Boston Globe Asks Why the Democrats Will Not Stop the War Machine

Despite claims by prominent Democrats and certain Republicans that the time has come to end the bloodshed in Iraq and bring the troops home, the truth is, it’s politics as usual in Washington. A recent Op-Ed piece by Derrick Z. Jackson in The Boston Globe clearly makes this case: “Not only did the Senate Democrats fail again this week to advance proposals for a pullout, they show in much broader ways that they have not changed course at all. They may want to end the war bungled by Republicans, but they refuse to end the escalation of the American war machine. . . . Have you heard the Democrats leap up in unison to end this madness? They know they are not just funding better body armor or prosthetics for our soldiers. They know they fund the gear that makes prosthetics necessary.” Follow this link to read the entire article.

Comments

Great Article

We have the opportunity to co-opt the Demoblicans

How to Win in Iraq
But if we define winning correctly, as defeating Islamic 4GW elements including al Qaeda, and if for once we can accept the fact that America's power is limited and we need an indirect approach, I think we might yet snatch a few chestnuts from the fire. After almost 4000 dead, tens of thousands of wounded and a couple trillion bucks down the drain, it would be nice to leave old Osama, like Snidely Whiplash, having to say, "Rats! Foiled Again!"

Our invasion and subsequent blunders, such as sending home the Iraqi army and civil service, destroyed the state in Iraq. Iraq currently has a government of sorts, cowering in the Green Zone, but it is a Potemkin government because there is no state. A stateless Mesopotamia is a huge win for Fourth Generation, non-state forces such as al Qaeda, because they flourish in such statelessness.

Conversely, were a state to be re-created in Iraq, they would lose. That is true almost regardless of the nature and orientation of a new Iraqi state. States do not like competition, and any real Iraqi state would quickly roll up the non-state forces on its territory. The fact that an Iraqi state would almost certainly be Shiite-dominated while al Qaeda is poisonously Salafist makes that all the more certain.

The central strategic question, then, is, how can a state be re-created in Iraq? There is no guaranteed answer; it may not be possible. What is guaranteed, however, is that the United States cannot do it. The problem is legitimacy. To be real, a future Iraqi state must be perceived by Iraqis as legitimate. But anything the United States, as a foreign invader and occupier, creates, endorses or assists automatically thereby loses its legitimacy.

What the U.S. must therefore do is get out of the way. When elements in Iraq move to re-create a state -- and those elements must be independent of the current al-Maliki government, which, as an American creation, has no legitimacy -- we have to let them try to succeed.

There is, in turn, only one way for us to get out of the way, and that is to get out of Iraq, as rapidly as we can. As the elephant in the parlor, our presence cannot be of no effect. If we work against proto-state elements in Iraq, we make their job all the harder and their success less likely. If we work for them, presto!, there goes their legitimacy out the window. To put it as plainly as possible, so long as we are present, no one has a chance of re-creating a state in Iraq, which is to say we have no chance of winning.

The icing on the cake here is that our withdrawal from Iraq, under the strategy I propose, is no longer the retreat of a beaten army. It is, precisely, a strategic withdrawal, a withdrawal required by our strategy as necessary to accomplishing our strategic goal.

I don't agree much with Lind in terms of "our" strategic goals, but he's got the tactical essentials correct above.

The answer to the question "Why Don't the Demoblicans End the War?" is of course that they do not want to. The Neocons don't want and never wanted anything other than the destruction and devastation of any and all Arab centers of power, real or potential, in the Middle East. Big Oil prefers to deal with the Kurds, the Sunnis, and the Shia separately, to divide and conquer. Big War doesn't want the war to end.

All this endless hand-wringing about the Demoblicans "lack of backbone", etc is disengenuous. The Demoblicans are on the same side as the Republicrats, arrayed against the interests of the American people.

We have the opportunity through the vehicle of Mike Gravel's candidacy to co-opt the Demoblicans, to use the machinery of their party to serve the interests of the American people.

It's up to us to take it.

Smoke and Mirrors

I think we're all asking that question.

Senator Kennedy, whose seat in the Senate is so secure there's likely an engraved nameplate on it, said in the Globe:

"After more than four years of such smoke and mirrors, Congress and the American people have lost faith in the president's competence in managing the war."

Tell us something we don't know.

Kennedy should get real. Smoke and Mirrors was what the recent all-night "filibuster" was all about.

Here's a US Senator who is an excellent technocrat, but when it comes down to following through, seems to stop short. Kennedy has zero to lose and the appreciation of all Americans to gain. So what's his trouble?

When I called his office yesterday I begged (as usual and isn't this pathetic?) that the congress not take a break, and Kennedy rise on the senate floor and put a halt to the war.

"We work really hard," said the complaint-taker. "This is the only time we get to take a breather. I don't think this is going to happen."

She promised to send Kennedy my requests but "we have so many issues to deal with that he won't get to your comments until after the break."

Kennedy is a good person but also an entrenched politician. He has spoken forcefully against the current maladministration and its war. Speaking isn't everything, but it is the only thing that Kennedy and principally the current flock of Democratic candidates for president who are sitting US Senators have done. In my view they are completely unqualified to lead the country. They could, however, earn it, but progress before January 2009 is unlikely.

I don't see any other solution to this problem other than the National Initiative for Democracy that Senator Gravel proposes. If these people won't take the high road, Americans ought to have the power to push them aside and march on. Getting Mike Gravel to the White House will put NI4D on the table and begin to reverse the extensive damage of the past 8 years.

 

RE: Democrats

k1mgy, even though I would hate to say this, I feel even Sen. Kennedy must be playing the corporate tune. There must be quite a number of Kennedy clan members dedicated to the maintenance of the glory days.
Sen. Gravel has made clear to me that these powerful members can actually stand up to president bush. No one wants to let go of their power grab. for obvious reasons.
Sen. Gravel's commitment is to break up the entire corrupt system.
This is not something very many are going to be very pleased about.
I am afraid Sen. Kennedy is not much better than the rest, unfortunately.
The current Democratic party and Republican party are very much the same and only interested in keeping on the status quo. It is hard for me to think how the Democrats can turn a blind eye to the cruelties in Iraq. These sad people are only concerned with their cushy life style though it comes with their involment in the spilling of blood.
I would expect sabotage from any quarter.

You are absolutely correct - Politics As Usual

k1mgy,

You are absolutely correct and I apologize that you had to 'beg' to a representative to do what is right not only for Americans but for Iraqis. This is all we have left after we elect representatives. They do not represent us except as it is best for them. This is preciscely why we need to get Senator Gravel into the mainstream so he can articulate a real set of plans and ideas that are for 'The People'. If we had the National Initiative www.ni4d.us we would never have gone into the war of choice and also, we could have stopped it in a month as the majority of citizens would have received the true information about what this is all about and would never have stood for it.

Let's get Gravel up front, not just for himself but more importantly for ourselves.

I wish

The part about the national initiative having any role in stopping the war until about a year ago is just not true. The information was out there from day one. Anyone who did care knew that Colin was lying at the UN. Numerous scientific articles and commentators noted that. The only people who didn't know by that March that the war was based on a lie were people who were going to believe Bush if he told them the moon was made out of green cheese. Unfortunately, that was the MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. I was, at the time, getting the crap beaten out of me by cops for peacefully protesting the upcoming war. What were you doing? Fighting for a referendum initiative that Bush would have won and would therefore have legitimized the war? Popular opinion is almost as dangerous as Republican opinion. Republican and popular (as they would have voted in the initiative) were the same for many years. Tyranny of the right wing crusading religious wacko majority is still a threat, and even more so under this plan.

 

i don't know the best answer, but I do know that this plan would not have changed a thing until very recently, when the war became unpopular, which was fairly recently, and too late.

War of the words

One of the key words here is 'management.' The Democrat establishment wants to manage the war, which isn't the same as ending it. In fact, ‘managing the war’ means absolutely nothing. You either fight a war or you end it, but there's no way in Hell that you can manage a war. Still politicians follow the polls and bow to their wishes. The polls consistently tell them that the American people is ambivalent. It wants to end what it perceives as a war but it doesn's ant to lose the war. In other words, it wants to retreat and win. Americans want their sons and daughters to die but not in vain (as if dying young could be anything but 'in vain'). Conflicts like cancer feed on denial.

The other key word is of course 'war.' The truth is that this conflict was never a war to start with. By definition, a war requires that you confront a clearly defined enemy over a given territory. Since the military is in Iraq, then the enemy has to be the Iraqis, and by extension Muslims and Arabs. It is the Crusades all over again, only this time they are denying that the country they are occupying is their ennemy. Moreover, referring to this conflict as a war implies that it can somehow be 'won.' This argument is oblivious to the fact that contrary to the popular myth, wars are never truly won. The conflict started as an occupation and will remain so until the army retreats. There is no possible victorious outcome to an occupation, simply because when the occupation ends, nothing is left to take home. Try to say ‘winning an occupation’ out loud and see if the sound of it makes it anymore meaningful. You either continue an occupation or you end it. Still the orators equate war with occupation. Clearly, the word 'war' has become a part of the warmongers' arsenal of propaganda.

It should be obvious by now that the two terms mentioned above do not belong together. You might as well try to direct a horse, hammer a whistle or blow a book. 'Managing the war' makes no sense and insures that the meaning of both term is lost in the juxtaposition. Using such statement as 'managing the war' may be devoid of any meaning, but it serves the political elite rather well as it allows anything (up to and including nothing) to happen without violating their statement.

Wait, it gets worse. Did you notice that the top Democratic candidates, as well as most senators and house representatives, systematically end their tirades ‘against the war' by blaming the so-called 'Iraqi government?' They speak as if the Iraqis could be held responsible for their own dismise as well as ours.  Beside the obvious fact that the current Iraqi administration is a puppet government -- installed by and instructed to serve the US administration -- someone has to remind the public that it is criminal to blame the crime on the victim. Most notably, blaming the victim is the kind of logic used to hold a woman responsible for her own rape. Not surprisingly, the first person to use that logic is usually the rapist himself. Blaming the crime on the victim is self-incriminating; such a blame is even more repulsive coming from the mouth of Hillary Clinton, who cannot ignore these facts since she claims to support women's equal rights.

As Mr. Gravel said repeatedly, electing any of the top Democratic contenders will not change the way things are going in any significant manner. A lesser evil is still an evil and you’ll still be sitting in Hell. I support Gravel.