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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail