Democratic Congressman Becomes Bump In The Road In Administration’s Mad Rush To War

Ah, Hawkye Pierce and Father Mulchahy…

And I’m hoping and praying that the bump becomes a hump the size of Mount Everest.  Here’s a snippet from an interview between The Atlantic’s Molly Ball  and Congressman Alan Grayson, D-Florida.

There was some thought that John Boehner and Eric Cantor coming out in favor of intervention might mean momentum was building in that direction. 

Absolutely not. I think it’s a fantasy to talk about momentum. Conceivably it will end up losing two to one instead of four to one.

But there certainly is no momentum in favor of the other side’s point of view. They’re going to have to line up a staggering percentage of the undecideds to even come close. The ones listed as undecided, I’ve talked to lot of them. They’re not really undecided. They’re just waiting for a prudent time to make clear that this doesn’t make sense for America.

You sound pretty confident that the resolution will be defeated. 

I am confident it will be defeated in the House. That’s not to say we can defeat it by doing nothing. The administration is trying to dominate the discourse here. They’ve scheduled four meetings with Democratic members this week, and they are basically seeing to it that skeptics or opponents don’t get any time in front of other members. They feel if they just repeat themselves often enough, they’ll be able to prove their case. I don’t think it’s going to work based on what I’m hearing.

Everybody goes in with an open mind, but all the administration’s cards have been turned over. At this point, members are painfully familiar with the arguments already. There’s no sense among members that they’re going to be able to explain a “yes” vote here to their constituents, particularly if it turns into a quagmire. What the public sees is that we can’t afford this anymore. The public also understands that every time we do something like this, it seems to end up a big mess, and America has problems of our own to deal with. There are 20 million people in this country looking for full-time work. How do you explain to them the virtues of military adventurism and humanitarian bombing 6,000 miles from home?

Most members will end up voting with their constituents. There are some Republicans who never met a war they didn’t like, and [among some Democrats] there’s a certain institutional loyalty to a Democratic president. But beyond that, particularly when we’re four weeks from a government shutdown and six to eight weeks from the government running out of money, most recognize that [the situation in Syria] is obviously not our problem.

How do you respond to the humanitarian argument, that we’ve got to respond to stop or mitigate the slaughter? 

That’s a nice sentiment, one which I often share. But the fact is, no one has been able to come up with a game plan here that makes any sense. If we could end suffering in Syria through a military strike, that would be a decision worth thinking about. But no one is suggesting that’s going to happen here. No one is suggesting this will end the dictatorship. No one is suggesting this will defeat the al-Nusra rebels who want sharia law and no rights for women. No one is suggesting this will actually prevent a gas attack in the future. No one is suggesting this will do much of anything except give a slap on the wrist to [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad in hopes that maybe something good will come out of that. I actually would support humanitarian aid to the refugees. There are 2 million of them in Jordan and Turkey right now, and I think they could use our help. My concept of humanitarian aid is food, medicine, shelter, clothing, not bombs. The concept of a humanitarian war, humanitarian bombs, humanitarian missiles, is bizarre to me. I don’t support it.

Read the whole thing.

You may have read elsewhere that the reason the voices against war have fallen silent is because many Democrats have left the field. Graphs for a very short time span seem to indicate that very thing. But short term line charts are notoriously confused for signal, when they are often just noise. Which is just one more reason to turn up the squelch on your receiver and get a clearer signal. Like this one:

Other Congressional reps are noticing that military constituents keep telling them to vote “no” on military action against Syria. Did I mention Pope Francis is against military action? On the other hand, there is this baloney from the Secretary of State: if we don’t do something, the Syrian rebels will get more brutal. I see. Mr. Kerry must not subscribe to the Marine Corps Times.

You know,  one of the minor miracles that occurred along my path into the Catholic Church was when I met a retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel who left the ranks to become a director for my local diocesan office of Justice and Peace. You may recall that he gave me a little book that was chock full of useful information. And it wasn’t a little pamphlet, but 250+ pages of text, with another 200 pages of footnotes of scripture citations and papal encyclicals, exhortations, etc. It included gems like chapter eleven, and believe you me, if hearing those words makes you think of bankruptcy, this is the opposite of that.

Peace is built up day after day in the pursuit of an order willed by God and can flourish only when all recognize that everyone is responsible for promoting it. To prevent conflicts and violence, it is absolutely necessary that peace begin to take root as a value rooted deep within the heart of every person. In this way it can spread to families and to the different associations within society until the whole of the political community is involved. In a climate permeated with harmony and respect for justice, an authentic culture of peace  can grow and can even pervade the entire international community. Peace is, consequently, the fruit of “that harmony structured into human society by its Divine Founder and which must be actualized by men as they aspire for ever greater justice.” Such an ideal of peace “cannot be obtained on earth unless the welfare of man is safeguarded and people freely and trustingly share with one another the riches of their minds and their talents”.[Guadiam et Spes, 78.]

You see, the Church has been thinking about war and peace for over two millenia, and committing those thoughts not only to paper, but into actions. If you clicked on the links embedded in the paragraph above, you’ll find that a number of the documents were the work of Pope Paul VI. Pope Francis knows his work, as in a speech given to the United Nations in October of 1965, Pope Paul VI exhorted us as follows,

And now We come to the high point of Our message: Negatively, first: the words which you expect from Us and which We cannot pronounce without full awareness of their gravity and solemnity: Never one against the other, never, never again. Was it not principally for this purpose that the United Nations came into being: against war and for peace? Listen to the clear words of a great man, the late John Kennedy, who declared four years ago: “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.” Long discourses are not necessary to proclaim the supreme goal of your institution. It is enough to remember that the blood of millions of men, numberless and unprecedented sufferings, useless slaughter and frightful ruin are the sanction of the covenant which unites you, in a solemn pledge which must change the future history of the world: No more war, war never again. It is peace, peace which must guide the destinies of peoples and of all mankind. Our thanks to you, glory to you, who for twenty years have labored for peace and who have even suffered the loss of illustrious men in this sacred cause. Thanks and glory to you for the conflicts which you have prevented and for those which you have brought to an end. The results of your efforts on behalf of peace, including the most recent, even if they are not yet decisive, are such as to deserve that We, presuming to interpret the sentiments of the whole world, express to you both praise and gratitude.

If you haven’t contacted your legislators yet, do so now. I have, and I’ve even gotten a couple of positive responses.



Give them a call, and let know them where you stand on this issue. While it’s on your mind, go sign and share Rep. Grayson’s petition too.

And speaking of folks waging serious peace, have you listened to Neil Young’s Living With War album yet? It’s prophetic, as usual. Let your mind run on the lyrics from the title cut as preparation for tomorrow’s day of prayer and fasting for peace.

Pax Cristi, and Semper Fidelis.

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