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The radicalization of antiwar congressman Walter Jones, R-S.C.

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Beautiful report by George C. Wilson at the Nation on South Carolina Congressman Walter Jones’s crusade to get American out of Afghanistan. Joined by antiwar Democrats, like Filner and Woolsey and Schakowsky (Oh Jan where are you on Israel!) and Kucinich, and Republican Ron Paul. The greatness of this piece is: We are all born into certain attitudes. I was born into them in the Jewish liberal East Coast. When we grow up we get to think for ourselves. Walter Jones is thinking for himself, about America’s crazy foreign policy. From Wilson’s piece:

Even though more retired military people live in Jones’s district than in most other districts in the country, he has discovered that many marines who served in Afghanistan agree with him that the United States is fighting a hopeless, never-ending war for a corrupt government. Jones, who gets down on his knees every night to pray for God’s guidance on the issues he will be voting on in the House of Representatives, is conscience-stricken about all the American lives being lost or ruined in Afghanistan and Iraq. His conscience, laminated to his guilt for voting to invade Iraq in 2002, has radicalized this conservative Republican from rural North Carolina into doing everything he can to get the roughly 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan the hell out of there.

Jones is seeking co-sponsors on a bill that would force President Obama to send a plan to Congress to pull all our troops out of Afghanistan. Jones is especially eager to win over Republicans to his side in hopes of compelling Boehner to become more flexible on the pullout. As of the May Congressional recess, Jones had forty-one co-sponsors signed up, including seven Republicans.

Jones has allied himself with liberal Democrat Dennis Kucinich on many issues raised by the “war on terror” and Obama’s decision in late March to go to war against the Libyan government without bothering to get Congressional authorization. “We must not let any war continue absent legal authorization by Congress,” Kucinich said. He contends that Obama not only violated the War Powers Act of 1973 but also the Constitution, which empowers Congress, not the president, to declare war and provide for the common defense, in Arti-
cle 1, Section 8. Kucinich has vowed to force a vote in the House “to end US military operations in Libya.” Jones and Kucinich are discussing filing suit in federal court to force a judicial ruling on whether Obama overstepped his constitutional bounds regarding Libya.

Jones is also a point man in an effort in the House to grab back from the president the powers the founding fathers gave Congress to declare war and provide for the common defense…

Here is Jones’s brief for withdrawing from Afghanistan as early as December 31, drawn from our talks and his recent statements on the House floor and in news conferences:

§â€ˆ”Afghanistan will never be changed,” no matter how many troops we send there or how many billions we spend in the corruptly led country. “Great leaders and great nations have tried to change Afghanistan. We’re trying to change a country that no one else has changed. It’s different from Iraq in a multitude of ways. At least Iraq had a semblance of government. Afghanistan has none of that.”

§â€ˆThe Afghan Infrastructure Fund of $400 million “would help create another ‘bridge to nowhere,’” Jones contended in championing an amendment to eliminate the money. It is “going to be borrowed money from the Chinese to begin with…. We’re propping up a corrupt, dishonest government headed by President Karzai,” he said. “And we’re going to say to the American people, we can’t help you with your infrastructure needs in your counties, in your towns.” Jones’s amendment was defeated 294 to 135, but he got ninety-nine Democrats and thirty-six Republicans, including Republican Fred Upton of Michigan, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to vote with him.

§â€ˆ”I want to share very quickly a letter from a retired colonel who’s a marine [who] lives in my district,” Jones told his House colleagues. He quoted: “‘I would have been on my third or fourth deployment by now to a war that has gone on too long…. It makes no sense if we’re there four years or forty. The results will be the same…. This war is costing the United States billions of dollars a month to wage, and we still continue to get more young Americans killed. The Afghan war has no end state for us.’”

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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