FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Bush / Kerry War Ticket

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

August 21, 2018
Anthony DiMaggio
Fascist Nation: The “Alt-Right” Menace Persists, Despite Setbacks
Chris Floyd
Dial “N” for Mayhem: Wording Our Way to a New Level of Hell
Creston Davis
The Education Impasse in the USA
Jonathan Cook
In Detaining Peter Beinart, Israel Has Declared it No Longer Represents Millions of Jews Overseas
Kenneth Culton
Trump Supporters: the Joyous Cult Bound by Shared Story and Ritual
Andy Thayer
Why the Chicago ‘68 Convention Matters Today
Simone Chun
Sea of Tears: The Tragedy of Families Split by the Korean War
William Blum
The Russians Did It (cont.)
Manuel E. Yepe
How Capitalism Erodes Mental Health
Doug Noble
Thomas Mountain
Djibouti Faces Dark Days to Come; Eritrean Ports, Pipeline Threaten Ethiopian Trade Lifeline
Binoy Kampmark
Finding Fault and Faulty Infrastructure: Genoa’s Morandi Bridge Disaster
Kary Love
“Suffer Not the Little Children….”
Thomas Knapp
Omarosa Manigault Newman, Public Servant
August 20, 2018
Carl Boggs
The Road to Disaster?
James Munson
“Not With a Bomb, But a Whimper” … Then More Bombs.
Jonathan Cook
Corbyn’s Labour Party is Being Made to Fail –By Design
Robert Fisk
A US Trade War With Turkey Over a Pastor? Don’t Believe It
Howard Lisnoff
The Mass Media’s Outrage at Trump: Why the Surprise?
Faisal Khan
A British Muslim’s Perspective on the Burkha Debate
Andrew Kahn
Inhumanity Above the Clouds
Dan Glazebrook
Trump’s New Financial War on the Global South
George Wuerthner
Why the Gallatin Range Deserves Protection
Ted Rall
Is Trump a Brand-New Weird Existential Threat? No.
Sheldon Richman
For the Love of Reason
Susie Day
Why Pundits Scare Me
Dean Baker
Does France’s Economy Need to Be Renewed?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Mighty Voice for Peace Has Gone Silent: Uri Avnery, 1923-2018
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail