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My Conversation with Murtha's Office

Marcy Winograd

Marcy Winograd

Last Friday morning, I called Congressman Murtha's office to communicate my outrage that Murtha, Pelosi, Hoyer and the rest of the House leadership planned to push through another $170-billion dollar Iraq War supplemental, some $70 billion more than Bush requested -- all with no timelines or benchmarks or any semblance of accountability or restraint.

Murtha's aide told me the Congressman, Chair of the Defense Subcommittee, hopes to get the supplemental approved by Memorial Day -- but, darn, they're getting a ton of calls from angry people and why don't those people hound the Republicans. My response? The last time I checked it was the Democrats who were in the majority in the House and it was the Democrats who controlled whether or not a supplemental went to the floor for a vote. I told the aide that I needed to understand Murtha's thinking because I was confused as to why a man who has a rep for being critical of the war now wants to give Bush a green light to extend the occupation. The aide told me Bush would take the money anyway, steal it from another budget -- and with this latest proposal at least congress can get some money, tucked inside the supplemental, for veterans' health care and other worthy causes.

I said, "If Bush and Cheney steal the money because you won't give it to them, then so be it--you call them the robber barons they are, you make it a campaign issue, you talk about our children's healthcare being forfeited to pay for the war -- you don't roll over and become complicit, you fight back with courage and conviction."

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For more on what Murtha and the rest of them are thinking -- on their plans to pass this no-strings-attached Iraq funding bill, please read the outstanding article from Truthout, followed by a press statement from Military Families Speak Out.

Murtha, Pelosi, Hoyer, and your lawmaker need to hear from you -- call them at the Capitol Switchboard, 202-225-3121. Tell them no blank check for continuing the occupation of Iraq. Mention that should the House leadership insist on giving Bush the war billions, you will join with others to support challengers, now and in 2010, to each and every Democrat who votes to continue this unnecessary war.