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Pelosi speaks to dissonance
on Iraq war funding

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi addresses delegates
at the California Democratic Convention in Sacramento.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

May 1, 2006

By Luke Thomas

Congresswoman and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a "whole different policy" regarding the war in Iraq when - and if -she becomes the majority speaker in congress in November.

"Well, if I become Speaker of the House, we have a whole different policy," Pelosi said. "You have to think completely differently. You talk about an agenda for change, an agenda for progress, an agenda that says 'if you want peace, work for justice.'"

That scenario largely depends on San Francisco voters who will either continue to support a representative largely at odds with its anti-war constituents, or look to alternative congressional candidates promising San Francisco voters to do all they can to end the war in Iraq, including voting against war appropriations.

To date, Pelosi, who voted against going to war in Iraq, has not missed a vote in support of appropriations for the war, thus enabling the Bush administration to sink over $170 billion of tax-payer money into a war that has resulted in over 2,400 US deaths, and by conservative estimates, the deaths of as many as 50,000 Iraqi civilians.

According to Pelosi, appropriating war funds should not be construed as being in support of war.

"As long as our troops are in harms way, we have to take care of them," Pelosi explained. "There's just no question about it. We cannot leave them abandoned. They didn't make the policy.

"They're at risk and you can't say to them ' we're cutting off your supplies and your food.' Stopping the funding did not stop the war in Vietnam. The war was over a couple of years before they stopped the funding. There just is no correlation. People have that impression, but what you have to do first is to get the troops out of harms way," Pelosi added.

For many San Francisco voters, Pelosi's support for war appropriations is seen as tacit support for sustaining the war in Iraq.

Pelosi, the current speaker for the congressional minority, is expected to become the next Speaker of the House if Democrats are successful in their bid to take back congress.

For this to scenario to play-out favorably, the Democratic Party has to appeal to more moderate and conservative voters across the nation.

But Pelosi needs to win her own district - even if Democrats are successful in winning back congress. With two years before US voters return to the polls to elect a new President, the Democratic Party could muster enough congressional support for impeachment of both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, thereby paving the way Speaker Pelosi to become the first female US president.

But to do that, Pelosi has to win her own District and San Franciscans have a valid concern that Pelosi is not representing the anti-war will of the majority of her constituents.

Addressing those concerns, Pelosi said, "I think most people in our district want the war to end. We just have to end it. It's not a question of depriving our troops the protection they need; it's a question of changing the policy that is there. And I understand their frustration for past mistakes."

Green Party congressional candidate, Krissy Keefer, an anti-war activist, artist, and a mother, said in a telephone interview, "Eighty percent of San Francisco constituents are against the war in Iraq. Regardless of Pelosi's personal and professional dilemma, she does not represent San Francisco, a constituency that comprises some of the most forward thinking voters in the United States."

Krissy Keefer




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