'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sell Out 

In the end, it became an urgent necessity for the Democrats to destroy the credibility of any opposition to the war within Congress as they approved funding for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan:

Liberal opposition to a $124 billion war spending bill broke last night, when leaders of the antiwar Out of Iraq Caucus pledged to Democratic leaders that they will not block the measure, which sets timelines for bringing U.S. troops home.

But, as Representative Lynn Woolsey observed during a Democracy Now! debate yesterday, the timelines are fraudulent:

REP. LYNN WOOLSEY: Well, of course, we want a date certain, and we want our troops home from Iraq. And that is my position. My position is that on November the 11th, the Democrats were voted into office as the majority to do bold actions to bring our troops home. And I just don't believe that this supplemental does enough. It is $100 billion more to pay for the President's surge for his escalation of this war. There are virtually no enforcement measures in this legislation that will make the President do anything that we’re telling him to do. . .

Here in Sacramento, California, the state capitol, we commonly know that there are two essential attributes of the legislature process, control over money and the need to provide a mechanism for enforcing directives. Everything else is just puffery, public relations for the members. In this instance, as explained by Woolsey, House Democrats relinquished their ability to influence the conduct of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by agreeing to fund them for nearly the rest of Bush's term.

Predictably, MoveON.org celebrates such acquiescence as a victory:

"This is huge," said Tom Matzzie, Washington director of the influential liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org. "We're going to have a bill that will have a deadline that the president is going to have to sign or veto."

It is an old cliche, but one really does wonder how the leaders of MoveON.org sleep at night. Note Matzzie's Freudian slip: passage of the bill is important because the president is going to have to sign or veto it. Just another inside the Beltway game of gotcha, another insider point to be scored in a game that is irrevelant to the rest of us, and, especially, the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan, who will now be subject to the predations of the occupation indefinitely, or, at least, until the Democrats fully fund these wars through the regular budget process.

By announcing their support for this measure, liberals are signalling to the public that there is no antiwar representation in Congress, that there is no meaningful opportunity to change these disasterous policies within the political system. It is amazing that there is still no recognition that the purpose of the supplemental funding bill goes beyond funding the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to the demoralization of the antiwar movement across the country.

MoveON.org played an essential role in running the liberals to ground by manufacturing an illusory grassroots consent, one of the alltime great astroturf success stories. It is an achievement that is probably more highly valued by the neoconservatives than the supplemental funding itself, after all, with a demoralized opposition, future funding should be easily obtained as required. We need only await the announcement of Bush's prime time speech for the purpose of formally telling us that the US air force is already bombing purported Iranian nuclear facilities to bring about the abandonment of the farcical, stage managed charade of political conflict that we observed this week.

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