FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Democrats’ War Funding Debacle

by JOHN V. WALSH

“He who knows the enemy and himself will never in a hundred battles be at risk.” Sun­Tzu.

Last Friday was potentially a sublime day for the cause of peace in the House of Representatives. Under pressure from the peace movement and a handful of antiwar legislators, Speaker Nancy Pelosi had inserted a few poison pills into the supplemental for war funding – in the form of restrictions and deadlines for the war. However these dollops of poison had many antidotes in the form of the numerous loopholes provided to Bush. And so it was basically a bill to make the Democrats look good without terminating the war. In this way the Democrats could satisfy their real constituencies, AIPAC and other pro-war forces, while posturing for peace. Look good to the people, bash Bush and satisfy the real constituency. This was the plan.

As predicted, the phony poison pills were not acceptable to the stubborn pro-war Representatives and to the champions of a “Unitary” Executive, that is an emperor. They vowed to vote it down. That was the moment of sweetness. If but a handful, literally, of the “anti-war” Democrats voted against the bill, there would be no war funding. A crisis would be precipitated and a real debate over the war would have to begin in the Congress. It was a moment when all the talk about using an opponent’s weakness against him, political jujutsu, the oft-cited skill of the “insiders,” could be realized. It was a moment when “progressive” Democrats were in the driver’s seat. But in the end it was a moment of betrayal by virtually all the Democrats who have posed for so long as voices of peace. The bill passed, and funding for the war has been provided by the Democrats ­ once more. (The vote was 218 for funding and 212 against funding ­ so a mere four votes (yes, 4!) could have defeated the funding.)

There were only ten “heroes” in the entire House who voted against the supplemental on the basis of opposing the war. They were: Libertarian/Republican Ron Paul; Democrats Dennis Kucinich, John Lewis, Barbara Lee, Mike McNulty, Mike Michaud, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, Lynn Woolsey; and Republican John Duncan. So that is about it ­ there are only ten who will desert the War Parties when push comes to shove.

Here in my home state of MA, things were especially grim on that day. Not a single member of “our anti-war” Congressional delegation voted against the supplemental! This despite the fact the sentiment here for peace is very strong, an atmosphere bestowed upon “our” congressmen by the hard work of the peace movement over the decades. Especially instructive is the case of Congressman Jim McGovern who has railed against funding the war and put his own Iraq withdrawal resolution before the House to much fanfare. That resolution is all very nice; it makes McGovern look good, perhaps allows him to salve his conscience a bit and most importantly permits the Dems to say that they harbor peaceniks in their ranks. But in Friday’s roll call McGovern’s vote was needed and the time for meaningless pleasantries was over. Jimmy McGovern toed the line. Here in MA the peace movement has adopted an all carrot, no stick approach to “our” delegation. The time for that is past. It is time to play hardball. It is earnestly to be hoped that this lesson has been learned. We shall see.

And finally there is the nationwide peace movement. MoveOn, in a repeat performance of its bogus polling ploy, claimed the “movement” was for “Pelosi’s” bill. Their push-pull poll was circulated on the floor of the House at a crucial moment, convincing wavering Democrats (or more likely providing them with cover) to vote for the war funding. (I can hear our House solons crying out one day: “If I knew then about MoveOn what I know now, I would have never voted for funding the war.”) Too many others in the “movement” (e.g., Council for a Livable World) and the “progressive” blogosphere (e.g., the boss of Daily Kos) joined MoveOn in its exercise in perfidy. But happily much of the peace movement stuck to its guns, including United for Peace and Justice, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans For Peace, Progressive Democrats of America, AfterDowningSt, Voters For Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, Code Pink and others. Those organizations and others like them deserve our support; not a penny should go to the MoveOn’s of the world.

Every decent experiment in science brings a bit more clarity. And every significant struggle in politics does the same, as someone or other is sure to have said. In each case the insights are precious and we ought not waste them. We have learned a bit more about our enemy and, hopefully, about our own strategies.

JOHN V. WALSH can be contacted at www.FilibusterForPeace.org.

 

 

John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com

More articles by:
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull, 500 Years of Trauma
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Gordon Smith
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
stclair
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered, Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail