Monday, February 11, 2008

"The Chicken Doves Elected to end the war, Democrats have surrendered to Bush on Iraq and betrayed the peace movement for their own political ends"

Article by Matt Taibbi, title link. Very good. Focusses on Democrats as a whole instead of just Presidential candidates, although you probably know my take on that one.

"Rather than use the vast power they had to end the war, Democrats devoted their energy to making sure that "anti-war activism" became synonymous with "electing Democrats." Capitalizing on America's desire to end the war, they hijacked the anti-war movement itself, filling the ranks of peace groups with loyal party hacks. Anti-war organizations essentially became a political tool for the Democrats — one operated from inside the Beltway and devoted primarily to targeting Republicans.

This supposedly grass-roots "anti-war coalition" met regularly on K Street, the very capital of top-down Beltway politics. At the forefront of the groups are Thomas Matzzie and Brad Woodhouse of Americans Against the Escalation in Iraq, the leader of the anti-war lobby. Along with other K Street crusaders, the two have received iconic treatment from The Washington Post and The New York Times, both of which depicted the anti-war warriors as young idealist-progressives in shirtsleeves, riding a mirthful spirit into political combat — changing the world is fun!"

...

"With guys like this in charge of the anti-war movement, much of what has passed for peace activism in the past year was little more than a thinly veiled scheme to use popular discontent over the war to unseat vulnerable Republicans up for re-election in 2008. David Sirota, a former congressional staffer whose new book, The Uprising, excoriates the Democrats for their failure to end the war, expresses disgust at the strategy of targeting only Republicans. "The whole idea is based on this insane fiction that there is no such thing as a pro-war Democrat," he says. "Their strategy allows Democrats to take credit for being against the war without doing anything to stop it. It's crazy."


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"Why it "just wasn't going to happen" is the controversy. In and around the halls of Congress, the notion that the Democrats made a sincere effort to end the war meets with, at best, derisive laughter. Though few congressional aides would think of saying so on the record, in private many dismiss their party's lame anti-war effort as an absurd dog-and-pony show, a calculated attempt to score political points without ever being serious about bringing the troops home.

"Yeah, the amount of expletives that flew in our office alone was unbelievable," says an aide to one staunchly anti-war House member. "It was all about the public show. Reid and Pelosi would say they were taking this tough stand against Bush, but if you actually looked at what they were sending to a vote, it was like Swiss cheese. Full of holes."

In the House, some seventy Democrats joined the Out of Iraq caucus and repeatedly butted heads with Reid and Pelosi, arguing passionately for tougher measures to end the war. The fight left some caucus members bitter about the party's failure. Rep. Barbara Lee of California was one of the first to submit an amendment to cut off funding unless it was tied to an immediate withdrawal. "I couldn't even get it through the Rules Committee in the spring," Lee says.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a fellow caucus member, says Democrats should have refused from the beginning to approve any funding that wasn't tied to a withdrawal. "If we'd been bold the minute we got control of the House — and that's why we got the majority, because the people of this country wanted us out of Iraq — if we'd been bold, even if we lost the votes, we would have gained our voice."

An honest attempt to end the war, say Democrats like Woolsey and Lee, would have involved forcing Bush to execute his veto and allowing the Republicans to filibuster all they wanted. Force a showdown, in other words, and use any means necessary to get the bloodshed ended."

The expletives fly around here, too.

I have a simple question, two actually.

1)What happens if Obama isn't elected? What will people do then when the guy saying (very conditionally if you read the fine print) that he will reduce troops in Iraq doesn't get the White House? All this organizing to support Obama instead of building a general anti-war movement will have come to nothing.

2)What if Obama is elected but he either goes back on his platform or is 'forced', either genuinely or not, to give up his goal as being something that can really be put into place? Will people protest to fore the administration to get out of Iraq or will people light candles and keep the faith that maybe, just maybe, their hope, their hero for change, will eventually get some balls.

Lighting candles and having vigils against a war is symbolic but not totally ineffective, even though it represents probably the smallest peg on the continuum from really small scale protesting to serious marches, protests, and works for social change. Lighting candles, either symbolicly or in reality, to ensure that the now President actually does what he said he was going to do instead of going out in the streets is pathetic. I guess if Obama doesn't deliver we'll have to wait for 2012 to get out of Iraq.

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