Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bringing the War Back Home

It was predictable that, as long as the Democrats were falling all over each other “supporting the troops,” they would be unable to do anything at all for the anti-war voters who made them the majority in both houses of Congress. Now that has come to pass yet again: the Cheney/Bush Administration and the minority Republicans in the Senate and House conceded nothing to them in the funding bill the President just signed – not even meaningless timelines for troop reductions. According to George W. Bush, making funding contingent on anything at all is out of the question because it betrays troops needful of their nation’s “support.” He’s not entirely wrong. If “supporting the troops” meant making amends to economic conscripts and their families, and taking care of those who return injured or maimed, then the way to support them is to stop the war NOW. That’s what “supporting the troops” ought to mean, but it isn’t what it actually does mean in our debased political culture. That’s because Clintonized Democrats, as much as Cheney and Bush and their neo-con advisors want to avoid the appearance of defeat, lest an Iraq Syndrome impede American dominance of our ever “globalizing” world economy. So, whether they like it or not, the Democrats have no choice but to “support the troops” by supporting their “mission.” That was Bush’s point. W is nothing if not linguistically (and intellectually) “challenged.” But in this case, as he campaigned for full funding -- he nailed the Democrats good.

The anti-war movement is culpable too. So fearful are its leaders of the urban legends surrounding “the troops” in Vietnam – for example, that they were spat upon when they returned home – that they exude ambivalence towards the vastly more successful anti-war – and anti-military! --movement of the Vietnam era. Thus they too effectively buy into the Clintonite/neo-con consensus. Ditto for Dennis Kucinich. In this respect, Mike Gravel is a little better. As a throwback to the golden days of yesteryear, he at least knows enough not to declare support for the troops at every possible opportunity. But his is barely a voice in the wilderness.

More even than misleading media reports about U.S. successes in Iraq, the failure of almost all Democrats to assume a genuinely oppositional position has helped deflect attention away from the Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where abject defeat is also looming. Should the war monger McCain “surge” in the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary, this will be part of the reason why. Ironically, a McCain victory would be bad news for the Democrats’ electoral prospects. McCain is every bit as awful as any other conceivable GOP nominee. But he’s not nearly as risible as the rest of them. He would therefore be a more formidable opponent. This time around, it is all but inconceivable that the Democrats will lose. But if it can be done, count on them to pull it off!

I’ve written before about the nightmare scenario – Clinton v. Giuliani (with or without Michael Bloomberg). Clinton v. McCain seemed to be off the agenda back then. Now that prospect is back, just as it was before the Presidential campaigns got underway. Clinton v. McCain is every bit as scary as Clinton v. Giuliani. Will an electorate so plainly opposed to the Bush wars let this happen? We’ll know in just a few weeks time.

Meanwhile, for the next few weeks, let the optimists among us think John Edwards thoughts – and, since money is to our “democracy” what location is to real estate, send money to his campaign as well, distasteful as that may be. To vote for John Kerry in 2004, it was necessary to forget a great deal. In the same spirit, we must, for now, forget Herzliya [where, last January, to win the hearts and minds of the Israel lobby, Edwards declared “all options on the table” in Iran.] If we are fortunate, there will be time enough to bring it (and much else too) up later, again and again. Lets also prepare ourselves to acquiesce, if need be, in an even more unpleasant because more Clintonite prospect -- an Obama candidacy. And since it is still more probable than not that the most Clintonite candidate of all, Slick Willy’s better half, will win the nomination, and since she falls below the acceptable lesser evil threshold, lets keep in the back of our minds the thought that we -- those of us who live in “safe” states, anyway -- may soon need to mobilize in support of Cynthia McKinney or whatever other progressive alternative develops.

1 comment:

colecurtis said...

I am so sick of people calling John McCain a warmonger. He did not ask for this war nor did he start this war he inherited this war. Before you start pointing your accusatory finger you need to point your accusatory fingers you need to have your facts straight. If you want to give the credit where credit is due you can thank Bush,Cheney and Rumsfeld for the war in Iraq. They are the ones who took the lid off Pandora's box and couldn't get it back on. John McCain was the only one with the backbone to step up and take reigns and try to straighten out the mess that they created. There is no better hands that the troops could be in than Senator McCain's because "he has been there and done that." Senator McCain is the only candidate that is capable of taking this nation forward regardless of how you feel about him.