FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Peace Is No Longer a Partisan Issue

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.

More articles by:

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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 25, 2019
Marc Levy
All My Vexes Are in Texas
Jim Kavanagh
Avoiding Assange
Michael D. Yates
The Road Beckons
Julian Vigo
Notre Dame Shows the Unifying Force of Culture, Grenfell Reveals the Corruption of Government
Ted Rall
Democratic Refusal to Impeach Could Be Disastrous
Tracey Harris
Lessons Learned From the Tiny House Movement
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Human Flourishing (Eudaimonia): an Antidote to Extinction?
Dana Johnson
Buyer Beware: Hovercraft Ruling Deals a Major Blow to Land Conservation in Alaska
Norman Solomon
Joe Biden: Puffery vs. Reality
Jen Marlowe
The Palestine Marathon
Binoy Kampmark
Lethal Bungling: Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings
Michael Slager
“Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change
Jesse Jackson
Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars
George Wuerthner
BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness
April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Bolton
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail