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Joe Courtney needs to hear from us

by: newjeffct

Sat Feb 10, 2007 at 08:09:07 AM EST

I was listening to Colin McEnroe the other day on my way home from work.  He had on a woman whose name I did not catch, but one of them commented that Joe Courtney had NOT heard from anybody who was against the Bush escalation in Iraq. 

That shocked me, as I had written Courtney a lengthy email on Jan. 9 demanding that he do everything in his power to stop the escalation, even citing prior examples of Congress stopping wars, or preventing escalations.

However, the point is that Courtney has only heard from people who support the escalation and we need to do a better job getting our message out.

Courtney's email contact is:

newjeffct :: Joe Courtney needs to hear from us
Some info you can add to your message, courtesy of a fantastic email from the Center for American Progress on January 9, 2007 that even cites Torture Man John Yoo:

Can Congress do anything about it? Some have claimed that anything other symbolic action is unconstitutional. That's false. A wide range of legal experts agree there are a range of legal options available to Congress to stop, or place conditions on, any escalation in the war in Iraq. For example, John Yoo, a former Bush administration lawyer and one of the staunchest defenders of executive power, noted that "the power of Congress over the budget was absolute, to such an extent that lawmakers could end the war altogether if they chose." On the other side of the political spectrum, Georgetown University Law Professor Marty Lederman agrees. A new report from the Center for American Progress illustrates that Congress has acted repeatedly over the last 35 years to ensure the conduct of military action would "strengthen American national security and reflect the concerns and will of the American people." Congress has passed bills, enacted into law, that capped the size of military deployments, prohibited funding for existing or prospective deployment, and placed limits and conditions on the timing and nature of deployments.

CAPPING TROOP LEVELS: Congress has historically exercised authority to cap U.S. troop levels in foreign conflicts. In 1974, the Foreign Assistance Act "established a personnel ceiling of 4000 Americans in Vietnam within 6 months of enactment and 3000 Americans within one year." In 1983, the Lebanon Emergency Assistance Act "required the president to return to seek statutory authorization if he sought to expand the size of the U.S. contingent of the Multinational Force in Lebanon." In 1984, the Defense Authorization Act "capped the end strength level of United States forces assigned to permanent duty in European NATO countries at 324,400." All of this legislation was enacted into law.

RESTRICTING FUNDING: Congress has also restricted funding for certain military operations for U.S. troops. In 1970, the Supplemental Foreign Assistance Law, "prohibited the use of any funds for the introduction of U.S. troops to Cambodia or provide military advisors to Cambodian forces." In 1982, the Defense Appropriation Act "prohibited covert military assistance for Nicaragua." In 1994, Congress restricted the use of funds "for United States military participation to continue Operations Restore Hope in or around Rwanda after October 7, 1994."All of these funding restrictions were enacted into law. Read the report for more examples.

CONDITIONING FUNDING: Alternatively, Congress has authorized military action subject to various conditions. In 1991, Congress authorized the use of force against Iraq but conditioned it on the President "certifying first that means other than war would not result in Iraqi compliance with UN Security Council resolutions." In 2001, President Bush sought authority to respond to the 9/11 attacks to "deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States." Instead, Congress limited the authority to "all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned authorized committed or aided" the 9/11 attacks.

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Here's what I sent Courtney yesterday... (4.00 / 1)
Dear Rep. Courtney,

Please do everything in your power to oppose President Bush's plans to escalate the war in Iraq. It will only get more Americans killed and not resolve the ongoing sectarian conflict.

I also ask you to do everything in your power to prevent the Bush Administration from launching a pre-emptive air and/or naval assault on Iran. That would bring disaster to everyone.

Let me remind you what James Madison, our 4th President, said about war...

"...war is "the true nurse of executive aggrandizement...

Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manner and of morals, engendered in both. No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

Continual warfare is the goal of the Neo-conservatives who infest the Bush Administration. The Bush Administration is insane. They are drunk with power and instead of taking the November 2006 elections as a rejection of their warmongering policies, they are planning on using the limited amount of time left to make things worse for everyone but those profiting on this war.

It's your Constitutional duty, Mr. Courtney, to hold the Bush Administration in check and accountable for their actions.

Remember the words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from his speech title "Beyond Vietnam",
"…wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows" and "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government."

Unfortunately, the last sentence above is still true today. Rev. King Jr. also said in that same speech, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

The Bush Administration has pushed the United States to the brink of becoming a totalitarian state and they want to send us over the edge. They've pushed to increase military spending by sacrificing fiscal responsibility and social programs for the poor. This militaristic direction will create economic instability here and lead this nation to embrace fascism. Remember, the synonym for fascism is corporatism. Here's a link -- http://www.rense.com... -- to Dr. Lawrence Britt's 14 characteristic of fascism. These characteristics were derived from common traits shared by the regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Read them and see how close our Republic is to falling into the darkness of fascism. I also suggest you read Chris Hedges new book, "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America" http://www.amazon.co.... and Watergate whistle-blower John Dean's interviews about the Bush Admin's imperial presidency. John Dean has publicly warned that we are in a proto-fascist state -"John Dean on the Daily Show", July 11, 2006 http://lincmad.blogs.... .

Please Mr. Courtney, do everything in your power to oppose President Bush's insane plans to send more troops into Iraq and to pre-emptively strike Iran. These are the times that call for Profiles in Courage. We have a President gone berserk. We worked to get Democrats the majority so that you could put brakes on the Bush Administration. Use that majority to its fullest potential.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speeches http://www.stanford.....

14 Defining Charasteristics of Fascism by Dr. Lawrence Britt, first published in Free Inquiry, Spring 2003 edition http://www.rense.com...

Thanks (0.00 / 0)
excellent letter.  Let me know if if you get any follow-up.

[ Parent ]
Yes, thank you (0.00 / 0)
Excellent letter and I am writing to Courtney right now.

OK, that was me on Colin . . (0.00 / 0)
promoting the COW meetings on Feb 24th.  I have since heard that my source about Courtney only receiving pro war stuff was not entirely accurate - but no reason to stop telling Courtney we support any efforts he can make to stop the war!

well, I posted the same thing (0.00 / 0)
On Democratic Underground and DailyKos as well - so, hopefully he's gotten a few more calls/emails/letters.  (I do know I had emailed Courtney on Jan 9, but figured it could have gotten lost in the shuffle or caught on a spam filter or whatnot)

Sorry for not mentioning your name, though, I only caught the tail end and sometimes it's hard for me to listen 100% when I'm with my very chatty almost 4 year old daughter in the car.

[ Parent ]
What is this BS? (0.00 / 0)
Trust me- I was at a meeting this weekend with Congressman Courtney and he is voting against the escalation. He is firmly against what the Republicans are doing in Iraq.

Period. No half measures, no excuses.

Did you hear the Congressman on "Where we Live" this morning? Why was this posted? I don't get it.


please read carefully - this is what I got out of it (0.00 / 0)
No one said anything about Courtney's position - what was being described was the state of Courtney's incoming mailbag.

Kim Hynes was the speaker on Colin's show (see above), and she notes above that she was "not entirely accurate" about what kind of mail he's getting.

The point appears to me to be, "Make sure you're writing to Rep. Courtney," not any representation of Courtney's views.  Or did I miss something that you read above?

[ Parent ]
Thank You Congressman Courtney (0.00 / 0)
Why are we wasting our time on this when we could be writing letters to folks who actually need letters. Really what's the point?

Joe Courtney can be trusted. He is on our side. If you want to write letters then write letters to the editor praising Joe's call to limit the National Guard Tours to one year. They have been there now for over two... ergo... bring the troops home.

[ Parent ]
How about a diary with specific suggestions? (0.00 / 0)
This medium is remarkably responsive to ideas from posters.

[ Parent ]
depends on what you're asking for (4.00 / 1)
No half measures, no excuses....He is on our side.

It depends on how you define sides.  I would not doubt that he and most Dems would vote for a non-binding, symbolic resolution against escalation, and I found the "he's doesn't hear from anyone" idea hard to believe.  But this resolution is a half measure and an excuse.  The voters wanted withdrawal and we're supposed to be excited when Congress tries to pass toothless measures that keep the same numbers of troops?

I look forward to hearing otherwise, but I have yet to hear an unambiguous statement from any member of the CT delegation that they support beginning an immediate withdrawal or cutting off funds to force a withdrawal (not just opposing escalation).  Last year, Murphy, Courtney and Farrell explicitly and openly opposed such measures; none of them has co-sponsored a withdrawal bill this year.  Larson has signed onto a couple withdrawal bills, though it's not clear to me how they restrict funding or what teeth they have.  DeLauro has not.  Murphy has said he supports tying appropriations to withdrawal, though he opposes cutting off funds for "troops in the field."  I don't know how you do one but not the other.  I don't believe we'll leave Iraq an hour sooner because Dems are in the majority.  As one commentator points out, it could be done with a filibuster.  But it won't be.

Why are we wasting our time on this when we could be writing letters to folks who actually need letters.

In any case, any lobbyist will tell you that people who you think are friendly to your positions should get reinforcement and should be asked to take a leadership, not just supporting role (particularly someone on the Armed Services Cmte).  You don't take anything for granted and you don't leave people at their current level of commitment.

[ Parent ]
My thoughts exactly. (0.00 / 0)
The voters wanted withdrawal and we're supposed to be excited when Congress tries to pass toothless measures that keep the same numbers of troops?

The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

[ Parent ]
did you read my original post? (0.00 / 0)
I had said that a woman appearing on Colin McEnroe's radio show on WTIC said she had been in contact with Courtney's office and that the only people that had been in contact with Courtney's office had been FOR the escalation.  I did not say a thing about Courtney's position - I had only suggested that we need to work harder in getting the anti-war message out.

She had since said that her contact was incorrect (see her above post) and that Courtney had heard from those against the escalation. (I had also posted that I had emailed Courtney's office on January 9 of this year asking him to do everything in his power to stop the escalation)

And, during the campaign against Simmons, Coutney did not call for a timeline or endorse the Murtha plan or anything similar.

[ Parent ]
during the campaign against Simmons... huh? (0.00 / 0)
OK- Be my guest spin your wheels.

[ Parent ]
This is from Courtney's own website: (0.00 / 0)
He calls it a mistake, but does not call for any troop withdrawal, any timeline or redeployment.  His biggest thing was his call for the removal of Rumsfeld and his call for pressuring Iraqi leadership.  Heck, even Lieberman called for pressuring Iraqi leadership (though, Lieberman flip-flopped the next day) and had alternatively called for Rumsfeld's firing, depending on what the phase of the moon that day.

The Bush Administration's headlong rush into war in March, 2003 has been the biggest foreign policy disaster in a generation. The war in Iraq was justified with inaccurate and misleading intelligence, was conducted with inadequate troop strength and no exit plan, and has left our country isolated in the world with our military stretched to the breaking point.

We are spending $10 billion of borrowed money per month with no end in sight and get nothing but mindless slogans such as "Stay the Course" as a policy from George Bush and Rob Simmons. As a candidate I have spoken out against the Administration's mistakes and mismanagement, calling for Donald Rumsfeld's removal in September of 2005 (see "Destructive Mismanagement") and the shameful, craven support this Congress and Rob Simmons have given to Bush's war in Iraq.

Let me be clear- the predicament in Iraq is not the result of our troops' performance. The men and women in uniform have done the job they were asked to do. They completed the mission of confirming no weapons of mass destruction, they toppled Saddam Hussein, and they gave the Iraqi people the time to create a constitution and hold elections. Rather, the continuing disaster on the ground in Iraq is the direct result of the incompetence of the Bush Administration and the failure of Rob Simmons and the Republican Congress to ask any serious questions, investigate, and demand results.

The people of Iraq need to take control of their country, and this election is about the American people taking control of their's. Moving forward, we need a plan that is clear on what we will - and will not - be responsible for. Here's how we can achieve that both in Iraq and here at home:

Send a strong message to the Iraqis: Months have passed since the people of Iraq voted for a national government, yet fundamental issues such as the division of oil revenue and respect for religious diversity remain unresolved - a clear sign that the Iraq constitution is not a workable arrangement. The Iraqis must be made to understand that the United States has no intention of babysitting a civil war or coddling Iraqi political squabbles. The US should step up pressure on all factions to immediately agree to a power-sharing deal with the threat of a timetable for the strategic drawdown of US forces if the Iraqis fail to take control of their country. Security will occur if power-sharing occurs. We know this from experience in Bosnia , Kosovo and Northern Ireland . Unfortunately, the Bush Administration is unwilling to use a new approach in Iraq which is costing precious time, money and American lives.

Apply Lessons Learned from Bosnia and Kosovo: Democracy is more than simply going to the polls. It's about governing by the rule of law, respecting individual rights, and building a pluralistic society. The lessons we learned in rebuilding Bosnia and Kosovo must be utilized to force the people of Iraq to hammer out a workable political solution to their problems. Only they can stop the widening civil war and build a nation for and by the people of Iraq.

Change on the home front: We need a new Congress that will demand nothing less than the truth (using the power of subpoena if necessary) from the Bush Administration about the many flawed decisions that led us to war. No one has ever been held responsible for what is one of the single greatest foreign policy disasters in our nation's history -- not the President, not Rumsfeld, not Rob Simmons, and not the rest of the Republican Congress that has been nothing more than a rubberstamp for one failed policy after the other.
The truth is that the solution in Iraq must be an Iraqi one, not an American one. We have our part to play, but the Iraqi people and their political leaders must seize the opportunity given them by the American people. Our patience is not unlimited, and electing a new Congress on November 7, 2006 will send a loud and clear message that the days of Donald Rumsfeld's arrogant incompetence are coming to an end and that our system of checks and balances will work to change course in Iraq.


[ Parent ]
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