The reports are coming in from all over the nation. The Democrats are getting pilloried as they shuck and jive on the war. They have an election coming up in fall of 2006 and they want to take back Congress. They are scrambling to find their footing. The Dems think we can have guns and butter – war and health care. I’ve got news for them – that tune ain’t playing no more.
The Boston Globe reported on February 20 that the Dems have put Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), a former Army officer, in charge of coming up with a consensus Democratic plan for the war. His answer? It’s called "strategic redeployment." What does that mean? "It’s important to note that it’s not withdrawal — it’s redeployment," Reed said. "We need to pursue a strategy that is going to accomplish the reasonable objectives, and allow us to have strategic flexibility. Not only is it a message, but it’s a method to improve the security there and around the globe."
The Dems new plan is to pull some number of U.S. troops out of Iraq into Kuwait and other new bases in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa. From the new large bases in Kuwait the U.S. would increase Air Force bombing missions over Iraq, increase the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) like the Predator, that fly via satellite direction, and can drop bombs and fire missiles. For the Iraqi people this means more indiscriminate bombing and more innocent people killed.
When things get really out of hand in Iraq, the "strategic redeployment" plan (it’s just the Murtha plan with a new name by the way) will call for an expansion of U.S. Special Forces teams going back into Iraq for quick hits and killings of anyone who dares resist the corrupt puppet government the U.S. has put into place.
The Democrats will sell this to the American public by saying they are pulling the troops out of the war. A few units will be brought home and big ceremonies held so that the public thinks the war is slowing down. The Dems hope that "strategic redeployment" will mean less troops will be killed day to day in Iraq. They hope it will be their ticket to victory in November. But in truth the war will go on.
In fact, the endless war will be expanded with new basing arrangements in Southeast Asia, Africa and Afghanistan. More territory will be occupied and the field of operations against that faceless "terrorism" will be expanded. All this will be done with the Dems full encouragement and support. And guess what? The Pentagon will need lots more money to build these new bases and outposts and Congress – both Repubs and Dems – will give them the money.
The peace movement had better not fall for this bait and switch. The Dems are running an election game on us. They are feeling our pressure and this is their disingenuous response. Peace activists nationwide must see through this latest shell game and call it for what it is. Strategic deception.
The time has come for the peace movement to unembedded itself from the Democratic Party. As long as peace activists see themselves as "party" people they will not have the ability to be critical of these kind of cynical moves to co-opt our energies.
I was in Germany right after the U.S. began the invasion of Afghanistan soon after 9-11. The Green Party in Germany supported that invasion and angered the German peace movement. I saw German peace activists publicly condemn national Green Party leaders for supporting the U.S. war. The peace activists understood where their primary allegiance belonged. To the anti-war movement first, and then to a party. If the party goes astray, the peace movement does not follow. We must do the same here in the U.S.
BRUCE K. GAGNON is Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org