Deadly Illusions, Rest in Peace

by NORMAN SOLOMON

This week’s cave-in on Capitol Hill — supplying a huge new jolt of funds for the horrific war effort in Iraq — is surprising only to those who haven’t grasped our current circumstances.

Public opinion polls aren’t the same as political leverage. The Vietnam War went on for years after polling showed that most Americans opposed the war and even saw it as immoral.

Slick phrases about the need to bring our troops home can easily become little more than platitudes on wallpaper in media echo chambers.

No matter how many Democrats are in Congress, they won’t end this war unless an antiwar movement develops enough grassroots strength to compel them to do so.

Unfortunately — and unnecessarily — for years now the Internet powerhouse MoveOn.org has often functioned as a virtual appendage of the national Democratic Party. That close relationship has largely squandered MoveOn’s opportunities to help build strong deep independent activism for the long haul. And, on crucial issues of the Iraq war, MoveOn has failed to back the positions of such gutsy progressive visionaries as Reps. Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters.

A statement issued Thursday by the national Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) pointed out that "the approach of the Democratic leadership has utterly failed — as they now prepare to give President Bush $95 billion more war funding through a bill that no longer has any timelines for troop withdrawal."

Asking a key question — "How can you oppose a troop escalation while funding it in full?" — PDA reiterated its longstanding position that Democrats in Congress should be "using the power of the purse to cut off funds to Iraq, except those needed to safely withdraw our troops (and for humanitarian/reconstruction aid to the Iraqi people)." And legislators should be "using their investigative power to probe White House deceptions and distortions that propelled the Iraq invasion and occupation, and to impeach if necessary."

Memorial Day 2007 comes at a disastrous time. Political power brokers and media elites insist on opting for a mix-merge of tragedy and farce. A key reality is that we won’t be able to change the militaristic direction of the country without effectively confronting the congressional Democrats who are fueling the engines of destruction.

When considering what to demand now, it’s helpful to put the current moment in historical perspective. The same basic arguments for keeping U.S. forces in Iraq have long been presented by reigning politicians and key media outlets as self-evident wisdom.

A cover story in Time magazine laid down the prevailing line: "Foreign policy luminaries from both parties say a precipitous U.S. withdrawal would cripple American credibility, doom reform in the Arab world and turn Iraq into a playground for terrorists and the armies of neighboring states like Iran and Syria." That was in April– 2004.

NORMAN SOLOMON is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

The new documentary film "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," based on NORMAN SOLOMON’s book of the same title, will be released directly to DVD in June. For information about the full-length movie, narrated by Sean Penn, go to: www.WarMadeEasyTheMovie.org





 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
July 29, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey
Joshua Frank
The Wheels Fell Off the Bernie Sanders Bandwagon
Conn Hallinan
Ukraine: Close to the Edge
Stephen Lendman
What Happened to Ralkina Jones? Another Jail Cell Death
Rob Wallace
Neoliberal Ebola: the Agroeconomic Origins of the Ebola Outbreak
Dmitry Rodionov
The ‘Ichkerization’ Crime Wave in Ukraine
Joyce Nelson
Scott Walker & Stephen Harper: a New Bromance
Bill Blunden
The Red Herring of Digital Backdoors and Key Escrow Encryption
Thomas Mountain
The Sheepdog Politics of Barack Obama
Farzana Versey
A President and a Yogi: Abdul Kalam’s Symbolism
Norman Pollack
America’s Decline: Internal Structural-Cultural Subversion
Foday Darboe
How Obama Failed Africa
Cesar Chelala
Russia’s Insidious Epidemic
Tom H. Hastings
Defending Democracy
David Macaray
Why Union Contracts are Good for the Country
Virginia Arthur
The High and Dry Sierras
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, the Season Finale, Mekonception in Redhook
July 28, 2015
Mark Schuller
Humanitarian Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years and Counting
Lawrence Ware
Why the “Black Church” Doesn’t Exist–and Never Has
Peter Makhlouf
Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After “Protective Edge”
Carl Finamore
Landlords Behaving Badly: San Francisco Too Valuable for Poor People*
Michael P. Bradley
Educating About Islam: Problems of Selectivity and Imbalance
Binoy Kampmark
Ransacking Malaysia: the Najib Corruption Dossier
Michael Avender - Medea Benjamin
El Salvador’s Draconian Abortion Laws: a Miscarriage of Justice
Jesse Jackson
Sandra Bland’s Only Crime Was Driving While Black
Cesar Chelala
Effect of Greece’s Economic Crisis on Public Health
Mel Gurtov
Netanyahu: An Enemy of Peace
Joseph G. Ramsey
The Limits of Optimism: E.L. Doctorow and the American Left
George Wuerthner
Bark Beetles and Forest Fires: Another Myth Goes Up in Smoke
Paul Craig Roberts - Dave Kranzler
Supply and Demand in the Gold and Silver Futures Markets
Eric Draitser
China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion
Harvey Wasserman
Will Ohio Gov. Kasich’s Anti-Green Resume Kill His Presidential Hopes?
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode 4, a Bowery Ballroom Blitz
July 27, 2015
Susan Babbitt
Thawing Relations: Cuba’s Deeper (More Challenging) Significance
Howard Lisnoff
Bernie Sanders: Savior or Seducer of the Anti-War Left?
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma’s Profiteers: You Want Us to Pay What for These Meds?
Joshua Sperber
What is a President? The CEO of Capitalism
John Halle
On Berniebots and Hillary Hacks, Dean Screams, Swiftboating and Smears
Stephen Lendman
Cleveland Police Attack Black Activists
Zoe Konstantopoulou
The Politics of Coercion in Greece
Patrick Cockburn
Only Iraq’s Clerics Can Defeat ISIS
Ralph Nader
Sending a ‘Citizens Summons’ to Members of Congress
Clancy Sigal
Scratch That Itch: Hillary and The Donald
Colin Todhunter
Working Class War Fodder
Gareth Porter
Obama’s Version of Iran Nuke Deal: a Second False Narrative