FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Peace Is No Longer a Partisan Issue

by JOHN V. WALSH

A funny thing happened on the way to a war on Syria – in fact several funny things. First the road to Damascus was blocked by the sentiment of the American people who are fed up with war. Second, international opposition from every corner of the earth, save two or three, joined the barricade, even unto the British House of Commons and its Tory majority, which derailed the clueless Cameron’s bid to join the planned strike on Syria. Third, Putin and Lavrov backed by Iran and China drew a line in the sand in Syria – and they won, a setback and possibly a historical turning point for the U.S. Empire. Fourth, the Republicans in Congress joined in the opposition to this latest criminal misadventure – in fact they led the opposition. And that last is something not seen since the days before World War II. Peace is no longer a partisan issue.

But wait a moment, the “progressives” howl. Republicans for peace? Nonsense, they cry; it is all pure partisanship; they hate Obama; that’s all there is to it. Let’s consider that argument for a moment.

Suppose it is partisanship. What kind? In the past the strategy of the Republicans was to out-hawk the Democrats, to take up an even more belligerent stance. And indeed that is what a few Republicans did this time. Thus, John McCain and Lindsay Graham dragged their knuckles to the Senate floor to chide Obama for weakness on Syria and failure to provide even more arms to the “rebel” anthropophagi. But these senescent warriors were relatively few in number and without the sway which they held in the past. And they were indistinguishable from Democratic hawks like Diane Feinstein.

Instead a large number of Republicans in the House opposed the war. More than that they took leadership in opposing it, as documented here. Thus Scott Rigell (R, VA) initiated a bipartisan letter to Obama in opposition to the war, which was signed by 119 Republicans and 21 Democrats. In the “liberal” all Democratic delegation from Massachusetts, my home state, only one Congressman signed on, Michael Capuano. In response, the ever partisan Barbara Lee (D, CA) hastily drafted a letter which went to Democrats only and added another 22 Democrats. The final tally was 119 Republicans out of 232 signed the letter to Obama while only 43 of 200 Democrats signed on to either letter. That is new and it should be acknowledged as such.

But much more interesting was one feature of the bipartisan missive that was lacking in the partisan Democrat one. That feature was a mention of the war on Libya, which the bipartisan letter labeled as “unconstitutional,” the remedy for which is impeachment. A House majority, including an overwhelming Republican majority, hinting at impeachment for an unconstitutional war is something new. No substantial number of Dems did that under Bush.

It would be foolish not to acknowledge that something new has happened here. But the progressive press has been alive with accounts of “their” victory in stopping war on Syria with no mention of the new role of the Republicans. Authors taking this line range from Weatherman terrorist turned Obamabot, Bernadine Dohrn, who writes only about the role of the “peace and justice” movement, all the way to the listless prose of Robert Naiman in the Huffington Post. This gang is either totally isolated or completely in denial. And three words they dare not say are “Ron Paul libertarianism”.

Where do they think this new spirit comes from in the Republican Party? Does it simply fall from the heavens? Did they watch the primary debates in the 2012 election to see Ron Paul infuriate Giuliani and the others when he called a spade a spade and an Empire an Empire? Did they pay attention as he refused to endorse Romney?

As a result of the Vietnam era, the peace movement was captured by the genuine Left. As that Left got older, more “reasonable,” more conventional, they became more enamored of “humanitarian” imperialism. Their crowning achievement was the cruel war on Libya, which under Gaddafi had the highest Human Development Index in all of Africa. Amy Goodman and progressives of like mind sang the praises of the destruction of that poor country, day after day, while Ron Paul was denouncing the whole venture. The Republican majority in the House has now done essentially the same. Surely the bombing of Libya marked the end of the progressive domination of the antiwar movement. Now there is a genuine competition to see who will lead a movement to give voice to the very human desire for peace. And right now the conservatives and libertarians are ahead.

Instead of showing hostility to this new development or trying to explain it away or ignoring it, the genuine opponents of war amongst progressives should welcome it and work with it. It is our obligation to all those millions who have already died at the hands of the U.S. Empire and the countless more who will meet the same fate, absent effective action on our part.

Finally, we must be careful not to be too jubilant over this victory. There is a major segment of the imperial elite which chafes at being stuck to the Middle East tar baby for the sake of Israel. Obama and Hillary are itching to turn toward China, the only real obstacle to global domination by the U.S. Empire right now. That faction, which includes “offensive realists” of the Mearsheimer stripe but not the Kissinger flavor, would like to get out of the Middle East and bend every effort to bring down China. Israel obviously feels otherwise, and so AIPAC may be China’s best friend right now. As the pivot to East Asia develops, a strong and broad-based antiwar movement will be needed to keep us all out of mortal danger.

John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com He is a founding member of ComeHomeAmerica (www.ComeHomeAmerica.US ). At that site you can read the statement of CHA opposing intervention in Syria. It is a statement of principle and applies to every U.S. intervention.

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

February 27, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Media Ban! Making Sense of the War Between Trump and the Press
Dave Lindorff
Resume Inflation at the NSC: Lt. General McMaster’s Silver Star Was Essentially Earned for Target Practice
Conn Hallinan
Is Trump Moderating US Foreign Policy? Hardly
Norman Pollack
Political Castration of State: Militarization of Government
Kenneth Surin
Inside Dharavi, a Mumbai Slum
Lawrence Davidson
Truth vs. Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Extradition Saga of Kim Dotcom
Robert Fisk
Why a Victory Over ISIS in Mosul Might Spell Defeat in Deir Ezzor
David Swanson
Open Guantanamo!
Ted Rall
The Republicans May Impeach Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Why Should Trump―or Anyone―Be Able to Launch a Nuclear War?
Andrew Stewart
Down with Obamacare, Up with Single Payer!
Colin Todhunter
Message to John Beddington and the Oxford Martin Commission
David Macaray
UFOs: The Myth That Won’t Die?
Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail