalation is a reflection of the massive peace movement, and will help build for stronger Congressional action in the weeks to come. Both Democrats and anti-war Republicans are discussing this compromise resolution as a first step in their actions.

In fact, it would be the first bi partisan Congressional measure criticizing the war in any way. That is why Bush and company are working overtime to oppose any critical resolution, or to amend any resolution in order to prohibit stronger action by the Senate later.

The debate and passage of a bi partisan resolution will be yet another reflection of the Bush administration and its policies of preemptive war.

The movement to end the war and occupation is at a crossroads. The Congress is listening. The Bush Administration continues to say they do not care what the people think or what the Congress does, theyre sending more troops anyway. At the same time, the Administration is threatening actions to widen the war into Iran.

The compromise resolution is what is on the table. Its passage will make stronger anti-war legislation easier to push forward. If the non-binding resolution fails, it will strengthen Bush’s hand. If the resolution passes and the Bush administration escalates the war, the movement to end the war must stand strong to compel sharper response in the House where there is a bigger Democratic majority. All who oppose the Iraq war must support all efforts that move in the direction of ending the war and bringing the troops home.

A broad debate has begun in Congress on ending or restricting the funding of the war. On the same day as the Senate resolution against the surge is introduced, the Bush administration will be submitting a request for $245 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If passed it would pass the total amount spent on the US war in Vietnam.

The movement to end this war is now focused on Congress doing the will of the people and fulfilling the mandate of the November elections: end the war. Stopping the escalation and passing a non-binding resolution opposing escalation of the war in the Senate has become the necessary next step.


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