The annals of history, as noted in Wikipedia, duly record the following with regard to “The Boxer Rebellion” of the early 20th Century:
The Boxer Rebellion was a Chinese rebellion from November 1899 to September 7, 1901 against foreign influence in areas such as trade, politics, religion and technology that occurred in China during the final years of the Qing Dynasty.
John Nichols, refers to something completely different in his piece called The Boxer Rebellion:
“the person who changed the course of history with regard to the debate over the Bush administration’s nominee for secretary of state […snip…] was Barbara Boxer…”
This time, the Boxer Rebellion was the first time that the excess and free passes of the Bush Administration were directly challenged.
It’s time for another “Boxer Rebellion” in the Senate; it’s time for both chambers, in fact, to finally rise to meet the challenge of curbing the most dangerous and deceitful Administration in history. Senators Boxer, Feingold and others – are you listening?
A Place in History
Whether it is the Boxer Rebellion of the early 20th Century or the early 21st Century, the two significant events occur with eerie echoes inasmuch as they are also strikingly dissimilar. Both occur amid times of bloody, insurgent chaos that costs the lives of thousands in a far-away land. The first “Boxer Rebellion” occured in China after the Qing dynasty was forced to sign a number of Unequal Treaties in the wake of losing the First Opium War to our good friend and ally, the United Kingdom. (Strangely, I found myself wanting to replace “China” with “Afghanistan” and the “United Kingdom” with the “United States”.) Ultimately,
Such treaties were regarded as grossly unfair by many Chinese, as foreigners received special treatment compared to Chinese. Rumours circulated of foreigners committing crimes as a result of agreements between foreign and the Chinese governments over how foreigners in China should be prosecuted. Thus in the late 19th century such feelings increasingly resulted in civil disobedience and violence towards both foreigners and Chinese Christians.
(This ring a bell with anyone? Again, I found myself wanting to substitute “China” for another country, this time “Iraq.”)
It’s possible to extract more similarities between this first Boxer Rebellion’s social context and the flaming inferno of the Iraq quagmire — particularly with regard to the influence of religious leaders who were not subject to local laws — but I’ll stop with this one final similarity: by the end of the uprising,
over 230 foreigners, tens of thousands of Chinese Christians, an unknown number of rebels, their sympathizers and others had been killed in the ensuing chaos.
We’re a bit beyond that in Iraq, but that’s only due to having much better weapons and a higher level of focused incompentents in charge.
The first part of the modern-era “Boxer Rebellion” took place not in the war-torn trenches where the social chaos ensued, but instead in the halls of Congress, where Senator Barbara Boxer hammered a particularly grueling series of questions and statements into Condoleeza Rice as she sought to win confirmation for the Secretary of State role. To quote the article cited above by Jeff Nichols,
Then Boxer hammered home the point that really mattered: That when Rice and her team lied, people died.
It was a beautiful moment. The article then went on to quote Senator Boxer:
“This war was sold to the American people – as chief of staff to President Bush Andy Card said – like a ‘new product.’ You rolled out the idea and then you had to convince the people, and as you made your case, I personally believe that your loyalty to the mission you were given overwhelmed your respect for the truth,” Boxer calmly declared. “That was a great disservice to the American people. But worse than that, our young men and women are dying. So far, 1,366 American troops have been killed in Iraq. More than 25 percent of those troops were from California. More than 10,372 have been wounded.”
For those of you keeping count, those numbers quoted by Senator Boxer have grown significantly higher. To continue:
When Boxer read out the statistics, it was a devastating moment – and a rare one. Seldom do senators accuse prospective Cabinet members of lying. Rice knew she was taking a harder hit than anyone had expected. The nominee tried to get the upper hand with classic Washington spin. “Senator,” Rice whined, “I have never, ever lost respect for the truth in the service of anything. It’s not in my nature. It’s not in my character. And I would hope we could have this conversation … without impugning my credibility or my integrity.”
Rice’s problem was that her credibility and integrity had been impugned – not by Boxer but by the nominee herself. All Boxer did was bring Rice’s deceptions to light and, perhaps most significantly, to link them to the continuing crisis in Iraq.
I believe that’s called speaking truth to power. More simply put, however, is this simple fact: Senator Boxer was doing her job, not just as a Senator, but as an American Patriot. Here’s my last excerpt, the money quote:
In so doing, she shamed a number of her fellow Democrats into joining her in opposition not just to Rice but to the administration’s entire approach to the war.
Ah. Shamed. Bravo, Senator Boxer — you had the cahones to do what had to be done, and secured a turning point in history that could lead our nation out of the darkness and back into the light, scarred and badly bloodied by battle but intact nonetheless.
You started a rebellion within the Senate, and the Congress, against “playing nice” when in a pit of vipers. You done good, Senator.
Now, we need you to do good again.
The Boxer Rebellion, part deux
Iraq is a disaster; we are currently inundated with emerging evidence of not only purposely manipulated information and outright lying in order to deceive the nation into supporting an aggressive military action against Iraq, we are also finding evidence that the latest call for a “surge” to stabilize the nation we’ve crippled is in direct opposition to intelligence reports and skilled assessments of field generals recommendations. In the meantime, we have heard the increasing drumbeat for a military conflict with Iran, while also finding that intelligence is being manipulated and cherry-picked in direct opposition to the facts suggesting that such a conflict is both unjustified and unwise.
What has the Congress decided to do? Debate the merits of passing a non-binding resolution to deal with the matters.
Uh, no. You, the Congress of the United States of America, will not play this game with the lives of my countrymen. You, the Congress of the United States of America, will not play nice in the sandbox anymore. Too much evidence of impropriety by the White House and their strongest supporters has emerged now. You are now responsible to take this matter head-on, and resolve it.
The President and Executive Branch are out of control. The spending for the war is entirely unrestrained; supplementary off-the-books spending has been used to prevent any accurate review or oversight. No more. A recent story on the BBC News reports that President Bush has called for tightening the domestic budget for the coming year:
Mr Bush said the budget for the year starting in October 2007 would underline the need to tighten spending on domestic programmes – including on education, energy and health.
The Washington Post newspaper said domestic spending would increase by 1% – less than inflation.
Meanwhile military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan would increase.
“Unless we act, we will saddle our children and grandchildren with tens of thousands of unfunded obligations,” Mr Bush said.
He said they would face huge tax rises, huge budget deficits or huge immediate cuts in benefits.
The policies of Mr. Bush and his wreckless, feckless administration have included an absolutely abysmal record of failing to account for the costs and exigencies of this war. The troops are under-funded, under-armed, without armor and without support at home. No more. If Mr. Bush wants to reduce spending, you have the power to enforce that wish — by shutting down the illegal, immoral, criminal enterprise that has taken root in the White House; you can defund this war. Instead of budget restraint, how about simply a balanced and proper budget that includes the planning and costs of the war?
Another BBC News story notes that
US manufacturing activity fell unexpectedly in January, raising fresh concerns about the US economy
while still another BBC News story reports
US unemployment has risen to a four month high of 4.6% after fewer new jobs were created last month than expected.
When does it end?
I’ll tell you: it ends now. You, the Congress, are the ones to bring this dark chapter to a close. And if you don’t, regardless of party affiliation, know that failure to rein in this administration now, in light of all the failed policies, overt lies and blatant obstructionism, makes you complicit in those crimes.
It is time for the Congress to engage in another “Boxer Rebellion,” one of epic proportion.
Lancing and draining the boils
Senator Boxer, I put it to you to initiate and coordinate this latest rebellion; your name, as well as your actions of the past, have chosen you. The following Democratic members of Congress have introduced or spoken in support of measures to attempt to mitigate this miasma, as noted in this diary by shpilk:(summarized)
Senator Russ Feingold, with S.121 and S.448.
Congresswoman Lynne Woolsey, with HR 508.
Congressman Jerry Nadler, with HR 455
Congressman Jack Murtha, with HJ RES 18
Congressman Sam Farr, to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243) and to require the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq.
Congressman David E Price, to set the expiration of the above-mentioned resolution to December 31, 2007.
Congressman James P. McGovern, “To provide for the safe and orderly withdrawal of United States military forces and Department of Defense contractors from Iraq.”
Congressman Earl Blumenauer, “Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall begin the redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq.”
There is no excuse for failing to intercede now on behalf of the law, on behalf of the people, on behalf of the Constitution or on behalf of this nation and the nations of the world.
Senator Boxer, we call upon you to put Majority Leader Reid into a chair and have him listen carefully. Explain, in a calm and steady voice, that it is the will of the people to directly oppose the ongoing dissembly of this Administration. It is the will of the people that this ill-gotten war be ended. It is the will of the people that Congress resume their duties as public servants, and our will is law.
Invite Speaker Pelosi to attend your meeting with Mr. Reid. Invite other prominent members of the Democratic Party of both chambers, House and Senate.
And invite the most influential Republicans you can find, those who will take the will of the people over the politics of party — those who do not wish to be listed as complicit and enabling of a blatantly criminal abuse of power currently emanating from, but not exclusive to, the White House.
This time, the “Boxer Rebellion” must include everyone who thinks like a true Patriot, everyone who knows that now is the time for all good citizens to come to the aid of their country.
Actions, and Words to Empower By
Recent diaries by rktect (here), Maccabee (here and here), Devilstower (here) and myself (here) all suggested actions to take.
Here’s a short list of the relevant resolutions to pass:
- When the National Guard is deployed outside the boundaries of the United States, the president must send a resolution to congress every six months seeking permission to continue deployment of the National Guard. If this request fails to secure a majority in both houses of congress, National Guard forces must be returned to their home states within thirty days. The rule is in effect even in times designated by the president as national emergency.
- Stop the torture. Find the torturers. Prosecute and punish every single one of them.
- Revoke or suspend the AUMF for the President to act to respond to the terrorists of 9/11. It must be rewritten and reworked to include measurable oversight and accountability.
- Revoke (or suspend) the AUMF that pertains to the Iraq invasion. It provides the Executive Branch far too much authority to make war wherever he wishes as part of his actions in Iraq, which by and large have accomplished the stated mission and utterly failed to do so in a manner consistent with competence.
- A new resolution, one designed to keep troop levels constant then begin to withdraw them, must be drafted. It shall implement oversight and renegotiate contracts with contractors to impose stiff accountability and reporting measures, taking the primary control over the rebuilding away from the Executive Branch and placing it with an independent committee that will report to Congress.
- Immediately pass a resolution stating that the President and his officers, as well as the Pentagon and their agents, will cease and desist all attempts to provoke, taunt, instigate or initiate a conflict with Iran; any and all monies directed toward “catapulting the propaganda” in support of an action against Iran will be redirected back toward rebuilding Iraq.
- Congress will immediately Censure the Bush Administration for the intentional delay of the National Intelligence Estimate for what appears to be purely political reasons that conflict with their proposed solution for Iraq as well as their attempts to place a preponderance of blame for the Iraq debacle on Iran.
- Apologize to the world.
The measures above, as closely as you can reasonably get them and as binding resolutions, must be proffered as the most important agenda items to be accomplished this week, starting tomorrow.
Senator Boxer, you initiated the equivalent of a rebellion during the confirmation process for Secretary of State that may have sparked a much-needed, long-overdue turning point in our current history. Senator Feingold’s statement ended with the words
If Congress doesn’t stop this war, it’s not because it doesn’t have the power. It’s because it doesn’t have the will.
We need someone to engage the remaining members of Congress with the measures above, and to assert in no uncertain terms that those who do not support the measures are complicit in the crimes of the George W. Bush Administration. Be the agent of change once more. Inspire the willingness in Congress to face the truths and fight for the people.
There will be an accounting for the destruction and loss incurred; karma is a bitch, and under the auspices of the “George Bush Republicans” we’ve got a boatload heading our way. Perhaps conveniently for the White House, this happens at the same time we’ve built up a very vulnerable fleet in the Persian Gulf, one that makes quite a nice little target for our enemies.
Help avert disaster, both in the Middle East and domestically.
Lead us to victory, accountability and return our national integrity.