Common Dreams - July 3, 2020
Democratic members of the House Armed Services Committee teamed up with Republicans this week to pass an amendment co-sponsored by Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney—daughter of notorious "war on terror" architect Dick Cheney—that prohibits Congress from spending money to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan without first meeting a series of vague conditions that critics said appear designed to prevent withdrawal.
The amendment (pdf)—co-sponsored by freshman Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.)—states that before the number of U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan can be reduced below 8,000, the Pentagon must certify that the withdrawal "will not increase the risk for the expansion of existing or formation of new terrorist safe havens inside Afghanistan" and "is in the best interest of the United States national security and in furtherance of United States policy toward Afghanistan for achieving an enduring diplomatic solution."
Despite a small bipartisan effort by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to defeat the amendment, the measure easily passed by a vote of 45-11 and was added to the committee's version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amended $740.5 billion bill then passed out of committee Wednesday by a unanimous vote of 56-0.
Just three Democrats on the Armed Services Committee—Reps. Khanna, Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Anthony Brown (Md.)—voted against the Cheney-Crow amendment, which would also restrict President Donald Trump's attempt to withdraw over 9,000 troops from Germany. The full roll call vote can be viewed in two parts here and here.
"This left-right anti-war coalition is no match for the war machine composed of the establishment wings of both parties and the military and intelligence community," The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald wrote Thursday, referring to the alliance between Khanna and Gaetz as well as outside groups that share their concerns.
"It should come as absolutely no surprise," added Greenwald, "that House Democrats are finding common cause with Liz Cheney and other GOP warmongers to block any efforts to reduce even moderately the footprint of the U.S. military in the world or its decades-long posture of endless war."
Read full report at Common Dreams