HIGHTOWER: War Profiteering

While a bloody and costly war raged in Iraq, while such domestic needs as health care and infrastructure repair are crying for attention, while state governments are so strapped that they're slashing even basic services -- you'll be thrilled to know that our stalwart congressional leaders, By Gollies, have stepped up and delivered! Delivered what to whom? Delivered a $726 billion giveaway from our public treasury to the richest people in America.

Question: What's the opposite of progress? Answer: Congress.

Yes, the Republican-led congress that has refused to debate something as profound as the declaration of war in Iraq, has found the time to ram through an obscene grant of much-needed tax dollars to the country's least needy and most frivolous people.

The vote in the house came at 3 a.m. and passed on a party-line vote just hours after George W. launched his Iraq attack. Even some Republican members were gagging on this sickening giveaway, so GOP leaders wrapped it in the flag, saying that it was "crucial" not to hand an embarrassing legislative defeat to Bush at the outset of the war. I can only imagine the surge of gratitude that our troops must have felt when they learned that their sacrifice was used by these shameless scoundrels as a rationale to give billions to rich families whose kids don't have to fight in their country's wars.

Later that same day, the senate passed its version of Bush's tax scam, with one little twist. Senator Russ Feingold offered an amendment to take $100 billion from the rich people's windfall and set it aside to cover the cost of the Iraqi war -- and it passed.

Incredibly, the White House is maneuvering to get the house-senate conference committee to drop Feingold's patriotic war-funding provision and hand the full $726 billion to the wealthy. After all, they shouldn't have to give up any of their tax break just because of a little ol' war, should they?

What an embarrassing moment for American patriotism.

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