"Has Sen. Barbara Mikulski Lost Her Soul?"

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“Iraq, like Vietnam, is a no-win, no-end war.”

— Ex-U.S. Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), and also a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War.

Baltimore, MD – If her administrative aide said one more time how much her boss, U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), “cares about the troops,” I think I would have burst a blood vessel. On March 13, 2007, about 30 or so Peace activists met with a representative of her office. The senator, of course, was a no-show. I suspect that if it were the lobbyists from Washington, DC’s K Street , AIPAC or Lockheed-Martin calling, she would have been there. Mikulski just loves taking those campaign donations from the Fat Cats, particularly from the Israel Lobby and the Defense Industry. [1] And, of course, if she gets a telephone call from Ann F. Lewis, her former chief of staff, ex-Democratic Party windbag, Sen.-Hillary-Clinton-for-President pusher and fervent supporter of Zionist Israel, you better believe she’ll answer it–pronto!

Because her aide insisted the office couldn’t handle the traffic, the meeting, over objections, took place in a public square just outside of Mikulski’s official digs in the Fells Point area of this city. Later that day, Mikulski issued a statement saying: “I will not vote to end funding.” On the very next day, March 14th, the Pentagon announced the death of U.S. Army Sgt. Tommy Lee Lathan, age 23, a father of two, who was killed in Iraq. He hailed from Delmar, Maryland. He was the 60th Marylander to die in the conflict, hatched by that slippery Neocon, Paul Wolfowitz, the former Deputy Secretary of Defense, and others. [2] It’s surreal! Mikulski want to protect the U.S. troops by leaving them in the middle of a vicious Civil War, which most experts now agree can only be ended by way of “a political” settlement. [3] Meanwhile, the latest estimates put the Iraqi death toll at a staggering 655,000. [4] Mikulski never mentions the Iraqi dead or the horrific suffering of its 26 million people. Why not?

Just imagine, if a demented guide (President George W. Bush Jr.) offered a tour of Death Valley, CA, (where the temperature can hit a 120 degrees fahrenheit in the shade). He tells you: Don’t worry, we’ve taken every precaution. You agree for one of your children to go on the trip with him. The guide is an absolute fraud. He’s lied about everything. He takes your money and now your son is missing. Then, suppose this scheming guide/con artist, says: Send me another one of your children to fix the problem. Now, there is a raging desert wind storm, covering the area. Question: Is this parent supporting her children by going along with the deceptive guide? Or, should she be working to get her first child out of harm’s way and have the guide placed in an institution for the criminally insane? This is the situation in Iraq today. The American people have been conned by the Liar-in-Chief, President Bush, who should be impeached. The war is based on pack of rotten lies. [5] The “Surge” will not fix the problem. It can only extend it. And, tragically, Sen. Mikulski is buying Bush’s con job. In effect, she is consciously complicit in his wrongdoing.

It’s former Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, USA, Retired, not Sen. Mikulski, who has it right about Iraq. He said in testimony before the House of Representatives’ “Out of Iraq Caucus,” on Capitol Hill, on Sept. 26, 2006: “Wise commanders know when to make tactical withdrawals in order to regain the strategic initiative. The wisdom and moral courage to change course for strategic purposes is what is needed today, not mindless rhetoric about ‘staying the course.’ Cutting and running from Iraq is neither cowardly nor imprudent. It is the only way to recover from what is turning out to be ‘the greatest strategic mistake in American history.'” [6]

At the session with the senator’s staff, one of the Peace activists, a high school teacher, Ms. Rebecca Hansen, wondered aloud what many of us were thinking to ourselves: “She [Mikulski] seems to have lost her soul!” We know the senator voted against the Iraqi war. However, since then, she has consistently voted to fund the conflict to the tune of $411.3 billion. [7] She also voted twice for the draconian USA Patriot Act. What kind of Liberal does that? The question that continued to come up at the gathering was: “Where is the antiwar leadership from Mikulski?” [8]

Jay Gillen, another Peace activist, at the protest action, had this to say on that issue: “It’s nonsense that she (Sen. Mikulski) shares our goals…She’s not trying to stop [this war]…I haven’t seen her on television saying ‘stop this war!’ When is she going to do that?…When is she going to say that we should close the torture camps? When is she going to say that the…soldiers in Iraq, who don’t belong there, should get out to protect them? When will she say this in public? We’ve been asking for years. She refuses to make a public stand in favor of ending this war.” [9]

On March 16, 2007, on the Senate floor, Mikulski barked: “I will not vote in any way to harm the men and women in the U.S. military.” Recently, she also popped off at a Congressional hearing about “not abandoning the troops when they come home.” She was forced to speak out on the issue of the inadequate health care needs of the returning veterans as a result of the scandal at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Yet, it is her votes for funding the war that has filled the beds at Walter Reed and at many other overcrowded and understaffed VA hospitals around the country. [10] If Mikulski cares about the troops: Why did it take a “Washington Post” expose’ to get her attention?

The Peace advocates read off the names of each of the Maryland troops who have died in Iraq. One was Cpl. Jayson David Mileo, who was from Centerville, MD. He was 20 years of age and he was killed on April 14, 2003, by “friendly fire.” When activist Maria Allwine read off Milio’s name and displayed his picture, she added: “He was killed by Congressional authorization, continued funding and ‘a complete lack of spine and leadership’ on the part of our Congress.” [11] Take that, Sen. Mikulski!

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Odom, who is also a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, has carefully studied the Iraqi conflict. He said that our present strategy aids, “our enemies,” like Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. He also believes: “We squander American lives and money, and lose allies and the moral authority we need…The longer the U.S. stays in Iraq, the worse it will get.” [6] Why won’t Senator Mikulski listen to the wise words of Lt. Gen. Odom?

As of March 13, 2007, when the Peace activists met with Mikulski’s staff member, 3197 Americans had died in Iraq. Since that meeting, 44 more Americans have been killed, which brings the total to date to 3241. Mikulski says she “cares about the troops” and won’t do anything to “harm them.” The truth is that more of them will soon die in Iraq and sustain serious injuries because of her. She’s voted to fund that war and to put them in harm’s way. She is an enabler of the Bush-Cheney Gang of Con Men, Liars and Neocons. She has proven that over and over again by her inaction, indifference and gross neglect. Mikulski is, in fact, pro-Iraqi War! Finally, she has done little or nothing to bring the troops home in an expeditious and safe manner.

On March 22, 2007, the arrogant Mikulski relented somewhat. She did participate in a telephone conference call with some of the Peace advocates. However, she indicated that she would “vote for” the supplemental [funding for the war] and gave no indication that she would offer an amendment to it [mandating] a timetable for U.S. withdrawal…Tina Richards, with the “Military Families Speak Out,” and a mother of a U.S. Marine, who is being involuntarily recalled for his third tour of duty in Iraq, told the senator: “Members of Congress need the courage to do the right thing. The right thing is to cut off the funds and end the war.” [12]

Bottom Line: The people of America voted on Nov. 7, 2006, to end the war in Iraq and to bring the troops home. Polls support that view by a wide majority. Sen. Mikulski is ignoring that mandate. She must now accept full legal, ethical and moral responsibility for whatever happens to our troops in this blood stained conflict. Every dead and wounded U.S. soldier, every innocent Iraqi who dies, every taxpayer dollar wasted, every new enemy made for America, is on her conscience. Iraq is Sen. Mikulski’s War!

Notes:

[1]. http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/
indus.asp?CID=N00001945&cycle=2004

[2]. http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/
display/12365/index.php

[3]. http://www.iraqslogger.com/index.php/post/1801/
Petraeus_No_Military_Solution_to_Iraq_War

[4]. http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/10/11/iraq.deaths/

[5]. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/

[6]. http://democracyrising.us/content/view/739/164/

[7]. http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=
com_wrapper&Itemid=182

[8]. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/20350 and
http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/
viewArticle.asp?articleID=8255

[9]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1DpPLNKKAg

[10]. http://www.counterpunch.org/smith03082007.html

[11]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnduZgjPNoU

[12]. http://democracyrising.us/content/view/835/164/ See also,
http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/
viewArticle.asp?articleID=22039

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