November 14, 2007

Stop the Lies, Stop the Funding, Stop the Genocide: STOP IT

The time has arrived to prove to you a conclusion I have intended to discuss for some time. The conclusion will undoubtedly dismay some of you greatly. As a very wise philosopher once observed, or certainly should have observed: Tough.

The general subject is The Neverending Dance About Funding the Iraq Occupation. Let's reword that, to make it more accurate: The Neverending Dance About Funding the Iraq Genocide. Genocide is what it is. Let's endeavor to be minimally honest about what the United States government is paying for -- with your tax dollars, I remind you. Honesty should be possible to us; after all, we're not the ones dying in incomprehensibly, monstrously huge numbers.

Let's begin with this USA Today story:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that Democrats won't approve more money for the Iraq war this year unless President Bush agrees to begin bringing troops home.

By the end of the week, the House and Senate planned to vote on a $50 billion measure for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill would require Bush to initiate troop withdrawals immediately with the goal of ending combat by December 2008.

If Bush vetoes the bill, "then the president won't get his $50 billion," Reid, D-Nev., told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made a similar statement last week in a closed-door caucus meeting.
This is breathlessly picked up by the ever-reliable Kos -- who is reliable for certain traits, and one in particular, that we shall identify shortly -- who swooningly announces:
If Reid and Pelosi stand firm on this, they will have a chance to finally fulfill one of their key 2006 campaign promises and prove that they have the strength and fortitude to stand tough for what they believe, all the while giving the vast majority of the American people what they want.
It's enough to make you faint with admiration and gratitude. "Strength and fortitude to stand tough for what they believe"! I can barely breathe, I am so overcome.

I realize the following is a truly radical proposal, but please come along with me. Let's actually look at the proposed bill, shall we? Oh, no! some of you cry in protest, as well you should. Courtesy of the also reliable David Swanson, who can be relied upon to cut through the dross and, let's continue to be honest, through the lies and get to the heart of the matter, we can look at this legislation. You need only consider two passages, translated into actual Democratic talking points provided to Swanson:
Requires a transition in the mission of US forces in Iraq from primarily combat to: force protection and diplomatic protection; limited support to Iraqi security forces; and targeted counter-terrorism operations...

Prohibits deployment of any troops not fully equipped and trained; waivable with a presidential national security certification...
The first of these provisions is the major killer, in more ways than one. I've been over this same ground before: in "Theater of Death," from seven months ago, at the end of April; and in an analysis from April 2006, which discussed a John Kerry op-ed in the NY Times, which contained identical loopholes.

As Swanson discusses and as I discussed in the earlier articles, this legislation says nothing about the U.S. "enduring bases," just as it says nothing about the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Moreover, focus very, very carefully on those exceptions in this latest bill: "US forces in Iraq" shall be "transitioned" to "force protection and diplomatic protection; limited support to Iraqi security forces; and targeted counter-terrorism operations."

As I said about Kerry's essentially identical exceptions:
Of course, Kerry isn't proposing that we withdraw all American combat forces -- none of which, I repeat, are there for any legitimate reason. Oh, no: "Only troops essential to finishing the job of training Iraqi forces should remain." And: "To increase the pressure on Iraq's leaders, we must redeploy American forces to garrisoned status. Troops should be used for security backup, training and emergency response..."

That's a handy loophole -- one big enough to drive a decades-long occupation through, even if it is "only" an occupation confined to those "enduring bases" we're spending so much money on. In this manner, Iraq will remain our staging platform for our neverending efforts to control the future of the Middle East, just as we have attempted to do ever since World War I.
The previous essays on this topic examine all this in much more detail. Let me restate the unavoidable, central conclusion. Even if this bill were to be signed by Bush exactly as the Democrats have crafted it, it requires precisely nothing. It will change nothing. U.S. troops will remain in Iraq in at least the many tens of thousands for years to come, and probably for decades. The genocide will continue. The slaughter will go on. And, as I said in "Theater of Death":



Get it? This bill, as it is right now, changes nothing in any way that matters a damn.

Yet the USA Today story makes it appear that the wonderfully brave Democrats will now seek to end the war, or rather the occupation of Iraq, and force Bush to begin troop withdrawals. But December 2008 is merely a "target" for the "end of combat," and the administration is already planning on withdrawing some troops, which is all this bill "requires" -- and it does not even do that.

So all of this is only posturing on all sides, posturing of the most transparently phony kind: posturing to satisfy various constituencies, posturing to provide talking points for the 2008 elections, posturing to satisfy the fragile but enormous vanity of all these repellent political hacks. Meanwhile, IRAQIS ARE DYING IN HUGE NUMBERS.

Ah, yes, that conclusion I mentioned in the opening. Most liberal and progressive bloggers have devoted untold hours, days, weeks and months to deconstructing false narratives, those offered by the media and/or by Republicans. In one sense, this is valuable work: false narratives are certainly destructive and negative in numerous ways. I myself spend a great deal of time deconstructing them. Indeed, that is one of the points of this post.

But note the shift that occurred once the Democrats took back Congress. Now the Democrats control a coequal branch of government. Now the Democrats are not only the minority: now the Democrats are responsible, now the Democrats are significantly in control, now the Democrats are accountable. And what do we see? Writers like Kos, whose vaporous musings on this and similar subjects are echoed with variations by most other leading liberal and progressive bloggers, are more than willing to peddle false narratives of their own. For now, certain false narratives help the Democrats. Now the Democrats will demonstrate the "strength and fortitude to stand tough for what they believe" -- when "what they believe" is a continuation of the genocidal, murderous, criminal status quo.

So all that earlier (and present) concern with false narratives was not concern with false narratives because they were false. No, indeed: it was concern with false narratives that didn't help Democrats. But if false narratives are believed to affirmatively help Democrats, according to some especially vile series of political calculations (which are usually wrong, as they are with regard to impeachment)...well, as Dear Leader might say, bring 'em on!

There is, of course, no enforceable limit on the number and magnitude of lies that swamp our national discourse (and there could not and should not be). That has been the subject of recent essays here: "The Barren, Deadly Wasteland that Is Now Our Life," and its followup, "The Barren, Deadly Wasteland Further Considered, and the New Normal." But these endless lies have throttled all possibility of genuinely meaningful, substantive political discussion here at home -- and the same lies are murdering hundreds of thousands, and even greater numbers, of innocent people abroad, people who never threatened us and who never could have.

If we are to stop the murder, and if we are to save ourselves, the lies must stop. They must stop. As a first step, stop lying to yourselves. Then, perhaps, we might be able to move forward, one small step at a time.

In the meantime, innocent Iraqis are dying in untold and intentionally uncounted numbers. STOP FUNDING THE GENOCIDE.

Stop the lies. Stop the funding completely. Stop the slaughter.