Thursday, January 04, 2007

Accountability happens

This helps.
Amidst all the add-ins, pork spending, and excitement of the budget process, it has now come out that a tiny clause was slipped into the Pentagon's fiscal year 2007 budget legislation. The one sentence section (number 552 of a total 3510 sections) states that "Paragraph (10) of section 802(a) of title 10, United States Code (article 2(a) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), is amended by striking `war' and inserting `declared war or a contingency operation'." The measure passed without much notice or any debate. And then, as they might sing on School House Rock, that bill became a law (P.L.109-364).

The addition of five little words to a massive US legal code that fills entire shelves at law libraries wouldn't normally matter for much. But with this change, contractors' 'get out of jail free' card may have been torn to shreds.
The mercenaries have been running amok for far too long. I'm sure most of them conduct themselves in an ethical manner but a mechanism for holding the renegades accountable is long overdue.

This doesn't.
While President Bush and his fellow Republican lawmakers have been the target of many protests since the invasion of Iraq in 2002, this time around, a Democratic press conference was disrupted by a group of anti-war protestors, which included "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan.
Sorry, I have great empathy for Cindy and I support their cause in general but grandstanding like this right out of the gate only gives the hawks another rich opportunity to paint the anti-war movement as fruitcakes. I'm all for holding the Dems accountable but I might suggest we give them a few weeks to prove themselves first. It doesn't seem useful to be disrupting their press conference about ethics reform when they've barely set foot through the door.
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Anonymous lester said...

I disagree. All i want from them is to stop the war. I could care less about their welfare state expanding 100 hours of fun.

2:07:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

They're addressing ethic reforms straight out of the gate, which will end corporate welfare to some degree Lester, or are you only concerned about pulling the safety net out from under poor people? Besides this grandstanding makes it that much more difficult for them to address the war. It makes them look like they're caving into fringe lunatics and it turns the anti-war debate away from the war on onto the tactics which frankly give the appearance of a three year old demanding attention.

Sorry, I support the cause but I think the tactic is dumb and is only making Cindy not only irrelevant but a liability to ending the war.

2:20:00 PM  
Anonymous lester said...

how will "appearences" affect their principles? No I don't at all care about the alleged saftey net for the poor or any other democratic pork projects. end the war. go cindy. rahm emmanuel isn't fit to hold cindy's ...hand

3:01:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

That's the point about this tactic Lester. To end the war you need public support and in politics, appearance is often more important that substance in getting things done. The public is what the public and they're easily manipulated by symbols.

I think Cindy did a great thing in motivating the anti-war movement to become visible but when the press becomes about Cindy and not about the war ending, then she's defeating her own purpose and it just makes her look like a self-absorbed lunatic - which will not help end the war. Principles are fine, but you have to be pragmatic too.

Meanwhile, let's save the welfare argument for another day. I'm just not up to it this afternoon.

3:22:00 PM  
Anonymous lester said...

well, none of those issues matter to me. I voted against the war. I'm not interested in the democratic party and the things they stand for.

3:43:00 PM  
Blogger libhom said...

I disagree with this posting's premise. I don't think people who engage in civil disobedience against corrupt politicians who support a heinous war are "nutcases."

Sadly, the Democratic Party leadership has said that cutting off funding of the war (the only way Congress can stop the war) is "off the table." In other words, the Democratic Party leadership has publicly stated that they will act as enablers of the war. That makes them deserving of all the protest they get and more.

If the Democrats don't cut off funding for the war, it will prove that they are completely bought and paid for by Big Oil, Halliburton, Blackwater, and other corporate interests. So far, the "reforms" are starting to look highly cosmetic in nature.

11:31:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Libhom don't get me wrong. I don't think they're nutcases and I understand the reasons for the protest. What I question is the timing and the manner.

I'm not the one you have to convince. I believe in the cause but to be effective you have to get converts. I don't think this particular action was helpful. When Cindy camped in Crawford, she galvanized the people who were afraid to come forward and voice their dissent, precisely because she came across as a humble and grieving mother. What happeneded yesterday merely feeds into the perception that she's beconme a grandstander out for herself. I not saying that's a true or fair picture, but it's one the right wing has painted of her and this gives them ammunition. What you don't want to do to force the already converted into retreat.

Believe me, in another month, I'll be the first in line to hold the Dems feet to the fire but I won't be doing it by attempting to drown them out either. There's more issues than just the war that are important to address in the next two years. To demand that one issue takes immediate precedence strikes me as counterproductive to the greater good.

9:35:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Well, Lester, I voted against the war too but I do care about more than one issue. Ethics reform, voting integrity and health care are all important, among others.

9:37:00 AM  

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