June 2, 2006
Debate Iraq?
By Perry Willis

Today's Downsizer-Dispatch . . .


* Why we are doing our first campaign on Iraq * Media announcement


Big government does so much harm in so many areas that there are countless opportunities to take action. We can't tackle every issue, so how do we pick-and-choose? We do it according to our larger purpose.

Our mission is to build a large army capable of compelling Congress to Downsize DC. Therefore, we tend to focus on issues where rational discussion is possible, preferring issues whith broad trans-partisan agreement, so as to recruit more people faster.

You may have noticed that we rarely focus on the issue or crisis of the day. If the media and the politicians are obsessing about a subject we probably won't join the riot.

It seems to us that the "hot issue of the day" usually generates more heat than light. When people debate these issues they engage in reactive rather than reflective thinking. Egos and emotions overwhelm rational thought, shouting ensues, and no one learns much of anything.

Does the world really need one more shouting voice? Are we at really so wise that the world simply can't do without our "two cents" in a shouting match?

When you think about it, this is exactly what politicians want. They love "Crossfire," "Hannity & Colmes," "Hardball," et al. They want, as the old Monty Python skit put it, "to buy an argument."

* Arguments divide the people into partisan teams. * Arguments get the team lathered and generate fundraising opportunities.

We're not interested in invented and hyped partisan shenanigans. Why, for example, isn't anyone shouting about port security this week? Nothing has changed, but no one cares anymore. It's old news. Now everyone is worked up about something else. This is how politics works its mischief. Spin and lather. Repeat.

When it comes to hot-button issues, little can be gained when everyone is too busy emoting to take the time to think. We refuse to launch a campaign about an issue where we can't see both how to Downsize DC AND overcome all the shouting. It is for this reason that we haven't commented on several current stories, including the War in Iraq.

The Downsize DC team stated its position about the war in Iraq before the war started. We did so at a site called This site was frozen once the war began in March, 2003 (with the exception of the opening splash page). We made a number of claims and predictions that we wanted people to be able to judge later. For instance, we predicted that no weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq. It was a bold claim. It was also correct. Our other claims and predictions have also stood the test of time and reality. So it's not that we're hiding our position. We simply choose to not waste our time speaking to a non-listening audience.

Now, things seem to be changing. Fewer people are shouting about Iraq, and more people are thinking. Perhaps it is time to speak. Maybe some will listen. There are also other issues at stake.

No one who holds the office of the President of the United States is an emperor, regardless of which party he or she belongs to. Bill Clinton was not emperor. George Bush is not emperor. Hillary Clinton will not be emperor either, if she becomes President. The President does not rule by decree. His or her actions are supposed to be checked and balanced by the Legislative and Judicial branches. Sadly, Congress has so far been a rubber-stamp for the Executive Branch's policy in Iraq. It is Congress, from a Constitutional perspective, that is supposed to exercise oversight. Even if you support our government's current actions in Iraq, surely you still believe that Congress has a Constitutional duty to debate the policy and judge its effectiveness on a regular basis.

Is it possible that such a debate in Congress will also generate more heat than light? In our view it is almost certain. But that isn't the issue in this case. Many statements from the Executive Branch have also generated more heat than light. The point is that Congress has a Constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and a balance to the Executive Branch.

Some will argue that such a debate will give aid and comfort to the insurgents. But if the insurgents are sophisticated enough to follow the U.S. Congress, they are also sophisticated enough to follow U.S. public opinion. They already know that a majority of Americans have grave doubts about the President's policy. More importantly, a debate in Congress will affirm the nature of America. We do not let one person rule unchecked.

This issue is also important from a Downsize DC perspective. The President's Iraq policy has already consumed more than one quarter of a trillion dollars, with no end in sight. Most of this spending has been approved with little or no debate. Much of it has been wasted. Much of it has been corporate welfare. It is absolutely essential that Congress begins to debate how this money is being spent.

There are two resolutions in Congress calling for a debate on Iraq. Both have been bottled up in committee. This can change, at least in the House, if a majority of Representatives sign a discharge position to bring the issue directly to the floor. 95 Representatives have already done so.

We would like to see 123 more do the same. We would like to see Congress do its deliberative job. We hope you agree.

If you agree that Congress should debate, please send a message encouraging your Representative to sign the discharge petition. You can do so here.

In closing, I want to stress that the discharge petition does not call for bringing home the troops. It only permits debate on that question. So much is at stake. You may think the policy for Iraq was correct. But does that mean you think Congress shouldn't exercise oversight? Shouldn't Congress determine what victory would look like, and discuss how, at some point, we'll bring our troops home?


Date: Friday, June 2, 2006

On 15 Stations: KXCL 1140 AM Liberty, MO, KLIO 1340 AM Poplar Bluff, MO, KNAK 540 AM Delta, UT, KOHI 1600 AM St. Helens, OR, WARL 1320 AM Providence, RI, WASG 550 AM Pensacola, FL, WHBS 1400 AM Moultrie, GA, WIJD 1270 AM Mobile, AL, WITA 1490 AM Knoxville, TN, WKHB 620 AM Pittsburgh, PA, WLBE 790 AM Leesburg, FL, WSGF 1340 AMAugusta, GA, WTHV 810 AM Valdosta, GA, WWAB 1330 AM Lakeland, FL, WZNO 1230 AM Pensacola, FL

Time: 3:00 PM Eastern 2:00 PM Central 1:00 PM Mountain Noon Pacific

Guest: Jim Babka, President, Length: 1 hour Host: Jerry Hughes Show: The Jerry Hughes Show Topic: and the "Read the Bills ACT" (RTBA) Internet: Click on the CIL|On Demand button, right side of page. You'll need Winamp or Windows Media Player.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Jim Babka President, Inc.

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