The House of Representatives voted yesterday to deny the resolution put forward by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) that called for Obama to bring the troops home from Afghanistan. The vote was 356 against the resolution, 65 in favor, with nine not voting.
It was clearly a vote that showed that there is one key issue in Washington where the Republicans and Democrats largely agree and that is on endless war. Out of the 356 votes to shoot down the resolution 189 of them were Democrats and 167 were Republican. Only five Republicans voted in favor of the Kucinich resolution.
I watched most of the three-hour debate via C-SPAN and it was quite interesting to see that the two leaders on the House floor managing the anti-Kucinich resolution effort were liberal Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and right-wing Cuban-American Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Miami, Florida.
Our two representatives from Maine (Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree) both voted to support the Kucinich resolution. Very good. Now we have to see if they vote against the next war funding supplemental of $33 billion expected to come up late next month and will they become leaders in the House to help bring others in their party around on this issue? It’s nice to have their support on this resolution but by looking at the vote totals it is clear that unless the Democratic Party comes around on this issue soon we will have no $$$ back home for jobs, education, health care, bridge and road repair and a whole lot more!
Some of the language from those who spoke during yesterday’s debate was of particular note. Rep. Berman called the recent U.S. attacks on the rural hamlet of Marjah in Afghanistan a great success, calling it a “city” and justified the surge in Afghanistan as revenge against “those who attacked us on 9-11”.
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said we can’t “pull out now” or we’d lose face around the world. This debate, she claimed, will “demoralize our troops.”
Several Democrats expressed disappointment and outrage that the Kucinich resolution was even allowed to come to the House floor. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) said House members “should not be allowed to waste three hours of our time on a resolution that should fail.” Rep. Jane Harmon (D-CA) also spoke against the resolution and made the case that “We now have a better strategy from our president.” Rep. John Tanner (D-TN) also called for defeat of the Kucinich resolution and said, “NATO is becoming a global military alliance that will help us fund and supply troops [for our wars] around the world.”
Kucinich and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) responded saying that this was really the first time since the war on Afghanistan began that the House was allowed to really debate the war.
Not one person I heard, including Rep. Kucinich, mentioned a mumbling word about oil/natural gas pipeline routes through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) called it “despicable” that only two members of the media were covering the debate. When I looked on the web site of the Washington Post I could find nothing about the Kucinich resolution.
As I said above five Republicans voted with Kucinich on his resolution. John Duncan (R-TN) said, “There is nothing conservative about the war in Afghanistan. Fiscal conservatives should be horrified about the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been wasted over there.”
Former civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) made an emotional appeal for support for the anti-war resolution and asked the question, “How much more debt must we bare?”
Immediately after Lewis spoke, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) came to the podium. I recognized Johnson because he was the business community candidate put up to run against former Rep. Cynthia McKinney for her seat. Johnson called the resolution an “usurpation of the power of the Commander in Chief….our policy is bringing promising results….the resolution is ill-timed and ill-conceived….let the president implement his strategy.” His corporate funders in Atlanta were likely pleased that their investment in his House seat was already paying dividends.
We must thank Rep. Kucinich but in the end the whole three-hour affair really showed just how bankrupt the Congress really is.
Here is the full list of those who voted in favor of the Kucinich resolution to bring our troops (and war $$) home from Afghanistan.
—- YEAS 65 —
Jackson Lee (TX)
Johnson (IL) (Republican)
Johnson, E. B.
Sánchez, Linda T.
—- NOT VOTING 9 —
Prediction: When the voted comes in late April on the next $33 billion war supplemental I would bet my bottom dollar that half those on the Democrat party list above will turn around and vote for the money. That vote will be the true test of who is for real on this issue.
[DS added the video]
Kucinich does mention the pipeline at 1:37 in.
Congressman Kucinich Closes Afghan War Debate Includes Final Vote Tally
March 11, 2010