23 November 2014

For the past 10 months I've worked on a project at www.afterdowningstreet.org to urge Congress Members to hold the Bush Administration accountable for crimes and abuses of power.  Some Democratic members of Congress have been as helpful in this effort as Fox News.  Some have been less.  In that last category you can list Jane Harman.

When Congressman John Conyers wrote a letter to Bush asking him to explain the Downing Street Memo, and 120 Congress Members signed it, Harman didn't.  When Barbara Lee introduced a Resolution of Inquiry into the Downing Street Memo, and over 100 Members co-sponsored it, Harman didn't.  Kucinich's Resolution of Inquiry into the White House Iraq Group?  No Jane.  Holt's inquiry into the Plame leak?  Uh-uh.  Barbara Lee's commission on pre-war intelligence?  Not Harman.  Lee's commission to monitor the treatment of prisoners in US custody?  Jane was elsewhere.

Of course there have been a lot of other bills related to the war.  Harman must have supported something, right?  Well, Hastings' resolution to give inspectors more time before pulling them out and bombing the country must have slipped behind Harman's desk by mistake before she could sign on.  It might have landed there on Harman's membership forms for the Progressive Caucus and the Out of Iraq Caucus; she's in neither.  McGovern's bill to cut off funding for the war is mysteriously missing Harman's signature too.  Even Murtha's proposal to redeploy must have been accidentally overlooked by Harman's staff.

There is a bill to end the war eventually some day (HR 55), but Harman apparently finds that too radical.  And, oddly, Honda's Student Privacy Act to allow high schools not to give names and contact info of students to military recruiters unless their parents approve has been deemed unacceptable by Representative Harman.  That title ("Representative") begins to achieve a strange ring.  Whom is she representing?

What about HCR 35, Woolsey's plan for withdrawal?  Jane's not behind it.  Allen's bill requiring no permanent bases in Iraq?  Not for Jane.  The Price/Miller bill for withdrawal?  Not up Harman's alley.  And Allen's bill to assure adequate funding for VA health care?  Jane has other priorities. 

Of course, when Congresswoman Woolsey put forth an amendment requiring the President to simply have an exit plan, any exit plan, Harman must have joined the rush to support that?  Well, no. 

Harman appears to have signed onto only two bills that challenge the war in any way.  One is Barbara Lee's bill requiring no permanent bases.  The other is Skelton's nonsensical request that the President devise a way to measure "success" in Iraq.

Lee has another bill, disavowing the doctrine of preemption.  Harman's not ready for that one.  And Lee's demands for information on secret prisons in Europe and warantless surveillance?  Uh, no, just not Harman's thing.  Give her a break already!

Congressman John Conyers has introduced two bills to censure Bush and Cheney, and a bill (H Res 635) to create an investigation into grounds for impeachment.  Harman is 0 for 3 on those.

And money for the war?  Harman voted for it in 2003, against it in 2004, and for it again in 2005.  What'll she do this week, with another mountain of cash on the table?  There's reason to hope she'll vote no.  But that reason is Marcy Winograd, who is challenging Harman in a June 6th Democratic Primary in California's 36th District (Los Angeles). 

Marcy comes out swinging on her website http://www.winogradforcongress.com with these words at the top:

"Marcy Winograd, President of Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, thinks it's time a real Democrat challenged 36th District Congresswoman Jane Harman, a supporter of the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, new nuclear weapons development, secret detentions and the suspension of due process, and illegal government wiretapping of private American citizens. Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, remained silent for over a year after being briefed on the Bush administration's violation of federal wiretapping law (FISA) and recently told 'Meet the Press' that she deplores the New York Times for informing the American people that the Bush Administration ignored the law."

Who is this Marcy Winograd?

"As a long-time opponent of the Iraq war and occupation, Winograd was instrumental in getting an anti-war resolution passed at last year's California Democratic Convention and worked with Assemblyman Paul Koretz to draft a resolution calling for a moratorium on depleted uranium weapons systems. Playing a leadership role to protect our vote, Winograd helped establish the California Election Protection network, a grassroots organization that successfully lobbied for State Senator Debra Bowen's bill requiring a paper trail for electronic voting recounts. In her position as Media Reform Chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, Winograd hosts 'They Say/We Say' -- a public access television show which highlights the plight of returning veterans and underscores the importance of citizen activism."

And what would Marcy do if we send her to Congress?

"As a congresswoman, Marcy would immediately join the 'Out of Iraq' caucus in Congress, vote to defund the war, and lobby to spend the war billions on social programs for education, health care, housing and the environment. 'The best intelligence, the most effective defense against terrorism,' says Winograd, 'is to craft a sound foreign policy and build strong social networks that unite, rather than divide, the world community. Pre-emptive wars that kill and maim thousands of innocent Americans and Iraqis will only create more terrorists and undermine our security. It is time for a new vision and a new leader in the 36th Congressional District.'…

"Marcy supports immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, cessation of air strikes over Iraq, an end to no-bid reconstruction contracts for war profiteers, no permanent US military bases in Iraq, war reparations so that Iraqis can reconstruct their own country, and diplomatic efforts to involve regional Arab stakeholders in fostering peace and unity in Iraq. Marcy calls for an end to Bush's first-strike pre-emptive nuclear war policy, secret detentions, suspension of due process and torture, and illegal wiretaps of Americans.  Winograd rejects pre-emptive war on Iran, while vigorously supporting renewed Israeli/Arab peace talks aimed at establishing a Geneva Accord two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.  Winograd believes the United States should join the International Criminal Court to underscore the importance of the rule of law to prosecute international terrorists before a world community -- and believes Congress should, as Congressman John Conyers suggests, pass a unified security budget that integrates and balances the importance of preventing the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons with beefing up homeland security (ports, other transportation centers) and creating international goodwill through a renewed commitment to fight poverty, AIDS, and illiteracy both at home and abroad."

Not bad, huh?  If Democrats want to end this war (and they do) they will need to replace every Harman in Washington with a Winograd. 

Marcy does not include in her statements anything about holding Bush and Cheney accountable for their crimes.  We'll need to lobby her on that, and doing so will help her win.  But Harman is a collaborator in and a defender of the crimes of the current regime.  She has no place in a democratic government.  Send her home!