Tag Archives: iraq war

Appeasing the Liberals to Win IMF War Funding

House Approves $106B Bill to Fund Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan

The House today passed a $106 billion bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through September, as House Democrats backed President Obama despite misgivings among the ranks about his strategy in Afghanistan.

The 226 to 202 vote came after Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner had called some reluctant Democrats during the day imploring them to back the bill, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had strongly pressed her colleagues in a closed-door meeting to vote for the bill in a show of support for Obama, even if they oppose his strategy for increasing troops in Afghanistan. In the end, 221 Democrats voted for the bill, while 32 opposed it.

All but five Republicans opposed the bill after the White House inserted money to fund a line of credit for the International Monetary Fund, which the GOP said amounted to a “global bailout.”

“We are in the process of wrapping up the wars. The president needed our support,” said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who had earlier said he opposed the war funding but voted for it in the end. “But the substance still sucks.”

…House Democrats had put off the vote for more than a week, looking to win support for the bill. President Obama, who had pushed to insert a provision in the bill to bar the release of photos depicting abuse of detainees held in U.S. custody abroad, demanded the Senate take out the provision to win votes from House liberals who said they would not support the war bill if the photo ban was included.

In the end, 19 House Democrats backed the bill who had opposed it the first time, although some cited loyalty, not agreement with Obama’s plans, as their reason. Full Story

Campaign to stop IMF and war funding

Related: Obama Pleads for $100 Billion Loan to IMF to Fund Wars

Obama Pleads for $100 Billion Loan to IMF to Fund Wars

Democrats agree to IMF money in U.S. war bill

Democrats in the U.S. Congress have reached a deal to boost support to the International Monetary Fund, lawmakers’ aides said on Tuesday, a victory for President Barack Obama who pledged to help the lender assist countries in the global economic crisis.

The war funding measure will provide a $100 billion credit line to the IMF, increase the U.S. member contribution to the IMF by $8 billion and authorize the United States to back the IMF’s plan to sell 400 tons (12.97 million ounces) of gold, said the aides, who declined further identification.

Obama had pleaded with the House of Representatives and the Senate to approve the provisions and the full funding package is expected to be completed in the coming days.

The bill must be voted on in both chambers before being sent to Obama. The House approved a $96.7 billion measure for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without including the IMF provisions while the Senate approved a $91.3 billion version with them.

The final package is also expected to include funding for eight Boeing Co C-17 military transport planes that the House approved but the Senate cast aside, one source said.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye said that “so far” 11 Lockheed Martin C-130 transport planes approved by the House also were in the compromise package.

Other unresolved disputes include how much additional economic aid to provide Pakistan.

The House ignored Obama’s IMF request when it passed its version and Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, a senior Democrat, expressed reservations about including it until European countries did more to stimulate their economies.

Obama’s credibility has been on the line with world leaders because he pledged the support at a Group of 20 nations meeting in April. The G20 agreed to provide the IMF $500 billion more to help developing countries coping with the economic downturn.

“Even if the $500 billion isn’t completely used, it is part of the overall strategy from this administration about building confidence around the world,” said Nancy Birdsall, president of the Washington-based Center for Global Development.

Additionally, congressional authorization is needed for the U.S. representative to the IMF to vote on the gold sale.

Democrats could have some problems getting the final bill through the House because about 50 anti-war Democrats voted against it initially because they opposed the wars while senior House Republicans have expressed unease about including the IMF provisions in an emergency war funding bill.

“We should not be having this discussion. IMF funding has no business being included in the war supplemental” bill, said Representative Eric Cantor, a member of the Republican leadership.

It would take a defection of almost all Republicans and the anti-war Democrats for the bill to fail but because the measure funds U.S. troops in the field, it is unclear whether they are willing to vote down the measure.

To learn more about the IMF see: Funding the IMF for the ‘New World Order’

Soldier Abuse of Guantanamo Inmates

Former Gitmo guard recalls abuse, climate of fear

Army Pvt. Brandon Neely was scared when he took Guantanamo’s first shackled detainees off a bus. Told to expect vicious terrorists, he grabbed a trembling, elderly detainee and ground his face into the cement — the first of a range of humiliations he says he participated in and witnessed as the prison was opening for business.

Brian Neely

Brian Neely

Neely has now come forward in this final year of the detention center’s existence, saying he wants to publicly air his feelings of guilt and shame about how some soldiers behaved as the military scrambled to handle the first alleged al-Qaida and Taliban members arriving at the isolated U.S. Navy base.

His account, one of the first by a former guard describing abuses at Guantanamo, describes a chaotic time when soldiers lacked clear rules for dealing with detainees who were denied many basic comforts. He says the circumstances changed quickly once monitors from the International Committee of the Red Cross arrived.

The military says it has gone to great lengths in the seven years since then to ensure the prisoners’ safe treatment. “Our policy is to treat detainees humanely,” said Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman.

Full Story

See Also:

Prisoners Interrogated, Tortured and Killed
10 Reason Iraq Veterans Oppose the War

Military Luring Immigrants With Promise of Citizenship

U.S. Military Will Offer Path to Citizenship

Stretched thin in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American military will begin recruiting skilled immigrants who are living in this country with temporary visas, offering them the chance to become United States citizens in as little as six months.

Immigrants who are permanent residents, with documents commonly known as green cards, have long been eligible to enlist. But the new effort, for the first time since the Vietnam War, will open the armed forces to temporary immigrants if they have lived in the United States for a minimum of two years, according to military officials familiar with the plan.

Recruiters expect that the temporary immigrants will have more education, foreign language skills and professional expertise than many Americans who enlist, helping the military to fill shortages in medical care, language interpretation and field intelligence analysis.

“The American Army finds itself in a lot of different countries where cultural awareness is critical,” said Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, the top recruitment officer for the Army, which is leading the pilot program. “There will be some very talented folks in this group.”

The program will begin small — limited to 1,000 enlistees nationwide in its first year, most for the Army and some for other branches. If the pilot program succeeds as Pentagon officials anticipate, it will expand for all branches of the military. For the Army, it could eventually provide as many as 14,000 volunteers a year, or about one in six recruits.

About 8,000 permanent immigrants with green cards join the armed forces annually, the Pentagon reports, and about 29,000 foreign-born people currently serving are not American citizens.

Full Story