March 13, 2007

To the Liberal and Progressive War Managers: "This madness must cease"

Norman Solomon writes:
Pelosi and Reid have a job to do. The antiwar movement has a job to do. The jobs are not the same.

This should be obvious -- but, judging from public and private debates now fiercely underway among progressive activists and organizations, there's a lot of confusion in the air.

No amount of savvy Capitol-speak can change the fact that "benchmarks" are euphemisms for more war. And when activists pretend otherwise, they play into the hands of those who want the war to go on... and on... and on.

Deferring to the Democratic leadership means endorsing loopholes that leave the door wide open for continued U.S. military actions inside Iraq -- whether justified as attacks on fighters designated as Al Qaeda in Iraq, or with reclassification of U.S. forces as "trainers" rather than "combat troops." And an escalating U.S. air war could continue to bomb Iraqi neighborhoods for years.

The position being articulated by Reps. Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey and others in Congress is the one that the antiwar movement should unite behind -- to fully fund bringing the troops home in a safe and orderly way, while ending the entire U.S. occupation and war effort, by the end of 2007.

We're urged to take solace from the fact that Washington's debate has shifted to "when" -- rather than "whether" -- the war should end. But the end of the U.S. war effort could be deferred for many more years while debates over "when" flourish and fester. This happened during the Vietnam War, year after year, while death came to tens of thousands more American soldiers and perhaps a million more Vietnamese people.

Pelosi is speaker of the House, and Reid is majority leader of the Senate. But neither speaks for, much less leads, the antiwar movement that we need.

When you look at the practicalities of the situation, Pelosi and Reid could be more accurately described as speaker and leader for the war-management movement.


On Capitol Hill, most Democrats seem to have settled on a tactical approach of simultaneously ratifying and deploring the continuation of the war. The approach may or may not be savvy politics in a narrow sense of gaining temporary partisan political advantage. But it is ultimately destructive to refuse to do the one thing that the Constitution empowers Congress to do to halt a U.S. war -- stop appropriating taxpayer money for it.

In retrospect, such congressional behavior during the Vietnam War -- while attracting sober approval from much of the era's punditocracy -- ended up prolonging a horrific war that could have ended years sooner. Now, as then, pandering to the news media and other powerful pressures, most politicians are busy trying to pick "low-hanging fruit" that turns out to be poisonous.

"Somehow this madness must cease," Martin Luther King Jr. said 40 years ago about the Vietnam War. "We must stop now."

Was the situation then essentially different from today? No.

"We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy," King said. And: "We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late."
With only a few exceptions, most liberal-progressive blogs are "war managers," just as Pelosi and Reid are. Just like the Washington Democrats whose triumph in November they heralded as the second coming and whom they will not now seriously challenge, so in thrall to power are they, these bloggers have revealed themselves not to be opposed to our criminal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq in any fundamental way: they are opposed only to the Bush administration's "incompetence" and "bad management." If only our war of conquest had been executed efficiently, all would be well with the Democrats' Empire.

And they are doing nothing to oppose the drive to war with Iran, which the Democrats want at least as much as the Republicans.

All such people, including most of the prominent liberal bloggers, are murdering imperialists, with American hegemony as the ultimate goal that animates them. The rest is for show, and to consolidate and expand their grasp on power domestically, just as the United States acts in an identical way abroad.

This is your "progressive" movement in the world of political blogs, and a contemptibly sad and miserable thing it is.