Saturday, January 27, 2007

Thousands Protest, No One Hears

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Tens of thousands of people marched through the nation's capital today to protest the Iraq War and other demented Bush Administration policies.

A raucous and colorful multitude of protesters, led by some of the aging activists of the past, staged a series of rallies and a march on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq.

Under a blue sky with a pale midday moon, tens of thousands of people angry about the war and other policies of the Bush administration danced, sang, shouted and chanted their opposition.

They came from across the country and across the activist spectrum, with a wide array of grievances. Many seemed to be under 30, but there were others who said they had been at the famed war protests of the 1960s and '70s.
Thousands Protest Bush Policy

Lots of activists, actors, and other celebrities showed up, but according to the Washington Post story, one of the most moving speeches came from a twenty-one year old wife of a soldier who's serving in Iraq:

But the most moving words were [Oriana] Futrell's.

"My husband deployed last June to Iraq," she said. "He is an Army infantry officer currently patrolling the streets of Baghdad. And I just have to say I'm sick of attending the funerals of my friends. I have seen the weeping majors. I have seen the weeping colonels. I am sick of the death."

"I don't know what else to say, other than: 'Bring them home,' " she said. "It is time. We need to bring them home where they can be safe."

Can't you just imagine Jonah Goldberg trying to tell her what a crybaby she is for not wanting her husband to stay over there until the job is done? I can certainly imagine her kicking his doughy butt all the way down the Mall.

Meanwhile, Congress has resolved that it won't do anything meaningful on Iraq. The Senate voted down Chris Dodd's proposal:

A real bill, with real teeth, went before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, Chris Dodd's. The Beltway Bubble Establishment moved into action immediately to kill it. Ultimate Beltway Bubble Establishment Shithead, Joe Biden, tried to pressure Dodd into withdrawing the bill. Dodd refused. Biden was joined by 4 other Democrats who want to pass the toothless nonbinding symbolic thing-- Cardin (D), Nelson (FL), Casey (PA) and Webb (VA; it was a nice speech last night) and all the Republicans, both the Bush Regime dead-enders like Lugar (IN), Corker (TN), Issacson (GA), Vitter (LA), Voinovich (OH), Murkowski (AK) and DeMint (SC), and the ones who want to appear to be against the war without actually voting against Bush: Sununu (NH), Coleman (MN), and, distressingly, Hagel (NE).

Most Dems On The Foreign Relations Committee Vote Against Escalation ...

Webb and Hagel voted against it. I have no idea why Webb voted against it. Here's what he's quoted as saying the Chicago Tribune:

Five Democrats, as well as all 10 of the committee's Republicans, rejected Dodd's approach. Part of their reasoning was political -- they thought it would not pass Congress.

"This is not the place or the time," said Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), a war critic who delivered the party's response to the president's State of the Union address.

Senate: 'Slow-walking' war vote?

It never is the time, apparently. In fairness, Webb just got there. We'll see how things go. This is in keeping with Hagel's policy of talking like a rebel on Iraq but never doing anything substantive, however.

Instead, the Foreign Relations committee have decided to pass a bill that means absolutely nothing, which Bush will ignore anyway (h/t Howie Klein). The vote was 12 to 9, with only Hagel supporting it among the Republicans. The much hoped-for "bipartisan opposition" failed to materialize behind even this tepid bit of nonsense. In short, the Republicans played the Democratic leadership like they always have. Hagel tried to shame his Republican colleagues this way:

But Hagel implored his colleagues to take a stand after four years of docile acquiescence.

"What do you believe? What are you willing to support? What do you think? Why were you elected?" he asked. "If you wanted a safe job, go sell shoes. This is a tough business."

Senators Rebuff Bush on Troop Plan

Clearly, Senator Hagel has never made a living as a shoe salesman.

Ostensibly, the language of this meaningless exercise in doing absolutely nothing was too strong for the Republicans, however, who will now offer their own:

But several Republicans indicated they would vote for a resolution of opposition if the language were toned down. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), a presidential candidate, said he was in talks with Warner on a resolution he could embrace. Others were still awaiting some sign of compromise from the president.

Senators Rebuff Bush on Troop Plan

To answer Senator Hagel's questions, they believe in nothing, they will support whatever will keep them in the style to which they're accustomed, they think they like being Senators, and they were elected to keep someone even worse from taking their places.

I'm not mad at the Republicans. I should be, but they've always been slimy mealy-mouthed hypocrites who were mostly interested in their own well-being. I expected more of the Democrats, Webb particularly. Clearly, I was never optimistic that anything would actually be accomplished, but Congress seem to be going out of their way to make sure they don't confront Bush about anything. It seems that, once again, we've voted for people who won't do what we pay them to do, which is run our country for us. The only difference is who's in charge.

Maybe Oriana Futrell needs to kick their doughy butts down the Mall, too. I'd pay to watch that.

UPDATE: shoephone dropped by and tried to link to her coverage of the SOTU, but was defeated by the URL killer. The Evergreen Politics blog also has a roundup of news coverage related to the march.

UPDATE2: Marion In Savannah quotes from a NYTimes editorial on the march, and another one about Bush and energy policy and the lack of intersection between those two things.



One thing foremost in their minds, the attack ad of them being accused of not "supporting the troops".

shoephone said...

Wow. That was powerful, Cujo. It's hard to understand why Webb, after his great rebuttal to Bush's b.s. SOTU, wouldn't support the resolution that seems to mirror his publicly stated vision for ending the war. And it never ceases to amaze me how the cowardly chicken hawks are the first ones to criticize the people who know the true costs of war. Futrell should be on every news show and every cable show. I was in D.C. this last week, and walked through the protest on the mall. Unfortunately, I arrived shortly after the main speeches ended. It was a really well-organized, and well-attended protest.

In case you're interested, I blogged about the SOTU, which I was able to attend. Things are not what they seem on T.V.!

shoephone said...

Hmm. That didn't work too well. Just go to:

"Blogging From D.C." (Jan. 24, 2007)

Nell said...

Cujo, thanks very much for your comments on Jane Hamsher's demo-disparaging post and for the pointer to here.

I took part in a large and (I believe and hope) effective lobbying effort at Webb's office on Monday, which is only the beginning of the pressure we will bring to bear on the new senator. When I recover a little, I'll post on shoephone's excellent question at my blog,

The short answer is: Dem senators have all bought into a strategy of a broad meaningless resolution to attract maximum number of cosponsors and votes as an "opening wedge to crack the door", which they visualize being followed by "busting through the door" later with substantive, binding, funds-cutting or funds-directing bills.

Even if one buys into that as a strategy in the Senate, Warner's already sabotaging it by offering a competing non-binding amendment to Biden-Hagel, designed to attract Republicans and keep them from B-H.

What's more, we don't buy it as a strategy. So there's going to be a long, protracted struggle, which we hope we can keep from turning unfriendly, between Webb and a significant chunk of the base that elected him.

Cujo359 said...

Hi Nell,

Unfortunately, I think you're right, that's the Democrat's strategy and in all likelihood it won't work to get us out of Iraq any faster. There are times when a careful, slow approach is the way to go. This isn't one of them. People are dying by the truckload in Iraq every day, and it's only getting worse. Nothing we're doing appears to be making things better, and we're arming all the sides in this conflict as we train their security forces and arm them. In the end, we're just making things worse by prolonging our stay.

Meanwhile, thanks for helping to keep up the pressure.