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The War's Liberal Enablers

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    The War s Liberal Enablers Rummy s Not the Only One Who Should Go By MICHAEL DONNELLY http://www.counterpunch.org/donnelly05012006.html Accountability is no
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2006
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      The War's Liberal Enablers
      Rummy's Not the Only One Who Should Go
      By MICHAEL DONNELLY
      http://www.counterpunch.org/donnelly05012006.html


      Accountability is no longer creeping, but racing up on the Bush gang.
      No, not the shuffling of the decks chairs --- the "transfer" of Karl
      Rove; Scott McClellan's Snow job replacement; or even Scooter's
      spilling the beans on the deliberate misleading of the Plame Grand
      Jury. Nope. It's the big brass Rummyache that's got the roaches
      scurrying. If Rummy goes, who would make decisions for the
      Decider-in-chief?

      All this is quite entertaining and offers hope, but it also brings up:
      where's the equivalent to the Generals' accountability call on the
      other side? Who's holding the failed Peace Movement's feet to the
      fire? Where's the call for replacement of its inept, ossified
      misleadership?

      Can it actually be that the same folks who always claim that the
      military is "hide-bound and incapable of change" have less insight and
      less accountability? Yes. And Yes.


      The ABB Delusion

      After producing an Open Letter to Sen. John Kerry prior to the 2004
      election that laid out all the relevant issues, United for Peace and
      Justice (UFPJ - the paymaster cartel of Peace groups) quickly took his
      No for an answer and endorsed the disastrous ABB gambit. {Perhaps a
      factor was that over 100 of the groups under the UFPJ umbrella
      received money from the foundations controlled by Teresa Heinz
      (Kerry)? Money from Heinz and George Soros led to Global Exchange's
      role in starting both UFPJ and Code Pink.}

      Ignore for a moment that UFPJ has always been woeful at addressing the
      Elephant in the Living Room --- the Mother of All Issues; the Israeli
      occupation of Palestine (a condition of the funders?) and how that
      puts the larger movement on the sidelines before the game is ever begun.

      Just how could the ABB inanity ever see the light of day, given that,
      at the time, polls showed that over 52% of Americans already opposed
      the illegal war and occupation? And Kerry was one of its main
      supporters. By the time of the ABB capitulation, Kerry was already on
      record calling for "winning the war" and calling for "40,000
      additional troops" to do the job.

      In one ludicrous endorsement, the Peace Movement went from a body that
      righteously turned out millions in the streets before the war - to a
      partisan non-entity. Given the chance to rise to the occasion and
      declare the illegal war just that and declare that any candidate who
      supported the war would not enjoy the political support of the Peace
      Movement; instead, the Peace Movement allowed the entire issue to
      disappear from the debate.

      Equally unconscionable was the movement's betrayal of Ralph Nader, the
      major anti-war candidate; even attacking him with lies about how his
      run would be "give us four more years of Bush." Yet, a Gallup/USA
      Today poll at the time showed that 52% of Nader's voters would vote
      for Bush if Nader was not on the ballot, 44% would vote for Kerry if
      Nader was not on the ballot.

      Early ABB advocate, The Nation magazine's Nation Institute opined in
      the face of such polls, "If Nader was not on the ballot in key
      battleground states, three times as many of his backers in
      battleground states would vote for Kerry as for Bush."

      The Nation was equally devious when it wrote its Open Letter to Ralph
      Nader - a transparent pro-ABB swipe, "The odds of this becoming a race
      between Bush and Bush Lite are almost nil."

      "Nil" in this case turned out to be a "sure thing." The war-mongering
      Night of the Generals Kerry coronation (Democratic Party Convention)
      was the "in-your-face" slam dunk response of the Movement's darllng.

      And, somehow, folks like Noam Chomsky, Troy Duster, Barbara
      Ehrenreich, Jim Hightower, David Corten, Michael Lerner, Manning
      Marable, Frances Fox Piven, Studs Terkel, Eddie Vedder, Cornel West,
      Howard Zinn, Medea Benjamin, Michael Moore, Phil Donohue, Tim Robbins,
      who should have known better, jumped on the ABB bandwagon, signing on
      to yet another Open Letter. This time it was to the public urging
      support for ABB, saying, "For people seeking progressive social change
      in the United States, removing George W. Bush from office should be
      the top priority in the 2004 presidential election. Progressive votes
      for John Kerry in swing states may prove decisive in attaining this
      vital goal."


      That Was Then. Is It Any Better Now?

      OK. So the "progressive" celebrities were full of it. But, what about
      the paid professionals at the helms of all those UFPJ groups -
      neutered by pro-Democrat sentiments, funding imperatives, ties to
      Israel, wishful thinking or other illogical reasons?

      There appears to be no soul-searching and honorable resignations from
      this pack of over-the-hill self-promoters. So, where's the equivalent
      of the Rummy Generals? Who is stepping up to demand accountability?

      The Nation has been calling for Rumsfeld's head since at least its
      April 21, 2003 issue. Air America is abuzz with such calls and mockery
      for the "Heckuva job, Rummy" stance of the Decider.

      Yet, again, why no calls for fresh blood at the top of the Peace
      Movement? It's a very sad day when the Peace Movement leadership gets
      away unscathed with endorsing a war-monger; deceitfully attacking an
      anti-war candidate; eliminating the most important issue from an
      election year debate, etc.

      Ironically, at a time when opposition to the war mounts daily, with
      over 60% consistently polling against the war, the Peace Movement
      presence has been mostly invisible. Having capitulated when it
      mattered back in 2004, the Movement is having quite the time getting
      the soufflé to rise again. And, at every turn, it harkens back to the
      brain-dead misleadership. Had Cindy Sheehan not jump-started the dead
      vehicle, one would think that no one cares at all. And, now that she's
      no longer in the headlines, it's back to invisible as far as Peace
      activism opposition.

      During the Vietnam War, huge peace rallies were a matter of course.
      The Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam turned out 600,000 in
      Washington DC alone and millions in cities all across America on Oct.
      15, 1969. May 9, 1970, over 100,000 returned to DC to protest. On
      April 24, 1971, over 500,000 protesters descended on DC. On May 3,
      1971, over 10,000 were arrested in DC while attempting to shut down
      the government over the war.

      Despite all this, Congress failed to cut funding for the war until a
      1975 - year after the last US troops were withdrawn! Despite this
      history and recent pro-war voting patterns, UFPJ continues to hold to
      the wishful theory that their Democratic Party allies will step up and
      bring about an end to this latest misadventure.

      Three major rallies against the Iraq insanity have been pulled off,
      despite UFPJ's best efforts to derail them: October 25, 2003 saw
      100,000 in Washington; March 20, 2004 100,000 in New York City and a
      September 24 demonstration saw more than 300,000 march in Washington.
      In each case, the call was issued by A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to End War
      and Stop Racism). In each case, UFPJ first refused to go along with a
      united front, even threatening parallel demos. UFPJ's dedication to
      the Israeli Elephant in the Living Room was and still is the main
      cause of its balking. A.N.S.W.E.R. sought to link the Palestinian
      occupation issue with greater US Middle East policy and UFPJ's
      political strategy relies solely on the fantasy of their pro-Israel
      Democrats eventual coming around. Ultimately UFPJ itself came around
      and like their Democrat allies jumped to the head of the parade ---
      even claiming total credit.

      During Bush the Elder's Iraq war of 1990-1991, the UFPJ leadership
      broke with the larger movement and actually held rallies calling for
      sanctions --- again at the behest of their Democrat allies; even
      hoisting banners that read "Economic Sanctions Not War." UFPJ got the
      war and its wish. The resulting sanctions have been cited as
      responsible for the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children under age
      five and some million Iraqis overall. Way too late, the UFPJ leaders
      came around and opposed the deadly sanctions. Though, as with the Bush
      lack of accepting responsibility they decry, they saw no need to
      resign over the deadly policy they promoted.

      On Saturday, April 29th, UFPJ and others held a rally in New York and
      turned out 300,000 against the current war. Despite UFPJ's continued
      pro-Israel leanings, this rally took on the prospective Iran attacks,
      as well. (Though, somehow NOW's pro-choice banners dominated press
      footage.)

      Saturday's rally is dwarfed two days later by the millions neophyte
      immigrant rights activists turned out on May Day across the country.
      Less than two months into their effort, these activists are already
      far further along at addressing their issues than the long-established
      Peace Movement is after three years of illegal war.


      Where Are the Youth?

      It's not just the lack of consistency regarding Israel's belligerence
      and its dedication to the Democratic Party that diminishes the Peace
      Movement's effectiveness. The old guard at the UFPJ convention last
      year even voted down a proposal from the very youth most at risk. That
      proposal would have committed UFPJ resources to dogging recruitment
      centers and recruiters on high school and college campuses. Somehow,
      that was deemed "too provocative" and unworthy! Is it any wonder that
      UFPJ skews to an average age somewhere over 40?

      And, just as Bush would have the public swallow the very same lies all
      over again re: Iran; the UFPJ wing of the Peace Movement is gearing up
      for yet another unquestioning, pro-war Democrat endorsement in 2008.
      In election year 2006, we have yet to hear any clarion call, or even a
      peep, from the movement elders (and, yes, "elders" is the correct
      term) calling for opposition to every one of the Democrat war hawks
      now up for reelection. (Oh, they'll gladly do it for the Republicans)

      Historians will find this lack of accountability in the Peace Movement
      as a major cause for the prolongation of the Iraq war and quite
      possibly the reason Bush and/or his successor was able to also attack
      Iran. Only by cleaning house at the top and bringing in a much younger
      leadership can the Movement mitigate this historical judgment and
      begin to regain credibility after the unending free pass given Israel
      and the ABB stand-down.

      NOTE: You'll notice I do not use the term "Anti-War Movement." Partly,
      as one can easily see in the Palestine issue, the movement is not such
      as a matter of unwavering principle. But, also, I strongly believe
      that folks have the right to be called whatever they desire to be
      called. And, though in many ways it is a distinction without a
      difference, Peace Movement is the shaky coalition's chosen term.

      MICHAEL DONNELLY is a Vietnam-era Conscientious Objector and veteran
      of many (far too many) anti-war efforts. He can be reached at
      pahtoo @ aol.com

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