FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Latest Betrayal by Senate Democrats

by JOHN V. WALSH

The allegedly “antiwar” Senate Democrats betrayed the antiwar movement again last week, and the coming weeks will make Judas seem a model of loyalty by comparison. Prowar Senators used the filibuster provision repeatedly this past week to win the day, and the allegedly antiwar Senators did – nothing . Friday, the Senate failed to get the votes necessary to stop a filibuster and vote on an amendment ordering most U.S. troops home from Iraq in the next nine months. The vote was 47-47, well short of the 60 required to bring debate to an end. On Thursday, the Senate blocked legislation by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) that would have cut off funding, albeit only for “combat” forces in June 2008. Now comes the news that Bush’s spending supplemental for the war to be submitted to the Senate this week will amount to nearly $200 billion dollars ($195 billion to be precise, the price tag put on more or less the way done for a used car). Essentially Bush is thumbing his nose at the antiwar sentiment in the country, and the Dems are going along while trying to preserve a rapidly eroding antiwar veneer.

To get their way prowar Senators are on their way to using the filibuster provision a record number of times in this the 110th Congress where cloture has already been invoked 56 times at which rate there will be 143 such votes in this session! But the question must be raised, Why do the so-called “antiwar” Senators like Feingold or Obama or Kennedy or Kerry or Clinton or even Hagel not initiate a filibuster to stop Bush’s supplemental funding requests for the war? Think about it for a moment. Yes it takes 60 votes to continue debate but by the same token it only takes 41 to terminate a debate–and then the bill is dead. So why not filibuster Bush’s forthcoming spending supplemental? Unless Bush can muster 60 Senate votes, his request is dead in the water. The bill is then a corpse and there is nothing to veto. Now the 47 Senators who voted Friday to bring the U.S. troops home from Iraq are more than enough to filibuster Bush’s spending requests and end the war. Why do they not do it? Could it be that to a man and woman they are really prowar but this tactic allows them to appear antiwar to their constituents? Are they proclaiming their prowar bona fides to the voters while demonstrating to their real masters in the military industrial complex and at AIPAC that they will do nothing to stop the war? That is the way it looks from here.

Second why is the media perfectly silent on this possibility. I defy anyone to find a single mention of the use of the filibuster to end the war now anywhere in the mainstream media. A good example is last Sunday’s NYT piece by Frank Rich. He points out that the Dems are not doing enough to end the war, but then he laments that they really do not have the power. He perpetuates the myth that they have only a razor thin majority, a thought often put out by Harry Reid, and so they can do nothing. But Mr. Rich is surely smart enough to recognize that a filibuster can defund the war at once–and there are plenty of votes to do so among the 51 Dems.

Third and probably most important, why does the antiwar movement not take up the filibuster as a demand. It would bring enormous pressure to bear on Senatorial Dems who like to proclaim themselves antiwar. UFPJ (United for Peace and Justice) has explicitly refused to do this. Why? Because, according to the UFPJ “leadership,” their friends on the Hill (read Dems) say it does not have a chance? Of course that could be said of any of the antiwar measures. No, the truth is that the filibuster and the vote that would follow in its wake would expose each and every Dem Senator for what they are. And that is a no-no for the UFPJ leadership which more or less shares a bed with the Dems.

There is one way to push this forward. At FilibusterForPeace.org there is a petition calling for a Senate filibuster against the war. Sign and circulate. And if you are a member of UFPJ or other peace group, get them to support this in an active way. There will be mighty resistance but it is still possible.

JOHN V. WALSH can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com.

 

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

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
David Yearsley
Handel’s Executioner
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail