At this point, the Dems have won a solid majority in the House and a slim majority in the Senate. It remains my sincere belief that the only way to end the war and occupation in Iraq (and probably stop an attack on Iran) is to utilize the power of the purse. This would be to cut off funding of continued war and occupation of Iraq, to call for all groups to continue and intensify their negotiating process and begin with paying repair expenses to that nation's infrastructure. Military funding in this theater should be solely used for an orderly phasing out of U.S. troops from Iraq, and I believe this could be completed by April 2007.
In Congress' last session Jim McGovern of Mass. introduced HR4232. This bill essentially called for all that I specify above. He is expected to reintroduce this, and so the resolution number will change. There will also be a few other very similar bills introduced. This is an area where the Progressive Democrats of America and I agree.
United for Peace and Justice is calling for a major national mobilization in D.C. on January 27th. Although, this gives us on the ground very little time to organize, I think the timing does make sense politically. This mobilization is now being called Mandate for Peace. The objective is obvious. At the end of the Dem's first week in office, peace activists are to descend on the capitol to make it clear what the number one issue in the election was.
Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker elect, has said on CNN and elsewhere that she doesn't think Dems will use the power of the purse. Well, then it is indeed our responsibility to convince her and her colleagues otherwise. This truly is about life and death, about justice and oppression. About asking "Where the hell are the government's priorities?" For the amount we have now spent on war and occupation ($342 Billion) in Iraq, we could have given 204.9 million kids health insurance for one year.
UFPJ has its problems, believe me. Among the top concerns I have with them is a lack of financial transparency and a national coordinator who seems to be in this position for a life time and is a remnant of the Vietnam Era. Hopefully the coalition will change its structure and current leadership, but I am not holding my breath. They are not bad folks, but they are a bit authoritarian and organize differently than most of the local folks here in D.C. With that said, I think we should make a strident effort to make January 27th a huge success. It is our responsibility, as the peace movement, to do so.
While many in the movement appear to be clamoring for impeachment, I see it as a distraction and actually more of a pipe dream than de-funding the war and occupation. With an increasingly unpopular and bloody war we have a chance of beginning to make this effort a bipartisan one. Impeachment proceedings will never be bipartisan, and therefore you have Pelosi saying it's not even on the table. She's smart, and she sees the potential of energizing the Republican base and probably losing power in two years if impeachment was thoroughly pursued.
So to those in the peace and justice movement: Come to D.C. January 27th! The D.C. Anti-War Network will be holding teach-ins and various protests leading up to this significant day of action. All those distrustful of authoritarianism, don't have to march under the banner of UFPJ, but you must turn out in D.C. on that cold winter day!