“If we’re going to cut programs for children who need milk in the morning, if we’re going to cut programs for seniors who need a sandwich at lunch, if we’re going to cut veterans benefits, then, for God’s sake, let’s bring back our troops from Afghanistan.” Thus said Representative Walter B. Jones in a recent speech in Beaufort, North Carolina. Jones is not a Democrat. He is a Republican, and a very conservative Republican on most matters. His district is likewise very conservative, and includes one of America's largest Marine Corps bases, Camp Lejeune (where I was born and raised).
Congress is beginning to rebel in earnest against Barack Obama's war policy in Afghanistan. Recently Jones and Democrat Jim McGovern of Massachusetts sponsored an amendment to H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2012, to speed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region. The vote on H. Amdt. 344 (follow the link to see how your Rep voted) to require from the President "A plan and timeframe on accelerated transition of military operations to Afghan authorities." That is pretty tame by my we should have never gotten in standards, but 8 Democrats joined 207 Republicans to vote against it. 26 Republicans and 178 Democrats voted for it. The amendment failed.
What is going on? Why is the Community Organizer President wasting U.S. blood, and $10 billion a year or so in taxpayer money, on occupying Afghanistan? Why are otherwise ideologically pure Republicans turning against the occupation?
I have observed that whether people are left, liberal, moderate, conservative or right-wing, some reality will seep in through ideological filters some of the time. Mostly people buy into ideological and (filtered) factual bundles because they have limited time and knowledge; it is the easy way to go. But push their noses close enough to manure, or roses, and most people can tell the difference, regardless of ideology.
Right-of-center is a bundle of people, but beware of over-generalizing. No every right-of-center person fits the leftist view of being a biblical fundamentalist war mongering anti-immigrant anti-environment racist. Very few, in fact, fit that description. Avoid talking about the Bible and even the fundamentalists can be pretty astute about real world issues.
The people of the United States of America has been in a new world of hurt since the Great Recession began. A good many people who were middle-income learned suddenly what it is like to be at the bottom. To want to work, but to have not jobs available. To need to patch something, but be unable to afford the patching material. To lived crowded in with relatives that, truth be told, they would just as soon see once a year at a family reunion.
The Afghanistan war never made sense to me and my peace movement friends. The U.S. could have saved over $100 billion and many lives by sending in the CIA, not the Marines. In the end it was the CIA that got Bin Laden.
So what is wrong with President Obama? We aren't in community organizing mode anymore. Barack is now in the eye of the corporate security state. He has not visited the grieving parents of the children the U.S. military has "accidentally" killed in Afghanistan. He has not stood as a soldier and watched people watching him, hoping he would step on an IED. He lucked into the Presidency without having any real accomplishments before arriving in that esteemed office. He wanted to be President, and for that he was more than happy to become the most important piece on the military-industrial complex chess board.
Community Organizer has lately shown willingness to take lunch away from American children to appease two bullies, the Pentagon and the super-rich Americans who are happy to deduct heavy taxes from their employee's payrolls but don't want to (and mostly don't) pay taxes on inheritance, dividends, and capital gains.
If you can't smell what's happening here, you have lost your sense of smell. In a contest between Barack Obama and Walter B. Jones, I'd vote for Walter. Hopefully more Republicans will join Jones in the next vote on funding Afghanistan that comes before Congress. After all, the Constitution says Congress is supposed to make policy. The President is only supposed to carry out the laws and policies enacted by Congress.
See also the NY Time article, An Antiwar Republican, No Longer His Party's Pariah