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Wednesday, February 27, 2008


The phony "war funding cutoff"

Headlines trumpet "Senate advances bill to cut Iraq funding" and the articles tell us that "The measure, by Democratic Sens. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, would cut off money for combat after 120 days." Really? Here's the text of the bill:
(c) Use of Funds- Effective 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and except as provided in subsection (d), no funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces.

(d) Exception for Limited and Temporary Purposes- The prohibition under subsection (c) shall not apply to the obligation or expenditure of funds for the following limited and temporary purposes:

(1) Conducting targeted operations, limited in duration and scope, against members of al Qaeda and affiliated international terrorist organizations.

(2) Providing security for personnel and infrastructure of the United States Government.

(3) Providing training to members of the Iraqi Security Forces who have not been involved in sectarian violence or in attacks upon the United States Armed Forces, provided that such training does not involve members of the United States Armed Forces taking part in combat operations or being embedded with Iraqi forces.

(4) Providing training, equipment, or other materiel to members of the United States Armed Forces to ensure, maintain, or improve their safety and security.

(5) Redeploying members of the United States Armed Forces from Iraq.
Well, #5, I'm all for (or I would be if it actually meant bringing them home, instead of, as the "antiwar" members of the Senate actually mean, "over the horizon" in Kuwait or Qatar). As for the rest, isn't that what it is claimed the U.S. is doing? As I've written many times before, every action in Iraq is described as being against al Qaeda. Here's today's very typical coverage:
Insurgents targeted passenger buses north of Baghdad on Tuesday, as a suicide bomber killed at least eight people west of Mosul and gunmen seized 21 men traveling through Diyala province...The latest Iraqi bloodshed Tuesday highlighted the slow-going, punch-counterpunch nature of the U.S.-led campaign against Al-Qaida in Iraq... The U.S. military said it killed seven members of Al-Qaida in Iraq and captured three insurgents during a firefight Monday.
Proof that those seven dead were actually members of Al-Qaida in Iraq? The media doesn't ask for any, dutifully serving their role as U.S. military stenographer. And the likelihood that if this bill were to pass (which is highly unlikely in any case), that it would lead to a single change in military actions in Iraq or in spending? Pretty much zero. Note that the bill has nothing to do with actual appropriations, only with how money that the Senate has already voted for is to be spent. Needless to say, if they really wanted to "cut spending after 120 days," all they had to do was to lower the amount they voted for in the last round to cover #5 only - withdrawal from Iraq. They didn't.

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