FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Bush / Kerry War Ticket

by STAN COX

Like tens of millions of American voters, I am desperate to see President Bush out of the White House. But I’m not voting for John Kerry. I’m not that desperate.

When it comes to the centerpiece of the Bush presidency — the invasion and occupation of Iraq — Kerry is taking a more belligerent line than even Bush himself. On July 16, he told the Wall Street Journal that he would be less likely than Bush to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq anytime soon, and that, if he were elected, the occupation would continue at least through his first term in office.

When asked how many additional troops should be deployed Iraq, Kerry said that once in office, he would “sit with the generals” and discuss the size of the increase. Earlier, he had told Defense News that he would add two divisions to the current 10-division army — an increase of 40,000 troops — while continuing reseach and development of the Star Wars missile defense/corporate welfare system and, not surprisingly, raising the overall military budget.

At a press conference also on June 16, Kerry endorsed the two most controversial elements of Bush’s foreign policy: first-strike war and unilateralism. He asked, “Am I prepared to go get them before they get us if we locate them and have sufficient intelligence?” and answered, “You bet I am.” He later added — still in the classic Bush mode — “I will never allow any other country to veto what we need to do and I will never allow any other institution to veto what we need to do to protect our nation”.

The Kerry team has even managed to banish criticism of the Iraq war from the Democratic Party’s 2004 platform. They forced the backers of antiwar challenger Dennis Kucinich to accept instead the statement that “people of good will disagree about whether America should have gone to war in Iraq.”

In moving closer to, and in some cases beyond Bush’s policies, Kerry is ignoring his own party’s rank and file. A recent New York Times / CBS poll found 56% of Democrats agreeing that our troops should “leave Iraq as soon as possible, even if Iraq is not completely stable,” while only 38% believed we should “stay in Iraq as long as it takes to make sure Iraq is a stable democracy.”

The Kerry Democrats’ refusal to criticize the war in their party platform is puzzling, since polls over the past month have shown that a majority of Americans believe we should never have invaded Iraq, and that fully 60% believe we should not attack another country unless it attacks first.

John Kerry has given me no choice but to vote against both him and Bush. In doing so, I refuse to be charged with single-issue voting. A presidential candidate who insists on a long-term U.S. occupation of Iraq is saying that he is not serious about curing our addiction to Middle Eastern oil or the development of renewable energy. A candidate who is willing to spend billions of dollars on Iraq (and, he is hinting, on other wars) in each and every month of his presidency is not serious about reducing the Bush budget deficits or about addressing domestic crises in health, education, and the environment.

A candidate who won’t discuss a timetable for ending America’s military occupation of Arab lands is hardly going to stop supporting Israel’s occupation forces and settlements in the West Bank and Gaza (and Kerry’s positions have become almost indistinguishable from Bush’s on that issue as well.)

And a candidate who wants to continue sending the sons and daughters of working people to fight a war for, in his words, Iraq’s “stability and security” (pointedly leaving out Bush’s rhetoric about democracy) is less interested in the lives of people than in the profits of corporations.

Across the country, as always, good Democratic candidates can be found at the local, state, and congressional levels. But at the top of the ticket, as always, there’s a timid fellow struggling to let as little daylight as possible pass between him and his Republican opponent. Voting dutifully against Reagan, against Bush I, against Dole, and against Bush II over the past two decades has not brought us better Democratic candidates, only worse Republicans.

Now we see close to 900 American troops dead in Iraq, with more than 5000 maimed. At least 11,000 Iraqi civilians haved died so far, and their country is in chaos. All of the rationales for having invaded Iraq lie in shambles. Despite it all, John Kerry is unwilling to condemn this mad adventure; in fact, he’s telling us that he’s thirsty for more.

He thinks I’m desperate enough to vote for him anyway. But he’s wrong.

STAN COX is a plant breeder and writer living in Salina, Kansas. He can be reached at: t.s@cox.net

More articles by:

Stan Cox (@CoxStan) is an editor at Green Social Thought, where this article first ran. He is author of Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing and, with Paul Cox, of How the World Breaks: Life in Catastrophe’s Path, From the Caribbean to Siberia

February 22, 2018
Mark Schuller
Haiti’s Latest Indignity at the Hands of Dogooders, Oxfam’s Sex Scandal
Jeffrey Sommers
Bond Villain in the World Economy: Latvia’s Offshore Banking Sector
Mark Schuller
Haiti’s Latest Indignity at the Hands of Dogooders, Oxfam’s Sex Scandal
T.J. Coles
How the US Bullies North Korea, 1945-Present
Ipek S. Burnett
Rethinking Freedom in the Era of Mass Shootings
Manuel E. Yepe
Fire and Fury: More Than a Publishing Hit
Patrick Bobilin
Caught in a Trap: Being a Latino Democrat is Being in an Abusive Relationship
Laurel Krause
From Kent State to Parkland High: Will America Ever Learn?
Terry Simons
Congress and the AR-15: One NRA Stooge Too Many
George Wuerthner
Border Wall Delusions
Manuel García, Jr.
The Anthropocene’s Birthday, or the Birth-Year of Human-Accelerated Climate Change
Thomas Knapp
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate
February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail