Thursday, June 15, 2006

Laying their cards on the table 

Today the 100 members of the United States Sentate got to vote on whether or not they wanted to continue with the war in Iraq indefinitely or establish a timeframe, the December of 2006, for the end of U.S. involvement there. In spite of the fact that most Americans now view the war as a mistake the U.S. Senate voted in a very lopsided manner to continue the war.

The vote was actually on motion to table the amendment to require and end to the U.S. war in Iraq - so in voting "Yea" they were voting to table the amendment and continue with the war. You can think of it as "Yea" to continue with the war, and "Nay" to end the war. Here is the very sad outcome of this vote, by Senator:

Akaka (D-HI), Yea

Alexander (R-TN), Yea

Allard (R-CO), Yea

Allen (R-VA), Yea

Baucus (D-MT), Yea

Bayh (D-IN), Yea

Bennett (R-UT), Yea

Biden (D-DE), Yea

Bingaman (D-NM), Yea

Bond (R-MO), Yea

Boxer (D-CA), Nay

Brownback (R-KS), Yea

Bunning (R-KY), Yea

Burns (R-MT), Yea

Burr (R-NC), Yea

Byrd (D-WV), Nay

Cantwell (D-WA), Yea

Carper (D-DE), Yea

Chafee (R-RI), Yea

Chambliss (R-GA), Yea

Clinton (D-NY), Yea

Coburn (R-OK), Yea

Cochran (R-MS), Yea

Coleman (R-MN), Yea

Collins (R-ME), Yea

Conrad (D-ND), Yea

Cornyn (R-TX), Yea

Craig (R-ID), Yea

Crapo (R-ID), Yea

Dayton (D-MN), Yea

DeMint (R-SC), Yea

DeWine (R-OH), Yea

Dodd (D-CT), Yea

Dole (R-NC), Yea

Domenici (R-NM), Yea

Dorgan (D-ND), Yea

Durbin (D-IL), Yea

Ensign (R-NV), Yea

Enzi (R-WY), Yea

Feingold (D-WI), Nay

Feinstein (D-CA), Yea

Frist (R-TN), Yea

Graham (R-SC), Yea

Grassley (R-IA), Yea

Gregg (R-NH), Yea

Hagel (R-NE), Yea

Harkin (D-IA), Nay

Hatch (R-UT), Yea

Hutchison (R-TX), Yea

Inhofe (R-OK), Yea

Inouye (D-HI), Yea

Isakson (R-GA), Yea

Jeffords (I-VT), Yea

Johnson (D-SD), Yea

Kennedy (D-MA), Nay

Kerry (D-MA), Nay

Kohl (D-WI), Yea

Kyl (R-AZ), Yea

Landrieu (D-LA), Yea

Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea

Leahy (D-VT), Yea

Levin (D-MI), Yea

Lieberman (D-CT), Yea

Lincoln (D-AR), Yea

Lott (R-MS), Yea

Lugar (R-IN), Yea

Martinez (R-FL), Yea

McCain (R-AZ), Yea

McConnell (R-KY), Yea

Menendez (D-NJ), Yea

Mikulski (D-MD), Yea

Murkowski (R-AK), Yea

Murray (D-WA), Yea

Nelson (D-FL), Yea

Nelson (D-NE), Yea

Obama (D-IL), Yea

Pryor (D-AR), Yea

Reed (D-RI), Yea

Reid (D-NV), Yea

Roberts (R-KS), Yea

Rockefeller (D-WV), Not Voting

Salazar (D-CO), Yea

Santorum (R-PA), Yea

Sarbanes (D-MD), Yea

Schumer (D-NY), Yea

Sessions (R-AL), Yea

Shelby (R-AL), Yea

Smith (R-OR), Yea

Snowe (R-ME), Yea

Specter (R-PA), Yea

Stabenow (D-MI), Yea

Stevens (R-AK), Yea

Sununu (R-NH), Yea

Talent (R-MO), Yea

Thomas (R-WY), Yea

Thune (R-SD), Yea

Vitter (R-LA), Yea

Voinovich (R-OH), Yea

Warner (R-VA), Yea

Wyden (D-OR), Yea

In case you didn't actually count the vote was 93 to continue with the war indefinitely versus 6 voting to set a deadline. What made this vote even sadder for me, if no less predictable, is that it is so remaniscent of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution authorizing the Vietnam War which passed with the only slightly more lopsided margin of 98 to 2. The U.S. Senate supposedly takes great pride in its traditions. Apparently voting en masse to throw away untold numbers of lives in futile, pointless, and morally unjustifiable wars is one of those traditions.

There is no small irony in this vote coming on the same day that U.S. deaths in Iraq reached the 2,500 mark with those wounded over 18,000. One wonders how different a similar vote will be once the death toll reaches 5,000 or 10,000. I suspect not much. And it's pointless to even bring up how many Iraqis have died in this debacle. If the largely working class and poor Americans who are dying in this war count for little in the estimation of the esteemed Senators, it can be safely assumed the Iraqis themselves count for nothing.

It is worth noting though how some of the Senators who like to wear the label "liberal" on their shirt sleaves voted - Clinton "yea", Schumer "yea", Dodd "yea", Leahy "yea", Mikulski "yea", Feinstein "yea", Obama "yea". Recently its been fashionable for some to critcize Senator Lieberman (who of course voted "yea" too) as a sellout, an apoligist for the war, and an enabler for Bush. Of course, he is all of those things. But look at the votes - the guy has lots of company.

Now some will try to come up with the excuse of these votes were just for political cover - they couldn't go on record opposing the war lest they be vulnerable to defeat in the next electon. Bullshit. There isn't a snowballs chance in hell people like Clinton, Schumer, Dodd, or Leahy would lose their next election no matter how they voted on this.

No, this wan't a vote based on political expediency. They voted their convictions. They support the war, full stop. In one sense there is nothing wrong with that, that's what they are there to do. What really needs to be noted here is that for those who oppose the war step number one is stop pretending the people that are in the U.S. congress now will somehow end this war. They won't. That is the first thing that those of us opposed to the war have to internalize. If you don't see that after today you are willfully blind.


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