In our fair city of Boston we have recently witnessed collapsing, water-logged Big-Dig tunnels; $500,000 worth of public fright fanned by our diction challenged mayor, “Mumbles” Menino, over some electronic bling bling; the wild-eyed Alan Dershowitz attacking almost everyone in sight as an anti-semite; a peace movement that by and large did not come to Jimmy Carter’s defense when he appeared here to speak on “Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid”; an ex-governor, “Mitt” Romney, who seemed to devote most of his time to tending his hair with a coat of something very like black shoe polish; and a new, “liberal” governor who “stood with Israel” during its terror-bombing of Lebanon.
So we yearn mightily for some good political news, and this past week we had a bit of it in the form of a resolution passed by the Boston City Council calling for an end to the war on Iraq and Afghanistan. This principled statement is the handiwork of City Councilor, Chuck Turner, an African American and the most prominent elected official of the Green Rainbow Party (GRP) in Massachusetts. (The GRP is the name taken by the Greens here, as the result of its union with the Mel King’s Rainbow Coalition.)
The neocon tabloid, the Boston Herald was livid at the audacity of Councilor Turner, who represents the poorest parts of the Athens of America and those with the highest minority population. The Herald ran an enormous headline and a full page picture of Turner on its front page, denouncing him for the resolution. The Herald’s accompanying editorial, “A quest for irrelevancy,” continued the attack: “The resolution the work of Councilor Chuck Turner, rather cleverly albeit disingenuously, links the federal expenditure of funds for the two wars to an inadequacy of federal funds for police, education and subsidized housing here. The local funding fig leaf provided sufficient cover to allow the otherwise irrelevant resolution to be brought up and to pass by an 8-3 vote. It even got the support of (Democrat) Mayor Tom Menino who, according to a spokeswoman, understood it as a ‘statement’ about federal spending priorities.” Take away the terms “disingenuously” and “fig leaf,” and the Herald actually got the message. As Turner himself put it, “We can’t meet the needs of the people of Boston with only tax revenues. We need federal resources.”
Where the Herald was hostile on the front page, the Boston Globe was snide in its reportage, liberally doped with opinion, and buried deep inside. But like the Herald, the “liberal” Globe sought to minimize and ridicule the vote. The Globe’s message was not to take it all too seriously since just about every other deliberative body had discussed the war. In fact our own Democrat-dominated Mass. state legislature, in contrast to a number of other state legislatures, has not voted a resolution against the war on Iraq or Afghanistan or even debated it. This seems to have escaped the notice of the Globe’s ace reporter. Perhaps Turner’s resolution will move the Democratic solons of Beacon Hill to take some action. But the Globe conceded that the Councilors had to be sure they were on the “right” side of the issue to satisfy their base hence an 8 to 3 vote, that is, only 27% against the resolution. As someone observed on looking at results like this and Bush’s poll numbers, “You can’ t fool all of the people all of the time. But you can fool all of the people some of the time. And you can fool about 30% of the people all of the time.”
What makes Turner’s resolution most interesting is that it takes a stand against both the war in Iraq and the one in Afghanistan. Too many political figures, for example the bellicose Hillary Rodham Clinton, are calling on us to get out of Iraq and turn our military efforts to Afghanistan. That is just plain crazy. The Russians sent 500,000 troops into that quagmire and failed. I remember seeing the veterans of Afghanistan, ruined in mind and body, on the streets of Moscow during the commemoration of WW II, Victory Day, some years after Gorbachev ended the Afghan conflict. What a contrast to the veterans of the Great Patriotic War who were mentally well and very proud despite all the suffering they had endured. It is beyond imagination what the Afghans must have endured in that war and what they are enduring now. But they win.
Turner’s stance against these wars is all the more striking here in Massachusetts where “our” Senator, John “Live Shot” Kerry, voted for the war on Iraq and ran as a pro-war candidate in ’04. (Kerry is known as Live Shot, because he was always first before the cameras when he and Ted Kennedy had wangled something of benefit for Mass.) Kerry decided to satisfy his ambitions by climbing to the presidency atop a mountain of Iraqi and American corpses; and that he did even though he did not make it to the “summit.” For that ultimate and criminal act of narcissism, he can never be forgiven. And Live Shot continues to connive, still taking no clear stance on defunding the war. No wonder some here are beginning to whisper about Senator Chuck Turner in 2008.
JOHN V. WALSH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He wishes to correct two items in a previous CP piece on “The Splintered Antiwar Movement.” First Ralph Nader was not the “only” antiwar candidate in 2004, only the most visible. There were a number of socialist candidates as well as a Libertarian candidate, Michael Badnarik.
Second, Justin Raimondo did not offer to pay his own plane fair if invited to speak at the rally on January 28 in D.C.; the offer actually came from an anonymous donor in San Francisco. (But this author stands by his opinion that, had UFPJ invited Justin Raimondo or Ron Paul, they would have electrified the crowd, showing many there that they have staunch antiwar allies in unsuspected places.)