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October 24, 2007

Dems Suck, Too Iran  Iraq  Politics

The other day, I got a fund-raising call from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). I told the caller I was sick of the Democrats' caving in to Bush on Iraq, Iran, torture, wiretaps, and everything else, and they weren't getting any of my money, and I hung up. What surprised me was how angry I was. I've had it with the Democrats, and I guess I'm angrier than I knew. Chris Floyd is pissed, too:

Outrage follows outrage, surrender follows surrender: Every day the unreality of our political discourse worsens, even as the reality on the ground grows more bitter and uncontainable. As we approach the anniversary of the Democrats' recapture of Congress — an event that was supposed to mark the repudiation of the Bush administration's lawless, blood-soaked enterprise — it is undeniable that the situation is actually worse now than before.

The prospect of a Democratic victory in 2006 was for many people the last, flickering hope that the degradation of the republic could be arrested and reversed within the ordinary bounds of the political system. This was always a fantasy, given the strong bipartisan nature and decades-long cultivation of greed, arrogance and militarism that has now come to its fullest bloom in the Bush administration. But desperation can crack the shell of the most hardened cynic, and no doubt there were few who did not harbor somewhere deep inside at least a small grain of hope against hope that a slap-down at the polls would give the Bush gang pause and confound its worst depredations.

One year on, we can all see how the Democrats have made a mockery of those dreams. Their epic levels of unpopularity are richly deserved. At every step they evoke the remarks of the emperor Tiberius, who, after yet another round of groveling acquiescence from the once-powerful Roman Senate, dismissed them with muttered contempt: "Men fit to be slaves." The record of the present Congress provides copious and irrefutable evidence for this judgment.

After 10 full months of Democratic command in the legislative branch -- 10 full months under the "liberal," "progressive," "antiwar" Democratic leadership -- where are we? The Iraq war, far from being ended or even curtailed, was instead escalated by Bush in the face of popular discontent and establishment unease: the first, and most egregious, Democratic surrender. Bush's illegal spying on Americans was not only not punished, it was formally legitimized by Congress, whose Democratic leaders are now hastening to give their telecom paymasters retroactive immunity for taking part in what they knew to be a massive criminal operation...The Military Commissions Act -- which eviscerated 900 years of habeas corpus, as even Arlen Specter admitted (before slavishly voting for the bill anyway) -- remains on the books, unshaken by the Democrats, despite all the cornpone about "restoring the Constitution" they've dished out for the rubes back home.

And now we stand on the brink of another senseless, useless, baseless war, this time with Iran -- a conflict that, as Juan Cole pointed out on Salon recently, is likely to make the belching hell of Iraq look like a church picnic. Dick Cheney's bellicose outburst Sunday in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Studies -- a reprise of many similar war dances he performed in the run-up to the unprovoked invasion of Iraq -- takes us one step closer to this new crime. But Cheney's assertions of Persian perfidy -- all of them unsubstantiated, and in the case of the nuclear program, refuted by the IAEA -- were simply the culmination of a remarkable bipartisan campaign of demonization in which the Democrats have actually taken the public lead, repeatedly castigating the administration for not being "tough enough" on Iran, and repeatedly vowing that "all options are on the table" against the mad mullahs. [...]

The Democrats have already overwhelmingly -- and officially -- accepted the administration's arguments for war against Iran. The first on-the-record embrace came in June, on a 97-0 Senate vote in favor of a saber-rattling resolution from Fightin' Joe Lieberman [that] affirmed as official fact all of the specious, unproven, ever-changing allegations of direct Iranian involvement in attacks on the American forces now occupying Iraq. [...]

But even this was not enough. A few weeks later, there was a new resolution, carefully calibrated to mesh with the all-out propaganda blitz surrounding the appearance of Gen. David Petraeus on Fox News in September. (He also put in an appearance on Capitol Hill, it seems.) Once again, the majority of Senate Democrats voted with the monolithic Republicans for yet another Lieberman-sponsored measure, which effectively if not formally authorized military action against Iran by declaring the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard a "foreign terrorist organization" and tying it to attacks on American soldiers in Iraq. [...]

Even the clueless Joe Biden...gets it. He told George Stephanopoulos Sunday that Bush will seize on the resolutions exactly as predicted: "The president's going to stand there and say ... 'Ladies and gentlemen, as the United States Congress voted, they said these guys are terrorists. I moved against them to save American lives.'"

But Bush is not the only president -- or potential president -- who might seize on the Senate votes. Last week -- just a few days before Cheney's speech -- Hillary Clinton weighed in with a "major policy article" in Foreign Affairs that regurgitated the administration's unproven allegations against Iran as indisputable fact. This too is ominous stuff, coming from a strong front-runner who not only is leading in the opinion polls but is also way out in front among an elite constituency whose support is much more important and decisive than that of the hapless hoi polloi: arms dealers. Clinton has surpassed all candidates -- including the hyper-hawkish Republican hopefuls -- in garnering cash payments from the American weapons industry, the Independent reports. Obviously, these masters of war are not expecting any drop-off in profits if Clinton takes the helm.

And indeed, beyond her "all options" thundering at Iran, Clinton has vowed to do the one thing guaranteed to breed more war, more ruin, more suffering, more "collateral damage," more terrorist blowback: keeping American forces in Iraq, come hell or high water. Clinton's "withdrawal" plan calls for retaining an unspecified number of "specialized units" in Iraq to "fight terrorism," train Iraqi forces and protect other American troops carrying out unspecified activities. Is it any wonder that she's the apple of Lockheed Martin's eye?

But in fact, the "antiwar" plans of the other "liberal" candidates -- the "serious" ones, that is -- are remarkably similar. In other words, the Democrats are promising a permanent (or in the current weasel-word jargon, "enduring") U.S. military presence in Iraq -- which of course has been one of the primary war aims of the Bush administration all along (even before it took office). Credible analysis shows that up to a million people or more have been slaughtered in this ghastly enterprise -- and still the Democrats will not act to end it or, God forbid, try to remove its perpetrators from office. Instead they will keep the red wheel of death rolling toward the ever-vanishing horizon. [...]

[The people] turned to the only serious alternative the system provided: the Democrats. And this is what they got: more war, more torture, more tyranny, more corruption, more lies. [Emphasis added]

The game's rigged. Democrats and Republicans pretend to be different by having different positions on abortion and gay marriage. But on issues of war and peace, military spending, government surveillance, and even torture, they're peas in a pod. Fraternal twins. Coke and Pepsi. An exquisite scam: keep people excited about abortion and gay marriage to make them feel like they have a meaningful choice, then ignore what they want on everything that really matters to the Big Money that drives the system.

What's the difference between Democrats and Republicans? Democrats tell different lies to get elected. A pox on both their houses.

[Thanks, Miles]

Posted by Jonathan at October 24, 2007 05:49 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

Comments

Well, I did the same thing with a questionaire the Democrats sent the other day, asking my opinion about a boat load of issues. I answered the questions, listing my own priorities, and then wrote a scrawling, angry note informing them that they were not going to get a dime from me until they found their spines, acted like Democrats instead of idiots and Republicans Lite. Anger isn't the half of it, though. The letters I get back after having written to some of them about my concerns are uniformly maddening for their lack of substance, proving that you can in fact put a stamp on a load of crap.

Posted by: edward Beardsley at October 24, 2007 10:15 PM

Politicians have to tell lies in order to get elected. We the child-people insist on being lied to. The question is what are the true hidden agenda of each politician? It's almost impossible to know.

Posted by: step back at October 27, 2007 02:56 PM