Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Democratic Party: the party of war

* Giraldi:
"If the decision is made to stage an attack on Iran, responsibility will ultimately rest with the Great Decider in the White House. But the enablers for that decision will be in the Democratic Party, which ironically swept to victory in both houses of Congress in November 2006 due to popular disapproval of the conflict in Iraq. That war with Iran would have catastrophic consequences for the United States should be evident to everyone, particularly after the errors in judgment and execution that have produced today's Iraq and Afghanistan nightmares. That the buildup of forces in the Persian Gulf in and of itself could easily trigger a conflict, either by accident or by design, has also become clear, particularly in light of the seizure of 15 British marines and sailors on March 23. A slightly more trigger-happy response, which would have been likely if American rather than British troops had been involved, could easily have resulted in a shooting war.

Historically, the Democratic Party has been the party of war in the United States, having actively maneuvered to involve the U.S. in the First World War, Second World War, Korea, and Vietnam in spite of considerable popular support for isolationism or nonintervention, particularly among Republicans. That continues to be the case in spite of the White House's unfortunate adoption of the neoconservative formula for world domination, which is derived from the neocons' Trotskyite and Straussian roots rather than from any genuine, conservative Republican tradition. While the ever mutable Mitt Romney and other Republican presidential candidates are striking the obligatory hard-line poses in front of Israeli audiences and groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), most Republican congressmen do not see Iran as a front-burner issue and would be extremely reluctant to consider a military option. That is not necessarily true of the Democrats.

Our Iran policy is heavily influenced by the Israel lobby, and the Democrats have long been closely linked to Israel for a number of reasons. Even in the last election, when the Republicans made major efforts to woo Jewish voters, three-quarters voted Democratic. According to a Jan. 26 article in The Forward, "money from Jewish donors constitutes about half the donations given to national Democratic candidates." And as Matthew Yglesias has pointed out, "most major American Jewish organizations cater to the views of extremely wealthy major donors whose political views [on Israel] are well to the right of the bulk of American Jews, one of the most liberal ethnic groups in the country." Crossing these organizations can be detrimental to one's political career. The experiences of President George H. W. Bush, Senators William Fulbright and Chuck Percy, and Representatives Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, and Cynthia McKinney demonstrate that it is dangerous to trifle with the Israeli lobby.

AIPAC is undeniably the most powerful single-issue lobbying group in Washington. At its just concluded convention, 6,000 attendees watched a parade of senior government officials and leading politicians pledge their uncritical support for Israel. Speakers included Vice President Dick Cheney, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader John Boehner, as well as an array of presidential candidates. Much has been made of the pressure AIPAC successfully exerted to drop a clause in the recent defense appropriation bill for Iraq and Afghanistan prohibiting an attack on Iran without congressional approval. One Democratic congressman, Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, even promised prior to any debate on the matter that the offensive language would be removed. The elimination of that clause erased the one possible impediment to White House plans to bomb the Islamic Republic. Pelosi, who is clearly aware of the overwhelming antiwar sentiment of the Democratic Party base and who wished to include the prohibition on expanded military action, was booed by the AIPAC audience when she criticized the conduct of the war in Iraq. Getting the message very clearly, she bowed to AIPAC's force majeure and quickly supported the deletion of any reference to Iran in the pending legislation.
Both Jewish members of the Democratic Party in Congress and the mostly non-Jewish Democratic Party leadership line up with the hard-line pro-Israel groups more than does the average American Jewish voter.
Unless they are all lying, which is certainly a possibility, it is evident that the nominally antiwar Democratic leadership is willing to go to war with Iran to disarm it. Until the Democrats come to grips with the malignancy and impracticality of their own view of the Middle East and jettison their blind endorsement of Israel and its extremist policies, there can be no peace anywhere. Indeed, given the posturing of the Democratic Party and its firm commitment to Israel, an endless cycle of war scarcely distinguishable from neoconservative fantasies is inevitable. After Iran, Syria will be next, then Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt."


Anonymous said...

As an American , I would say , Luke has hit the nail on the head (so to speak ). I'm so ashamed of my government .

lukery said...

thanks Anon - actually, I'm just quoting Phil Giraldi here.