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Stalled Progressive: Bush Crows Numbers PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Tuesday, 26 September 2006 17:00
Stalled Progressive: Bush Crows Numbers

- Jack Random - Despite the explosion of violence in Iraq, the ongoing disaster in Afghanistan, the revelations of sanctioned torture and illegal rendition, the spectacle of Republican divisions in the congressional ranks, a Senatorial affirmation of the White House deceptions, and an intelligence community reminder of the obvious, the antiwar movement has little to cheer about these days.



Jack Random


Not long ago, with the midterm elections approaching, we took some satisfaction in observing the steady decline of support for the war in Iraq. After five years of an in[s]ane foreign policy and the most imbalanced economic policies since Calvin Coolidge, it appeared that the party of war was headed for a train wreck ? a self-inflicted wound softened only by years of gerrymandering.

Less than fifty days before the midterms, the president?s poll numbers ticked upward on the strength of the president?s mindless defense of his calamitous policies and pro-war Republicans suddenly had new life.

We are left wondering how and why.

The first thing we must come to terms with is that poll numbers neither say what they say nor what we want them to say. When popular support for the war drops, it is invariably because the war is correctly perceived as a failure. Americans hate failure and will sacrifice thousands of their children?s lives to avoid that decree. It is not because the people have finally awakened to the immorality of this war and the cold reality that their children have died and will continue to die in vain.

In plain fact, we have not driven the message home.

Our message is two-fold and must be sounded repeatedly until its core truth becomes an incontrovertible part of the American psyche.

First, we are losing the war, we will continue losing the war, and we have already lost the war. There is absolutely no chance that the dire circumstances of Iraq will turn about by the hand of god or the dogged determination of our soldiers. Like Vietnam, we have lost the hearts and minds of the people. Even those who pose as our allies, accepting our assistance and support, are conspiring against us behind closed doors.

The Iraqis have seen enough of American justice, democracy and charity. They want us out of their country as quickly as we can go. We have brought a reign of terror upon their unwilling populace and they wonder in utter contempt at the audacity of proclaiming their nation the front in America?s war on terror. Not only were there no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before our invasion but there were no terrorists in Iraq before we brought them in.

They thanked us once when they thought there was a chance that our intentions were something less than nefarious. They will not thank us again.

Second, we not deserve to win. This is not a football game. It is not a matter of team pride, right or wrong. Lives have been lost, lives are being lost, and lives will continue to be lost until we have the courage to accept that we were wrong.

We started this war with demonstrable false pretexts. We were not fooled by poor intelligence. We ignored intelligence. We did not follow the mandates of the United Nations. We defied the United Nations. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no connection to 911, Al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization. The lies we used in a power-hungry grab of Arabian oil are now being used to start a new war for more oil.

We are in Vietnam circa 1970. The war is lost beyond all doubt and we face a solemn choice: We can expand the war and punish the civilian population in the hope of picking up a few bargaining chips or we can negotiate a settlement with all involved parties now. Dick Nixon made the wrong choice, a choice that needlessly cost thousands of lives.

Will we repeat Nixon?s egomaniacal error or will we severe the losses, saving the lives of our soldiers and innocent Iraqis?

When we withdraw, the foreign fighters of Al Qaeda and others will do the same. If they do not, the Iraqis will wipe them from existence. As the events in the Anbar province will attest, they are no more welcome in Iraq than we are and they are no match for the native warriors.

We are not in the least interested in the spread of democracy. We have betrayed that lie too many times to be taken seriously (Haiti, Venezuela, Mexico, Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afghanistan, on and on).

Now we are confronted with a last-minute blitz and we are ill prepared to deal with it:

1. A conflagration of the terrorist enemy: Hamas, Hezbollah, militant Islamists, Islamo-fascists, the Taliban, Castro, Chavez, and anyone else who stands in our way. The truth is Al Qaeda is our enemy, the enemy of 911, the enemy that attacked this nation and the only enemy that must be brought to justice.

2. A wall on our southern border to keep the Mexicans from stealing our jobs: It may be used selectively but it will be used effectively where it counts. We have failed to make the case for fair trade as a counterpoint to ?free? trade. We have failed to persuade Americans that the citizens of other nations would not be invading our borders if they had a decent chance in their own nations. Is it so hard to understand: the labor movement created the American middle class and the labor movement must create the international middle class? As long as fair wages and decent standards of labor are left out of the trade equation, the problem will continue both within and without this country. A wall will not prevent the decline of the working class.

3. Tough guys torture and losers do not. We have failed to make the case that torture not only fails to protect us, it furthers our decline and strengthens our enemy. This is the greatest betrayal of American values in two hundred and thirty years yet the White House plays it as a winning hand. In the eyes of the world, it is the final and ultimate sacrifice of our nation?s moral standing. It is a violation of human dignity so profound, it isolates us from every nation in the civilized world. That we have chosen this path not for security (torture does not produce valid and reliable intelligence) but for purely political reasons makes it difficult to regard this president with anything less than contempt. That John McCain and his Republican colleagues offered nothing more than a symbolic resistance before conceding the battle says something about their true natures as well.

4. The steady fall of gas prices. Will we really fall for this again? The oil barons have made the fortunes of kings and emperors with one of their boys as chief executive. Now, as we approach an election that threatens their hold on power, the price of gas magically declines. It is a deception rivaling the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq ? a fitting comparison as it is the same barons that would reap the profits of our hegemony. When the election is over, mark it, post and save: The unconscionable profiteering will resume. Two more years.

We are losing this fight because we stopped speaking out when we thought our fellow citizens ?got it.?

We are losing because we no longer wished to be rude in the face of our right-leaning friends and our ?patriotic? acquaintances.

We are losing because we have the Rodney King disease: Can?t we all just get along?

We are losing because we let the mainstream usurp the cause and redefine the message.

Listen to the rightwing talk jocks. They are not bound by the truth and they are not afraid of being wrong, rude, crude and deceptive. They know they do not have to be right; they only have to be louder longer. They do not have to be compelling, logical or compassionate; they only have to be tougher and stronger.

We are losing because we rely on the media to do their jobs. We have witnessed the spectacle of Cutie Couric and Condi Rice. When your idea of a tough question is paraphrasing your daughter with ?Who made them the boss of us?? then there is no danger of journalism saving the day.

We are losing this fight because the independent movement has failed to materialize. We have failed to produce viable, uncompromised antiwar alternatives, wasting the golden opportunity of a lifetime. We have channeled our contributions into the muddled mainstream without insisting that they represent our views and principles.

It seems our leaders have ignored the political-electoral process once again ? or was it always just a fantasy?

We are losing because we can hardly stomach the arguments of the typical ?antiwar? Democrat.

We are losing because we are not prepared for the pro-war blitzkrieg and the Democrats are even less so.

My advice: Attack. Go for the heart, hard and strong, relentless and without fear of reprisal.

Take a page from Bill Clinton. For all his foibles (I am no fan of the Clinton presidency), he was right on the money in downsizing the little man from Fox Newz. Clinton knows the give and take. He plays hard with the chips centered. It is a lesson we could all learn from the silver-tongued southern man who has never lost his feel for how to play the game.

We may never have this chance again.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 September 2006 17:00

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