Why the Progressive Caucus should vote no on the Iraq bill

This essay by David Swanson is an opposing argument on whether the Progressive Caucus should vote on the Iraq spending bill to the one offered by David Sirota published in PEEK earlier today.

The Supplemental spending bill proposed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi funds the war. It gives Cheney and Bush roughly another $100 billion. And you can be quite sure they will spend it as they choose, which may include attacking Iran. In fact, a measure in the bill requiring Bush to get Congress's approval before attacking Iran (an attack that would violate the US Constitution and the UN charter) has been removed.

The bill also requires Iraq to turn much of its oil profits over to foreign corporations. This illegally rewards the Bush and Cheney gang for their illegal war.

Beyond that, the bill does a number of things to nudge Bush in the direction of limiting the war, but most of them are for show.

This bill pretends to ban torture. Torture was always illegal. The framers of our Constitution sought to leave such practices behind in England. The US is a party to international treaties banning all torture. Nonetheless, the last Congress, the Republican Congress, banned torture, and Bush used a signing statement to announce his intention to ignore the ban. Now Pelosi wants credit for pretending to ban torture again. You cannot ban torture under a dictator who has publicly announced that he will ignore your bans. You can only end torture by ending the pretense that there is not a dictator living in the Vice President's house.

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