Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

John Kerry’s Strange Call to Filibuster the War

 

“We should start now to talk about filibustering for the saving of lives and of our country.”

John Kerry

That is a direct quote from John Kerry. Unfortunately it is from April, 1971. Now Senator Kerry will not go so far as to vote against the supplemental appropriations to end the war. In a conference call with the Smedley Butler Brigade, the Boston Chapter of Veterans for Peace, Kerry refused on Tuesday to vote against the Supplemental Appropriation for the War on Iraq. It is possible with only 41 Senate votes to filibuster the war to an end, as pointed out on February 8 here in CounterPunch. Although there are 51 Democrats in the Senate, not one Senator has stepped forward to fight for such a filibuster. Meanwhile Americans and innocent Iraqis die every day in Iraq.

But John Kerry is simply one of the ugliest examples of the Democrats’ complicity in the war. And that complicity reflects the complicity of much of the “official” peace movement. Let’s look at the facts. In October 2002, the Democrats controlled the Senate when the Iraq resolution came up. 23 Senators, including one Republican, Lincoln Chafee, voted against it. Right there it could have been stopped. 18 more votes would have sustained a filibuster and the resolution would have been dead. But those 18 votes did not emerge. Why? Because every Democratic Senator facing a close election in the very next month or harboring presidential ambitions voted in favor of the resolution. The only exception of which I know was the late Paul Wellstone. Daschle and Cleland voted for the resolution ­ and they lost their races anyway, defeats they richly deserved. And of course John Edwards and John Kerry and Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, all with presidential ambitions, voted for the war. Kerry compounded his criminality by running on a prowar platform in 2004. It is interesting that the polls had a majority turning against the war late in October of 2004 just before the election, but Kerry had locked himself into his bellicose stance ­ and lost. Think about that. John Kerry consciously decided to climb to the presidency atop a mountain of Iraqi and American corpses. To make amends for that crime, a simple apology will never be enough.

So the Democrats gave Bush his war for the sake of their ambitions, precisely what Rove and AIPAC were counting on. And year after year Bush came along with requests for supplemental funding. And each year the Democrats provided the votes. But the Dems were not in the majority, say “Progressive” Democrats of America and some in the leadership of United for Peace and Justice. In fact that is why those folks urged us to vote for Dems in 2006. But in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 the Democrats had 41 votes in the Senate, giving them the power to end the war in any of those years. They never even tried. And now they have 51 votes, a majority and much more than they need to filibuster against the war appropriations. And still they will not so much as raise the issue of the filibuster. It has been the Democrats’ war all along; it was from the start; and it is so in spades today.

The root cause is not spineless Dem politicians but a spineless official peace movement.

Now dear reader, if you are part of the “mainstream” peace movement, represented by United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), for example, do not start to mutter to yourself about spineless Democratic politicians. For the fault lies not in our politicians, but in ourselves. Let us remind ourselves that twice in two weeks, the avowedly prowar Senators, mainly Republicans, filibustered against a toothless non-binding anti-war resolution against the war. Why? Their base demands it. Theirs is not a spineless base, and so they are not spineless legislators But in over four years the supposedly antiwar Democratic Senators did not even raise the idea of a filibuster. Why not? In part because their base did not demand it. Not once was it raised to my knowledge. What does the mainstream or “official” antiwar movement, as it more properly should be called, do? Does it demand or does it grovel? Quite frankly it grovels ­ at most. The Dem politicians are spineless in part, because we are.

Whenever a UFPJ group goes to “lobby” the Congressmen or Senators, the unwritten rule (violated by the present writer on many occasions) is to “make nice”.’ Do not risk weakening the “relationships” with legislators and staff is the mantra. It is all carrot and no stick. And what are the results? No filibuster. Continued war. And from first hand experience, when one threatens the legislator with supporting another candidate in the coming election, a pained look comes over the UFPJ “facilitator,” and one can rely on being tut-tutted into silence.

But take this a step farther. The Democratic politicians know full well that there is no stick. “P”DA can be relied on to support the most retrograde of Democratic candidates in the end as can “progressives” like Dennis Kucinich.

In fact without a third party, there is no stick. Ralph Nader is right on this point. The Democrats will never change unless they face an electoral challenge. It is time to build that challenge. And it is time for more of us to get involved in movements like the Occupation Project. We must refuse to leave the offices of Senators until we have obtained written pledges to vote against the war and to join a filibuster. The time is late.

John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar@gmail.com

He thanks Nate Goldschlag of Veterans for Peace for digging up the quote from John Kerry. When VFP went to occupy Senator Kerry’s office after their initial conference call with Kerry, they found a large police detail waiting to repulse them. Fort Kerry has not yet been breached.

 

 

More articles by:

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

October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
Ramzy Baroud
That Single Line of Blood: Nassir al-Mosabeh and Mohammed al-Durrah
Zhivko Illeieff
Addiction and Microtargeting: How “Social” Networks Expose us to Manipulation
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
What is Truth?
Michael Doliner
Were the Constitution and the Bill of Rights a Mistake?
Victor Grossman
Cassandra Calls
Ralph E. Shaffer
Could Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing Ended Differently?
Vanessa Cid
Our Everyday Family Separations
Walaa Al Ghussein
The Risks of Being a Journalist in Gaza
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal and Treachery—The Extremism of Moderates
James Munson
Identity Politics and the Ruling Class
P. Sainath
The Floods of Kerala: the Bank That Went Under…Almost
Ariel Dorfman
How We Roasted Donald Duck, Disney’s Agent of Imperialism
Joe Emersberger
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s Assault on Human Rights and Judicial Independence
Ed Meek
White Victimhood: Brett Kavanaugh and the New GOP Brand
Andrew McLean, MD
A Call for “Open Space”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail