>Should a member of the U.S. armed forces from Nevada, or a member of the Nevada National Guard ever find him or herself in the predicament of Lt. Col. Jeff Tice, held by the former regime in Iraq and brutalized for 76 days – don’t count on Representative Jon Porter (R-NV3) for any help. First, the Bush Administration opposed the former prisoners and appealed a ruling awarding them damages, and now the Administration has vetoed the Defense bill because it contained a provision that could have allowed Iraqi assets to be frozen in U.S. banks by Americans, who like Tice, who might have a claim on them. Representative Porter believes this is just fine – “The new government of Iraq should not be held responsible for torture and other misdeeds committed by ousted leader Saddam Hussein.” [LVRJ] So, in order to keep the bank open for the current Iraqi regime, President Bush and his allies like Representative Porter are willing to delay or deny $696 billion for raises for members of our military and health care improvements for veterans. Why? Evidently because the Iraqis threatened to withdraw $25 billion in assets from U.S. banks.
Frankly, this is reminiscent of the President’s argument with the FISA bill. The President reminds us continually about how absolutely essential it is to have a revised bill sent to his desk; how the very lives of Americans may depend upon it – but when all is said and done he’d veto any FISA bill that doesn’t contain retroactive immunity for telecom corporations. So, here we go again: The military spending bill was, again, absolutely essential, but not so essential that the threat of a withdrawal from U.S. banks approximately equal to what we are spending on the Iraq Occupation in three months wasn’t enough to derail the whole bill. Lesson learned? When the choice is between the interests of American citizens or the interests of banks and telecom corporations the Bush Administration, and cohorts like Representative Porter, will side with the banks and corporations every time.
As is often the case when controversial legislation is under discussion, Representative Dean Heller (R-NV2) was unavailable for comment.