Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
"We cannot afford these wars. We cannot afford the loss of lives. We cannot afford the cost to taxpayers. We cannot afford to fail to exercise our constitutional right to end the wars." So said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) in an email on Wednesday, announcing his intention to introduce a privileged resolution in the House in January to "End the War."
He appeared on MSNBC with Ed Schultz (video below) the night before to explain that under President Obama's plan to immediately increase troops levels by 30,000 before beginning a withdrawal in July of 2011 (pending "conditions on the ground" which could extend the occupation for years, as Sec. of Defense Robert Gates recently admitted) we have an "orgy of crime."
"We will be spending at least $150 billion a year, at the costs of many lives, to be able to subsidize a criminal undertaking." What criminal undertaking was Kucinich referring to?...
In "Beyond Afghanistan" on Monday, we exposed the extent to which the President's justifications for expanding the war in Afghanistan stood in marked contrast to the realities of Empire and the military-industrial complex.
Citing extensive sources, we not only traced the disturbing parallels between Afghanistan and Vietnam but delved into the manner in which links between the CIA and both torture and drug smuggling have been consistent features of the U.S.-led, corporate global project over the past 60 years. We noted how, during the 1980s, President "Reagan's Afghan 'freedom fighters'...turned Afghanistan into the world's single largest exporter of opium and the source of half the heroin consumed in the US;" that "opium production would drop off dramatically under the Taliban only to return with a vengeance following the late 2001 invasion;" how B.C.C.I., with the aid of George H.W. Bush, laundered money from the Afghan heroin trade. We observed that the brother of Hamid Karzai, who had been on the CIA payroll for the past eight years, was directly linked to the heroin trade.
We also criticized the President's "peace with honor" strategy, noting that it was unrealistic to expect to train an effective Afghan force in the span of 18 months when 19 years proved insufficient when it came to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam.
President Karzai has now suggested that the U.S. should remain in-country, training and assisting Afghan security forces, for the next 15 - 20 years.
On Dec. 7, the Los Angeles Times reported that the drug cartels and corrupt officials were extracting some $10 million/day from Afghanistan, most flowing not by way of secret routes through the mountains and deserts, but directly through Kabul International Airport --- a hiding-in-plain-sight approach that calls to mind past CIA shipments of heroin from Vietnam to Dover Air Force Base inside the body bags of dead U.S. service personnel. The Times reported that some of these smuggled funds are received by the Taliban.
In his Dec. 9 announcement email, Kucinich revealed his "Resolution to End the War," stating...
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States makes it Congress' responsibility to determine whether or not we go to war or stay at war. Consistent with Article I, Section 8, the privileged resolutions will invoke the War Powers Resolution of 1973. I ask for your support of these resolutions, which will be introduced in the House in January.
Yesterday, with the U.S. Secretary of Defense at his side, the President of Afghanistan declared that his country's security forces will need financial and training assistance from the United States for the next 15-20 years.
We cannot afford these wars. We cannot afford the loss of lives. We cannot afford the cost to taxpayers. We cannot afford to fail to exercise our constitutional right to end the wars.
Please sign onto the privileged resolutions to end the wars and to bring our troops home.
Stand up for our troops. Stand up for the truth. Stand up for the Constitution and Congress' responsibility.
The War Powers Resolution of 1973, passed by a 2/3 vote of Congress overriding a Presidential veto, "requires that the President notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war." President Obama is presently relying upon the Sept. 18, 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force against Terrorism.
UPDATE 12/14/09: For those who are interested, you can sign a petition opposing the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, right here.
Here is the 12/8/09 segment of MSNBC's The Ed Show during which Kucinich appeared...
Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968).