Liberal Leaders Betray Antiwar Cause To Serve Dems and Obama — Again
by John Walsh
February 25th, 2009
In the Wall Street Journal of January 24, the loathsome McCarthyite neocon David Horowitz gazed approvingly on the inauguration of Barack Obama. To Horowitz it meant the removal of an obstacle to war. Thus he wrote:
Consider: When President Obama commits this nation to war against the Islamic terrorists, as he already has in Afghanistan, he will take millions of previously alienated and disaffected Americans with him, and they will support our troops in a way that most of his party has refused to support them until now. When another liberal, Bill Clinton went to war from the air, there was no anti-war movement in the streets or in his party’s ranks to oppose him. That is an encouraging fact for us . . .
Horowitz is now locked in fast embrace with Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor in chief of The Nation and Leslie Cagan and her cohorts at United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ). Vanden Heuvel’s most recent piece in The Nation runs under a title in the form of a query, “Obama’s War?” Whose war does she think it is anyway? Even the mainstream media calls it Obama’s war — sans question mark. Her piece ran shortly after Obama ordered 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan and almost a month after both Afghan and Pakistani civilians were first bombed at Obama’s orders. She concludes her piece, after citing the deployment of additional troops, “Up to this point the Afghan war belonged to George W. Bush, but Obama’s escalation threatens to make it his own. There’s still time to change direction. President Obama don’t make this your war”! (Emphasis mine. If escalation of the AfPak war (the war on Afghanistan and Pakistan) only “threatens” to make the war Obama’s, what will it take to give him ownership?)
Having supported Obama during the election when he was very clear about his coming Crusade in Afghanistan and having made no demands in exchange for their support, the liberals are now reduced, their leverage gone, to begging for a change in course. Pity, pathos, disgust or a sense of betrayal — it is hard to know what to feel when one encounters this stuff.
Similarly Cagan’s United for Peace and Justice, dominated by the “Progressive” Democrats of America (“P”DA) and the “Communist” Party of the U.S.A (“C”PUSA) — more or less the same thing, not because “P”DA is radical but because the “C”PUSA is not — has been all too silent on Obama’s AfPak War. As a result there have been discordant rumblings among the rank and file about UFPJ’s failure to call a national demonstration against the wars flaring from Iraq to Pakistan and refusal to join the only one called, that by ANSWER (Act Now To Stop War and End Racism) for March 21.
The first bombings of the AfPak war under Obama came on January 23, almost a month ago. Bombing a country is an act of war, and last time I looked Congress had not declared war on Pakistan, thus putting Obama in clear violation of the Constitution. The same crowd calling to “Indict Bush” should also be calling to “Impeach Obama.” Clearly a national action is called for in protest, but only ANSWER has done so. In fact until last Friday, Afghanistan was only mentioned in small print on the UFPJ web page. When ANSWER called for a national mobilization, UFPJ announced local actions for April 4, with no special mention of the AfPak war. This appears to be an attempt to divert people from the only national action to be called which will be a major embarrassment to Obama if the numbers are large. And a lot of people on the UFPJ national discussion groups, this writer included, have been told to shut up when protesting UFPJ’s inaction. But Obama’s imperialism will not go away despite the tut-tutting of the PC crowd — any more than his kowtowing to the banksters.
Let us be clear. I make no special brief for ANSWER. Their exclusionary politics are really not all that different from UFPJ’s, which loves to red bait them. (That is an amazing thing for those who call themselves “communists” or “progressives” to do.) But at least ANSWER has not been hypnotized into supporting Empire because the Dems are now in the imperial drivers’ seat. In this act of courage, they resemble the Libertarians and Greens and Naderites and many writers at The American Conservative who are consistent and impassioned in their aversion to war. That tells me we need a new and broad based antiwar movement which is open to one and all with an aversion to empire, no matter their feelings about tax breaks, abortion, national health insurance or anything else. Clearly UFPJ, the liberal democrats and others of that ilk are incapable of building such a movement — nor do they want to. We can only hope it will be born. Meanwhile I will be in DC for the ANSWER demonstration on March 21. For the moment it is the only game in a town now ruled by Emperor Obama and the Dems.
Following is news from ANSWER, and World Can’t Wait re. upcoming March on the Pentagon:
March 21 will culminate in a dramatic direct action where hundreds of coffins–representing the multinational victims of militarism, Empire and corporate
greed–will be carried and delivered to the headquarters of the Corporate War Profiteers and Merchants of Death.
From the Pentagon, we will march to the nearby giant corporate offices of Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, General Dynamics and KBR (the former subsidiary of Halliburton).
The march will start close to the State Department in Washington, D.C. (assemble at 12 noon at 23rd St. and Constitution Ave. NW).
These are the Corporate War Profiteers and Merchants of Death. They are the vultures who profit off the death and suffering of the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, and off of the thousands of U.S. soldiers and marines who have died or been wounded in these wars of aggression. They are anti-worker and anti-union.
The march will be led by a large contingent of veterans and family members of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and from earlier conflicts.
Militarism and Corporate Capitalism
We will march on their slick-and-shiny corporate offices that are located less than a mile from the Pentagon. Their location in the very shadow of the Pentagon speaks volumes about the intimate connection between militarism and corporate capitalism.
When the Pentagon brass retire, they rotate out of their Pentagon offices and directly into the Corporate boardrooms and office suites of the Death Merchants. It is a very cozy and very profitable relationship for the elites–in and out of uniform. They make the profits, others do the bleeding.
Last year was a great year for the Corporate War Profiteers and Merchants of Death. Profits soared even as the rest of the economy neared collapse. The CEOs of the four corporations that we will be visiting on March 21 received more than $319 million in compensation in 2007 alone (and remember, that’s just for four individuals). “We the People” paid the bill for the high tech weapons that were used against occupied people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. The Corporate Executives laughed all the way to the bank while grieving parents and children buried their loved ones from Baghdad to Kabul to Gaza to Detroit.
A quick examination shows that the CEOs of the Military-Industrial Complex contributed to both the Democratic and Republican Party candidates in almost equal amounts. They favor a system that ensures that politicians will come and go every four years but the military machine–that fusion of industry, banks and the Pentagon brass–will remain as is.
We Need Jobs & Schools – Not War!
The same banks that are being bailed out to the tune of trillions of dollars even while they foreclose families who can’t pay their mortgage debts are double-dipping from the national treasury by making huge profits in their investments in Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and KBR.
War is just good business for these corporate executives. Every F-16 bomber, attack helicopter, cruise missile and Drone bomber is a source of profit. If the wars stopped they would be out of business.
The people of this country are fed up with the status quo. They want decent-paying jobs, and affordable health care and housing for all. Students want to study rather than be driven out by soaring tuition rates. People want a complete–not partial–withdrawal of ALL troops from Iraq. They want the war in Afghanistan to end rather than escalate. They are increasingly opposed to sending $2.6 billion each year to Israel.
People are coming to Washington, D.C. on March 21 from college campuses, high schools, and cities and towns throughout the United States.
It is time for real change. Unless the movement for change stays in the streets, the powerful corporate and banking interests will certainly dominate the politics of this country. That is unacceptable. That is a path toward endless war and occupation abroad, and a massive transfer of wealth to the already rich at home.
All out for March 21! Jobs Not War! Schools Not War! Occupation is a Crime!
Go to http://www.pentagonmarch.org for more information.
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Stop US Occupations & Torture for Empire!
No Wars on Iran, Pakistan, Gaza!
The world can’t wait!
Come OUT to the first national protest of the wars under President Obama
THURSDAY March 19 leave work & school to PROTEST the 6th anniversary of the Iraq War.
SATURDAY March 21 at the Pentagon.
Barack Obama says he will:
* leave 80,000 troops, thousands of private contractors, and 17 permanent bases in Iraq;
* send 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan , leading to more killings of civilians;
* keep sending robot drones over Pakistan, killing more civilians;
* deploy nuclear carriers with enough firepower to annihilate any country in the Mideast;
* support the Israeli siege on Gaza;
* keep in place the “secret rendition” program which Bush used to torture detainees;
* keep the government spying on citizens and continue Bush’s “state secrets” justification;
* increase the U.S. military by 92,000 troops, sending more to die for empire;
* refuse to investigate & prosecute the war and torture crimes of the Bush regime.
The election of the first black president is effectively re-branding preemptive and illegal wars of aggression to make us feel good about them, enlisting us to “serve and sacrifice” for horrors we have no good reason to support.
The U.S. war on Afghanistan is an unjust war of aggression–the supreme war crime, waged not to bring democracy and liberation to the Afghan people, but to control Afghanistan with the goal of permanent domination of the Middle East.
But, we don’t have to go along! It’s immoral to “wait and see” or hope for the best from Obama.
If you care about humanity, get in the streets to send a message to the world that there are millions of us who don’t want these crimes carried out.
It’s time now to take action & make our demands visible everywhere.
Find actions or organize one at www.worldcantwait.org
Wearenotyoursoliders.org (Veterans speaking at high schools to resist military recruiting)
The World Can’t Wait – 866.973.4463 – firstname.lastname@example.org