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The Democrats and the War

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    The Demo and the War Evil? Yes; Spineless? No By JOHN WALSH August 31, 2005 http://www.counterpunch.com/walsh08312005.html Standard fare in the mainstream
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 5, 2005
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      The Demo and the War
      Evil? Yes; Spineless? No
      By JOHN WALSH
      August 31, 2005
      http://www.counterpunch.com/walsh08312005.html


      Standard fare in the mainstream media as well as in both Left and
      Libertarian blogs, web sites and magazines, is that the Democrats are
      spineless. But this view simply does not fit the facts, and it is
      dangerous to boot, because it leads us to underestimate one of our
      most sinister and cynical pro-war adversaries, the Democratic Party
      establishment. For, if left to their own devices, the Dems will do
      what Kucinich warned of and substitute a Democratic for a Republican
      version of the war on Iraq.

      The conventional wisdom is that the Dems are afraid to stand up to
      Bush's war, because they fear the accusation of being "soft on
      terrorism" or downright treasonous. And, we are told by the liberal
      punditocracy, this sort of charge will prevent our poor Dems from
      winning elections and ending the war which, deep down, they really
      oppose. So what's a poor Dem to do? Obviously call for "staying the
      course." This analysis is ever so convenient for the Dems. It gets
      the likes of Kerry, H. Clinton, Dean, Biden, Cleland and the rest,
      marvelously off the hook, bringing them the support of the anti-war
      forces. These are good men and women, we are told, just trying to win
      elections in the face of the ignorance of the benighted masses so as
      to bring us peace! Thus are hawks transmogrifed into doves, even as
      they cry out for more bloodshed, more troops and more death and
      destruction.

      This whole whacko analysis cannot stand up to reality. First, the
      country, by a significant majority according to the polls, is against
      the war and long has been ­ even before the last presidential
      election. Now 60% want some or all troops withdrawn at once. The
      least popular option, the one favored by leading Democrats, is to
      send more troops, an option that draws the support of less than 10%,
      with 57%, saying they would be "upset" at such a move. Why would
      anyone wanting to win an election champion a view which hardly anyone
      favors and is even less popular than Bush's? Second, take as an
      example a senator like California's Diane Feinstein who is not
      planning to run for president and comes from a solidly anti-war
      state, so an anti-war position is no danger for her. And yet she
      calls for "staying the course."

      No, the idea of the spineless but virtuous Democrat does not hold up.
      The real reason has to be that the Dems do not give a damn about the
      electorate. The Dem establishment must in fact favor the war. And the
      reason is not hard to find. They play to the same real but hidden
      constituencies as the Republicans ­ the oil tycoons, AIPAC, the barons
      of the military industrial complex and those who make their fortunes
      from empire, ranging from the banks to Bechtel. This is their class
      and if one of the pols dares play traitor to his class, he or she
      will soon be an outcast. Ask Ted Kennedy. When Kennedy called for
      immediate withdrawal from Iraq last January, he was virtually
      denounced by the rest of the Dem leadership. And although the media
      is afflicted with many and mortal problems, do not tell me that the
      media makes it impossible for the Dems to take a strong anti-war
      position. When Kennedy did so, it was all over the media from the
      front pages of the dailies to the Sunday morning TV talk shows.
      The Dems know full well there is an enormous anti-war constituency
      out there. If they used their considerable resources to organize it
      and give voice to it, then it would quickly prevail. A sorry example
      is Cindy Sheehan's effort. Not a single major Democrat has shown up
      at Camp Casey. They are blowing off Sheehan just like Bush.

      In fact far from being cowardly, the Dems are showing considerable
      spine in standing up to the anti-war constituency that routinely does
      the leg work and contributes the dollars to elect them. Here their
      courage and resolve befit heroes of Homeric proportions. In the face
      of powerful anti-war sentiment from their loyalists, the Dems
      resolutely call for "staying the course" in the war for which they
      voted. Now there is spine. There is fortitude, both testicular and
      ovarian.

      But the Dems have now been exposed and about the last excuse they
      have for "staying the course" is to "help" the Iraqis. Of course they
      uttered no such sentiment when Clinton was imposing sanctions that
      resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi kids, a price
      Madeline Albright famously said was worth it to pressure Saddam
      Hussein. So the Dems either cry crocodile tears over the fate of the
      Iraqis, or avoid all mention of the war or else, like Russ Feingold,
      call for endless discussions of "exit strategies." I prefer the
      sentiment splashed across the cover of the paleocon American
      Conservative which proclaimed: "We do not need an exit strategy. We
      need an exit."

      So next time you hear that the problem with the Dems is their
      spinelessness, do not believe a word of it. They are quite courageous
      in facing down their voting base to peddle death and destruction. To
      view them otherwise is to underestimate a potent, treacherous and
      insidious adversary of the anti-war movement.
      John Walsh can be reached at jvwalshmd @ gmail.com.

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