AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas House of Representatives on April 2 passed a resolution supporting the war in Iraq, but not before some spirited debate and a demonstration in the House gallery against the war.

House Speaker Tom Craddick had a House Resolution supporting the war introduced on the House floor expecting it to be voted and passed routinely. But Rep. Lon Burnam, who represents a working-class district in Fort Worth, introduced an amendment that sparked the debate and the demonstration.

Burnam’s amendment stated that the House supports the men and women in the Armed Services but that the president had ordered them to start a war without international support. The amendment also said that Bush’s recent $14 billion cut in federal funding of health care for veterans, $204 million cuts in programs that support education of soldiers’ children, and his order to the Veterans Administration to limit veterans’ access to health care belied his phony concern for the safety and well-being of the troops.

It went on call for increased government spending for veterans, higher pay and benefits for soldiers, resolution of conflicts through diplomacy, an end to the war, and the safe return home of the troops.

Of course, the rabid right-wingers who control Texas government howled in indignation. But Burnam held his ground and was eloquent in his defense of his amendment.

During the debate, several anti-war protestors in the gallery who had come to the session to support Burnam stood up and loudly offered their support. They were escorted out of the gallery by the cops.

The resolution in support of the war passed overwhelmingly. Only two other representatives joined Burnam in opposing it and six abstained. But this symbolic act of resistance in the heartland of Bush country should give heart to those who oppose this war of aggression.

The author can be reached at pww@pww.org

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