"Bush continues to tell his favorite lies that he is bringing "freedom and democracy to Iraq" and that Muslims hate us because of our "freedom and democracy." He continues to make these inane assertions even as he ignores the will of the American people and destroys habeas corpus, the foundation of civil liberty.
Bush ignores the will of the people as expressed in last November’s congressional elections and as expressed in opinion polls. The New York Times/CBS News poll released May 24 shows another sharp drop in public support for Bush and his war. America is "seriously off on the wrong track" was the response of 72 percent of the public.
President Bush, the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party have proved to the entire world that the American people have no voice. The American people have no more ability to affect their government’s policy than inmates in a gulag would have.
What do people in other countries think when they hear Bush prattle on about "freedom and democracy" while he ignores opinion polls and election results and detains people without warrants, tortures them, and puts them before military tribunals in which they are denied even knowing the evidence against them? Bush has contrived a situation for defendants in which no defense is possible. In Bush’s America, people can be executed on the basis of hearsay and secret evidence. If this is "freedom and democracy," what is tyranny?
Recent polls show that the majority of the American people are no longer fooled, no matter what politicians say and media report. The election last November demonstrated the electorate’s lack of support for continuing the war.
The problem is in implementing the will of the people. Democrats in Congress are not only recipients of AIPAC, oil industry, and military-security complex payoffs just as the Republicans are, Democrats are also behaving very cynically. They believe that it is Bush’s policy that gave them control of Congress in November and that by continuing to let Bush prevail, they will clean up on a larger scale in 2008. They believe that their antiwar base has nowhere else to go.
Their cynical logic is probably correct as far as it goes. Bush is being blamed for the war and its failure. The longer this goes on, the worse the situation for the Republicans. Prior to Bush’s invasion of Iraq, I wrote in a column that the unintended consequences of an invasion would be the destruction of Bush, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement. It has taken longer than I thought, largely because of Americans’ blind desire for revenge for 9/11, but the prediction is on track.
The problem with the Democrats’ cynical logic is that allowing Bush to prolong the war in Iraq increases the chances that Cheney, Israel, and the neoconservatives can contrive a war with Iran. Most experts, and many in our own military, think that a war with Iran would go very badly for us, endangering our troops in Iraq by exposing them to more intense attacks from the more numerous Shi'ites, who would be armed with Iranian weapons that can neutralize our tanks and helicopters, leaving our fragmented and divided troops isolated and cut off from supplies and retreat routes.
The pending disaster would play into Cheney’s hands. With America faced with the loss of an army, Cheney and the neoconservatives would likely succeed in convincing Bush to nuke Iran. Cheney and Rumsfeld have already changed US war doctrine to permit preemptive nuclear attack against non-nuclear powers. Surprised by the inability of the US military to prevail in Iraq and by Israel’s military failure against Hezbollah, the neocons concluded that the only way to establish US/Israeli hegemony over the entire Middle East is to nuke Iran. The neocons believe that using nuclear weapons against Iran will demonstrate to the Muslim world that they have no alternative but to submit to US hegemony.
The Democrats are far from being alone in lacking the vision to see the abyss into which their cynicism is leading us. With the corporate media serving as propaganda ministry for the administration, Cheney will be able to whip up enough fear and anger to convince the American people that the use of nuclear weapons was imperative.
Bush’s popularity will return as he prevails over the enemy and tells Americans how he saved them from Iran’s nuclear weapons. The Democrats’ cynicism will have destroyed them and opened new avenues to destruction and violence."
"As a fan of both Harman and McNerney (as someone who went to a fundraiser where Harman spoke for McNerney) I'd like to offer a plea for lowered voices on this (war funding vote). From the viewpoint of someone who wants a speedy but carefully-executed withdrawal from Iraq, there was no good vote to cast, and either vote was defensible. That's frequently the case in the dance of legislation. Members are forced to map quite complicated opinions onto a simple binary choice, and the result is lost information.
Whether to set a deadline in legislation was a tactical rather than a moral question. It might be better to leave things vague, if we had an Administration in power prepared to commit to an eventual end to the carnage, but we don't. By the same token, whether to vote for or against a bill that was certain to pass was also a tactical and not a moral question.
It was reasonable for McNerney to vote for the bill to express a desire that our withdrawal from Iraq be careful instead of pell-mell (and to assure centrists about his reasonableness and moderation). It was reasonable for Harman to vote against the bill to express a desire that our withdrawal from Iraq be in this world and not the World To Come (and to assure activists that she hasn't sold out to George Bush or fallen under the spell of David Broder and Joe Klein, and to tell her constituents, who overwhelmingly want to damned thing to be OVER that their elected representative is listening).
Neither vote had any direct result in the theater of operations, so neither won was a "failure to support the troops." I can respect legislators who made the choice either way. And it's just silly to call either vote "caving it to pressure" (from the center or the left, as the case may be). Every Democrat had to choose between catching crap from the Broder/Klein axis and catching crap from the netroots (and most of the voters). If Harman had voted for the bill, the Kossacks would have been as sure that she'd caved in to "pressure from the center" as the respectable pundits are that she caved in to "pressure from the left."
There will be other votes. Eventually, enough Republicans are likely to panic in the face of the impending destruction of our military forces and the impending electoral disaster for them in 2008 to force a change. Until then, it's all Kabuki. So exhale, and save your breath for yelling at the people who deserve yelling at. For some reason, Paul Krugman's accurate and potent formulation of the problem — George Bush is holding our troops hostage as a means of securing funding from the Congress for his policy of open-ended war — didn't catch on. But that's what people on both sides of this vote should be telling the voters from now through a year from November."