Kucinich, Libya, cruise missiles, Obama, Lugar and Indiana
As regular readers know, we avoid copyright infringement by using our own pictures – yup, we shoot them — so sorry about the paparazzi style picture of Congressman Dennis Kucinich and his wife, Elizabeth. (Hey, I don’t run into him that often so it’s what we have and frankly, a lot of people probably like it better than the usual politician-at-the-podium shot anyway.)
This from the CBS News Political Hotsheet Monday:
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) told Hotsheet today that it’s an “indisputable fact” that President Obama committed an impeachable offense by authorizing a military attack without congressional approval.
“The next question is what does Congress do it about it,” Kucinich said, adding that he hasn’t said he’s introducing a resolution for impeachment.
“This is a teachable moment,” he said. “The American people should understand that our Constitution does not provide for the president to wage war any times he pleases.”
Kucinich and other lawmakers — including both liberal Democrats and some Republicans — are raising concerns about the air strikes the U.S. military is conducting in Libya to prevent Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi from killing civilians who oppose his rule.
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I go back a ways with cruise missiles. Back in the late 1970’s, I used to provide media support for an annual bomb loading competition, which the Strategic Air Command held at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. It was an Olympics-style event in which crews from the various SAC bases would load dummy nukes and the teams were scored on their techniques. It was always a lot of fun and I like the Black Hills.
Defense contractors had little advertising specialties they handed out — lighters, pens, note pads; the usual tradeshow fare. I really should have saved some of that stuff. One year, as I recall, General Dynamics and Boeing were involved in a competition to see who would get the contract for the new cruise missiles. They had the coolest trinkets. (It all had a happy ending when one company got the contract for the air-launched version and the other got the sea-launched device.)
Cruise missiles aren’t cheap because what you’re really talking about is a rather sophisticated, single-use aircraft — so they run about $1.5 million a copy. The planes I’m seeing on TV for the Libya thing right now are all smaller aircraft and a couple of guys punched out of an F-15 this morning, but a B-52 can carry a pretty good load of them and they are launched from a rotating clip like a six-shooter. I’m not sure how many a sub can carry and there are ground-launched versions, too. Regardless, we’ve blown through about $112 million worth of them in the past couple of days. (I think Raytheon makes this stuff now and to the extent that these things have to be replaced, I’m guessing they’re probably doing pretty well on this thing.)
As for what Kucinich is saying, I’m for anything that would cause this country to greatly back off from military adventures in the Middle East and elsewhere. I was opposed to entering Iraq and I think we should have accomplished our mission in Afghanistan by now, too. It seems to me that part of Barack Obama’s appeal in the 2008 election was the idea that we needed to extract ourselves from some of these things, while being less eager to involve ourselves in the first place. I support President Obama, but that doesn’t mean I agree with each and every action he takes. I’m sick of the money, the funerals, the lack of focus and the fuzzy strategic aims.
One thing that makes things like this difficult to sort out is that along with people who may have the purest of motives in these discussions, there are also political opportunists who circle like vultures over any significant decision made by the President. A person I always want to hear from on this type of issue is Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and here’s part of what he had to say yesterday, as reported on the Dow Jones Newswire:
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Senator Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was one of the first to warn loudly about the potential cost and risks of U.S. involvement. After silence on Friday, when he participated in the meeting with Obama, Lugar renewed his warnings on Monday, saying in a statement that “there needs to be a plan about what happens after Gadhafi.
“Who will be in charge then, and who pays for this all. President Obama, so far, has only expressed vague hopes.” He also said that “the facts are that our budget is stretched too far and our troops are stretched too far.” He said that “the American people require a full understanding and accounting, through a full and open debate in Congress.”
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That makes sense to me, as Senator Lugar often does on matters of foreign relations. In fact, Lugar is so sensible that Koch Brothers missionary Dick Armey of FreedomWorks (an evil twin of Americans for Prosperity) will be leading a few days of ragging about him down in Indianapolis later this week – something that was planned way before the Libya thing. They will also have the opportunity to carp about Democratic state legislators of Indiana, who spent weeks hiding out in Illinois to block reactionary GOP changes to education and labor policy in the state.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Their hope is to find a ‘REAL Republican’ to take Lugar’s seat in 2012. Whoever that person turns out to be, being able to find Libya on a map won’t be one of the requirements.
So I’ll bet you were wondering how a strange title and a piece that started out as differently as this one could possibly end up being just another story about the Koch Brothers. But the really funny thing is that it’s not that hard to do. They don’t call it the Kochtopus for nothing.