Wednesday, June 10, 2009

$100B War Supplemental May Fail - It's Not the Attachments So Much As the Lack of an Exit Strategy

Ever pressing their case, Nonstop Pentagon Radio's David Welna gave us 3 minutes this morning of the pesky hangups getting in the way of Congress coughing up another $100B in walking-around-money for the Pentagon in the form of a war supplemental bill for the Pentagon.

In the lead up to the story, Inskeep says the problems are not in "funding the troops," but in the attachments. That's not quite true: the real problem for many Democrats who are angling to stop the bill is the lack of an exit strategy.

Welna's entire report can be detailed in little space.

The Senate passed its version of the spending bill 86-3 "so you might think the skids would be greased" but there are some issues
  • $5B for International Monetary Fund at Obama's request is not liked by Republicans.
  • 51 Democrats in the House objected to expanding the AfPak war without an exit strategy.
  • Many Democrats object to preventing release of photos of detainee abuse.
  • "But wait, there's more:" (like he's selling Ginsu knives) the Senate version includes a prohibition on using money to transfer detainees from Guantanamo
Lindsey Graham's nattering nasal is heard in outrage that we would show pictures of what we do in the war,
I cannot believe that we're about to do this, that we're going to dismiss the advice of our commanders who are leading our troops at a time of war to give in to a fringe element.
and this is followed by Joe Lieberman's ever unctious, sonorous fail,
Senator Graham and I will not go quietly into the night.
Dick Durbin is heard supporting transfers from Guantanamo, an obviously sensible position, but still one requiring a place holder for the dark side of the argument. The best they can do is Rep. Peter King (R NY), who is heard not exactly opposing the idea, but suspicious of the WH tactics:
I think the administration is trying to ... make a point ... they're trying to take a case where they feel a conviction is somewhat easy and use that as a precedent for bringing other detainees to the United States.
which allows Welna to segue to a close:
That may well be the administration's plan but it won't be possible if the war plan bill passes as it stands now. That's left the WH insisting on changing the bill even as it urges House and Senate to pass it.
The words "war supplemental" were apparently not important to use together in this story. The preferred phrase is "war funding," as if there would be no funding without the supplemental - yet another huge war supplemental without an exit strategy - exactly the sort of thing Obama faulted Bush for in '07 and not only voted against, but built his winning campaign for the White House on.

Late breaking development: I've just received an email from Just Foreign Policy's Robert Naimon
For once, I'm not necessarily going to ask you to call your own Representative. Instead, I want you to go to Firedoglake's Citizen Whip Tool, using the link below. If your own Representative is on the target list, call your Representative. Otherwise, look for another Representative from your state, or any other Representative you'd like to call. Please use the Citizen Whip Tool to report your result. The bill is H.R. 2346, the 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act, which includes funding for the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq and for the IMF.

With each passing day, the IMF/War Supplemental gets more controversial. As Mark Weisbrot notes, the story is getting out that the IMF wants $100 billion in U.S. tax dollars to bail out European banks. Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department has rebuffed Members of Congress who asked for reforms of IMF policy to be attached to the IMF money.


Anonymous said...

yet another huge war supplemental without an exit strategy - exactly the sort of thing Obama faulted Bush for in '07 and not only voted against, but built his winning campaign for the White House on."

Those of us who voted for Obama have to face the fact that Obama is doing quite the opposite of what he promised.

He's shown himself to be no different from most other politicians in that regard.

He's just a little more eloquent than most.

In fact, he played our hopes like a virtuoso violinist.

Sad, but true.

Admitting that one has a problem is the first step toward liberation.

"My name is Joe Democrat/Independent and I'm am Obamaholic"

miranda said...

It's true, Anonymous, except that Obama did promise to double down on the pointless, endless Afghanistan war. Many of us, who bought into the manufactured fear of another Republican administration, must have thought he was kidding, or at least would reconsider. Nope, he considers it the "good" war. And the "bad war" he ran against isn't ending anytime soon either.

Those who were listening closely during the campaign and not, as I was, focusing on image, could have foreseen the things that are happening now (though maybe not the degree of secrecy, etc.)

bug!punk!fizzy!binny! said...

Well... At least glad I kept my karma a little cleaner by not voting for him. And don't be thinkin' I went for that other guy either.

Anonymous said...


perhaps you can direct us toward a comment that Obama made during his campaign in which he said he would continue to fund the war in Afghanistan through this back door "supplemental" method.

That's what the above post was about.

Obama made lots of statements about Afghanistan in the past.

But as pointed out above, he specifically (and correctly) criticized the Bush administration in the past for this "supplemental funding" charade.

With his attempt to fund his wars in this manner, he is now quite clearly doing the opposite of what most people might reasonably have expected him to do base on his past comments.

Anonymous said...

The "Obama Pattern" is emerging from the smoke of the campaign:

He was against "supplemental funding" for wars before he was FOR it.

He was FOR releasing the torture photos...before he was AGAINST it

He was FOR single payer health care...before he was AGAINST it.

He was FOR withdrawing all troops from Iraq...before he was AGAINST it.

He was FOR transparency in government ...before he was AGAINST it.

It's not just a single issue that Obama has backtracked on (or even done a 180 on, in some cases)

It's a whole slew of things.

As they used to say on the TV game show To Tell the Truth: "Will the REAL Barak Obama please stand up?"

To tell the truth indeed.

miran-duh? said...

I'm sorry, Anonymous, I wasn't addressing the specific issue of supplemental funding. I was responding to the general issue of disappointment with Obama, style over substance, and his fulfilled campaign promise to escalate in Afghanistan.

A thousand pardons if my comment wasn't sufficiently clear.