Raytheon PAC Donation Recipient Seth Moulton Vocally Opposes Trump On Ending Afghanistan War

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/07/24/raytheon-pac-donation-recipient-seth-moulton-vocally-opposes-trump-on-ending-afghanistan-war/

The United States has been at war in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001. U.S. Representative Seth Moulton is not among those who want to bring it to a close.

Moulton, a liberal Democrat from Salem who represents Massachusetts’s Sixth Congressional District north of Boston, is a veteran of the War on Terror. The former U.S. Marine did four tours in Iraq despite not agreeing with the war, according to his web site.

When it comes to the Afghanistan War, however, Moulton takes a different approach.

On July 1, Moulton came out in favor of an amendment from U.S. Representative Jason Crow (D-Colorado) that would prevent the United States from going below 8,000 troops in Afghanistan in the wake of President Donald Trump’s announcement in late June that he wants to cut the number of troops there almost in half and end America’s military presence in the country by April 2021. Currently, there are about 8,600 American troops in Afghanistan. 

“There’s been bipartisan criticism of what a weak deal he got with the Taliban, a deal that is already falling apart,” Moulton said of Trump at the time, according to The Hill. “Now we learned that he was making this deal at the same time as there were bounties on the heads of American troops, American sons and daughters. We clearly need more oversight over what the president is doing in Afghanistan.”

The current situation puts Democrats like Crow and Moulton on the same side as U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) on the conflict, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who helped instigate the second Iraq war in 2003. 

For Moulton, opposing the end of the Afghanistan War is nothing new. 

In late February, he condemned the Trump administration when officials announced a peace deal with the Taliban setting April 2021 as a target withdrawal date.

Moulton made it clear he does not want to bring troops home as fast as Trump says he does.

“Lasting peace is America’s goal in every conflict, and that often requires negotiating with our enemies,” Moulton said in a written statement. “But I do not trust the Taliban, and they have given us little reason to believe we should. Reducing our troop levels to where we were in this forever war when Trump took office means little. What we need is a long-term strategy that Congress debates and approves, and the American public — and, most importantly, our troops — understand.

“The right answer is to have a minimal counter-terror force in Afghanistan to keep our homeland safe from international terrorism, a real and persistent threat,” he added. “That’s how we end this war and continue to keep Americans safe, regardless of whether the Taliban abide by this agreement.”

Peace advocates argue that politicians like Moulton are propped up by what President Dwight Eisenhower in 1961 called the military-industrial complex to preserve the status quo of endless wars.

Throughout his career in politics, Moulton has received financial support from RAYPAC, the political action committee for Raytheon, one of the largest defense contractors in the country. In all, Raytheon’s political action committee has given him $20,000, making it his third-largest PAC donor, according to Open Secrets.

RAYPAC contributed $10,000 to Moulton in both the 2016 and 2018 election cycles, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Annelle Sheline, a research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, pointed out that defense contractors donate to members of both parties. She added that she hopes one day, it’s considered the moral equivalent of taking money from big tobacco.

“It’s important to understand the scope of the influence of the defense industry in Washington,” Sheline told New Boston Post in a telephone interview. “Americans are tired of spending huge amounts of money abroad that could be better spent at home. And that money contributes to further destabilization, and it’s directly linked to the defense industry which benefits from de-stability and conflict.”

Moulton’s support for Middle Eastern military intervention is one of several reasons some members of Massachusetts’s Green-Rainbow Party do not support the Democratic Party.

Green-Rainbow membership director John Blumenstiel, who does not speak on behalf of the party, told New Boston Post in an email message that so-called establishment Democrats like Moulton taking RAYPAC dollars is “the tip of the iceberg.”

Blumenstiel says big money in politics from corporations, including Raytheon, corrupt American politics.

“When corporations, wealthy individuals and artificial entities (non-human) can bundle their financial resources through various organizational structures to influence elections, politicians and policy making, the individual human citizen and their collective voice loses its democracy,” Blumenstiel wrote. “We are now witnessing the consequence of ‘We the People’ losing their power; a dysfunctional federal government, consisting of two political parties which owe their allegiance to financial interests, not to the people themselves. When the people lose control of the institutions which should be organized to meet their needs, they take to the streets.”

Spokesmen for Moulton and Raytheon could not be reached for comment.